RNZYS Sailors turning it on at GC32 event in Oman
Phil Robertson (RNZYS), the new skipper of Oman Air, the long-established team run by the GC32 Championship’s hosts, Oman Sail, has his side in a good position on top of the leaderboard after two days. They are seven points ahead of the consistent Alinghi outfit, who hold a one-point advantage over SAP Extreme Sailing Team helmed by RNZYS YTP graduate Adam Minoprio (RNZYS).
Minoprio, the former match racing world championship and round the world sailor was furious with himself when his team were black flagged for being over the start line yesterday but they recovered to win the third and fourth races to remain in the hunt.
Eleven teams are taking part in the inaugural championship for the one-design foiling catamarans, being run by the GC32 International Class Association in association with OC Sport, which represents the largest-ever gathering of the foiling cats built in nearby Dubai.
One of the new teams is RNZYS Performance Program Team – Tawera Racing, who were ninth after two days and who will compete as a full-season entry. The team were formed to give RNZYS’s elite youth sailors a launch pad into the cutting-edge world of foiling multihull racing.
Co-skipper and helm Chris Steele (RNZYS PP) comes with valuable experience in the series, having competed last season on board CHINA One and as skipper and helm of Act 8 wildcard team RNZYS Performance Programme on Sydney Harbour.
Joining Steele as co-skipper and mainsail trimmer is New Zealander Graeme Sutherland (RNZYS), tactician on board Steele’s match racing team, 36 Below Racing, and twice international Youth Match Racing champion.
Irishman Shane Diviney returns to the series as headsail trimmer, having crewed alongside Steele on both CHINA One and RNZYS Performance Programme and having competed on board wildcard Gazprom Team Russia last season.
The youngest member of the crew is 18-year-old foil trimmer and RNZYS YTP sailor Leonard Takahashi, an accomplished New Zealand/Japanese 49er, Optimist and match racing sailor. Taking turns to work the bow will be Josh Salthouse (RNZYS PP), who crewed on board Steele’s winning 2016 RNZYS New Zealand Match Racing Championship team and who is part of the NZL Sailing Team for the Youth America’s Cup, and George Anyon (RNZYS PP), 2016 RNZYS Nespresso Youth International Match Racing champion.
Tawera Racing will also race in Act 1 of the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series, also in Oman, from March 8-11 and are now a full time team on this years Extreme Sailing Series circuit.
Standings after two days of the GC32 Championship in Muscat, Oman, yesterday:
1 Oman Air 27 points (Phil Robertson)
2 Alinghi 34
3 SAP Extreme Sailing Team 35 (Adam Minoprio)
4 Team TILT 41
5 Red Bull Sailing Team 47
6 Team ENGIE 49
7 Land Rover BAR Academy 56
8 ARGO 64
9 Tawera Racing 65 (Chris Steele)
10 SVB Team Germany 87
11 Youth Vikings Denmark 92