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news - Sultanate of Oman crowned first ever champions of Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

Okt 07 2015

Oman Sail’s GC32 Sultanate of Oman crowned first ever champions of Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

Oman Sail’s GC32 Sultanate of Oman created a slice of sporting history today when they became first ever champions of the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour after competition on the final day of Marseille One Design had to be cancelled due to risky conditions.

The last day of Marseille was also the final day of the 2015 season for the GC32 fleet and although they ventured out to the race track, winds exceeding 30 knots, gusting even higher and set to strengthen, prevented any action, leaving Sultanate of Oman in third place behind Alinghi and Spindrift but with enough points overall to be crowned series champions. Flavio Marazzi´s Swiss Armin Strom Sailing Team came fourth in the season scores. All 4 teams leading the ranking are exclusively supplied by Marinepool.

But back to the event in Marseille. A clash of fixtures in the racing calendar meant Sultanate of Oman’s regular skipper Leigh McMillan was in Istanbul notching up more points towards the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series title but stand in skipper Nathan Outteridge, the Australian Olympian and America’s Cup sailor, was thrilled to have stepped in to complete McMillan’s triumphant tour.

“It’s been great to fill in for Leigh - we were keen to do well here in Marseille for Oman and to finish the season on a high, so it has been nice to have been able to do that and to win the season title for the Sultanate,” he said. “The conditions were pretty full on today but that is what these boats are designed for. They are designed to go fast and sail on the edge and we absolutely loved it out there.”

Their achievement in taking Sultanate of Oman across the ultimate finish line was all the more remarkable for that, according to an upbeat McMillan, who was immediately on the phone with a message of congratulations.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Nathan and the boys managed to get into the boat and to master it so quickly - they really managed to jump in and perform right out of the bag,” he said. “The crew and I were sorry not to be there ourselves to finish up what has been a great season of racing but what better team to stand in for us.

“It has been fantastic to have been able to race the Extreme Sailing Series and the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour in parallel and to have been able to reap the rewards on both circuits for Oman. “The GC32 is an excellent platform and we have had some superb racing. Congrats to Nathan and the team - we are delighted with the result.”

McMillan’s crew for the season comprised Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari and Ed Smyth from his Extreme 40 team plus some specialist foiling expertise in America’s Cup sailor Alister Richardson.

Consistency proved key, victory in Austria and a third place in Kiel then a second victory in Rome kept Sultanate of Oman at the top of the overall leaderboard going into the final event, with their fiercest rivals Swiss Alinghi breathing down their necks. After a thrilling tussle in Marseille, Alinghi emerged as event winners but Oman’s third place gave them the overall championship by a single point with Spindrift taking the final podium place. Spindrift showed excellent sailing over the whole season and scored consistently amassing the most 2nd places of any team, however did not manage to win an event.

Congratulations to Leigh and his crew as well as to Alinghi and Spindrift Racing to their podium finishes!

Background photo (c) Bullit GC32 Racing Tour | Sander van der Borch

© Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour | Sander Van Der Borch

© Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour | Sander Van Der Borch

© Bullit GC32 Tour | Guilain Grenier

© Bullit GC32 Tour | Guilain Grenier

© Bullit GC32 Tour | Guilain Grenier