Oman Sail team claims fifth spot
Oman Sail Diam 24 Team failed to better its previous edition's fifth place finish as the gruelling Tour de France à la Voile (TDV) concluded in Nice, France, on Saturday.
Fondation FDJ - Des Mains et Des Pieds won the top honours and was followed by Tresors de Tahiti with Beijaflore Sailing completing the podium. Team SFS finished fourth.
After 23-days of intense sailing, the Oman Sail team battled hard on the final day after it qualified for the Super Final race that featured the eight best teams.
But the team, skippered jointly by Great Britain's doubleOlympic sailor Stevie Morrison and Frenchman Thierry Douillard, could only end up fifth in the final race to finish overall fifth. “We missed the podium so we are a bit frustrated for sure,” said skipper Douillard.
“But to be honest we did not lose the podium in the final race, we lost it when we did not make a couple of the finals earlier in the Tour, but that is all part of the game. It is more important to emphasise that the guys worked really hard and well together, and we were always in contention. We had a great time together and a good Tour overall.”
Besides Morrison and Douillard, the squad featured experienced Omani sailors Ali al Balushi and Abdulrahman al Mashari, and French race ace Mathieu Richard, the race crew rotating over the nine Acts.
“The racing was very close throughout the whole Tour. We can be proud of fifth place in such a competitive fleet,” said Balushi.
After the fifth-place in the final race, Morrison said, “It was a great race fundamentally. But if you leave it to the last there’s an element of chance, that’s why a sailing event isn’t just one race. We’re frustrated but we sailed a good race today. We had a bad furl which we didn’t see in time. That turned into a loss of 100m so that was a team mistake.”
The Tour de France à la Voile started in Dunkirk on July 7, and has seen a high-intensity mix of coastal and inshore stadium racing at nine venues around the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of France and Spain.
Oman Sail had climbed as high as third on the leaderboard in the course of the classic event.
Oman Sail Diam 24 Team in action in Nice, France, on Saturday
The Oman Sail Diam 24 Team members celebrate their fifth-place finish in Nice, France, on Saturday