Team New Zealand up to third in Oman event

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 09:41 21/03/2014

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Team New Zealand's improving form lifted them to third on the points table at the halfway stage of the Extreme Sailing event in Oman.

Dean Barker's crew won two of the six stadium races held on the tight course in Muscat overnight, gaining one place on the congested points table.

Alinghi, who won the opening event of the series in Singapore last month, rose to take the lead in Oman, but finished the second day only six points clear of the Kiwis.

Team New Zealand's cause wasn't helped by 8th and 9th placings in the 11-boat fleet late in the day, leaving Barker a little frustrated.

Once again the light winds played havoc.

"I think you always come off the water knowing a lot of the areas you can improve, but I generally think it's working out how you can improve your averages across the day," Barker said.

"You come off the water feeling pretty battered and bruised to be honest. It's brutal sailing here - you try your best to be consistent but all you need is to have a tough race, or a tough break somewhere and it catches up.

"Overall we're pretty pleased with how we've been doing 90 per cent of the time, it's just getting a little bit more consistent."

Starts were again crucial and to their credit, team New Zealand and Alinghi were the only boats not to incur penalties at the start line.

Muscat standings after day 2, 13 races: 

1 Alinghi (SUI) 88 points,  2 The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 85, 3 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 82, 4 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 77, 5 Groupama sailing team (FRA) 66, 6 JP Morgan BAR (GBR) 64, 7 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 60, 8 Oman Air (OMA) 59, 9 Realteam (SUI) 58, 10 Gazprom Team Russia (RUS)  57, 11 GAC Pindar (AUS) 33.

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- Fairfax Media

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