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Two victories for Team BAE Systems in Tour de France a la Voile
Team BAE Systems, powered by Oman got off to a great start in Roses, Spain, the first stage of the Mediterranean leg of the Tour de France a la Voile, with two firsts and a second place during the inshore racing on Thursday and Friday.
The Omani team remains in fourth place overall going into the first offshore leg of the Mediterranean stage tomorrow to Gruissan, just 12 points behind third-placed, Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite.
"It's a great team. Omani, French and English, everyone is pulling together to do a good job. Yesterday was great; Nasser, Mohammed, and Ashim all sailed very well, they have shown incredible progress in just a few months!” said Shane Hughes, a trimmer onboard.
The atmosphere onboard Team BAE Systems is upbeat and focussed and the crew work continues to improve with faster, more consistent boat handling and good tactical decisions. The lighter 8-14 knot conditions also seem to suit the Omani boat.
Alex Pallu de la Barriere, who trims the mainsail added: "I have known from the start of the Tour that we can reach third place overall and yesterday proves it. We are fast and above all can maintain our speed, which is not easy in the choppy Mediterranean sea state. "
As the team settles into the final half of the month long Tour, their concentration and team work is stronger than ever as Hashim Al Rashdi, one of the trimmers on board, describes: "What's good on board is that everyone is still giving the race their full concentration. We speak little, we know what we have to do, and we are in the game. We are not at all stressed, just really focused. "
The next offshore leg from Roses, Spain, to Gruissan, France, starts tomorrow morning (Saturday) and the forecast is for strong 25-knot conditions and rough seas. The crew has a 0730 briefing and will be off dock at 0800 ready for yet another testing challenge.
Nasser Al Mashari, 29, mastman
Before Nasser joined Oman Sail he was a swimmer in the Omani national team. The athlete is now a major asset onboard Team BAE Systems. He started out as an instructor at one of the sailing schools created by Oman Sail, and wasted no time in asking to be the 5th man on the Extreme 40 Renaissance. This was a baptism of fire for the young sailor who grabbed at the opportunity to sail with some of the best sailors in the industry, and flourished. He underwent intensive training in the UK and went on to race the Extreme Sailing Series in Asia. In 2010, he was selected for the Extreme Sailing Series team again and also for the Tour de France a la Voile crew onboard Team BAE Systems. In 2011, he raced ESS once more before moving to the TDFV team for 2012.
"I'm really glad I could join Team BAE Systems. The opportunity to race with some of the sport’s top sailors means we learn more every day that we go out. And our results are reflecting our progress with two wins and a second place in Roses. I love being on board, it is a great atmosphere, very calm and competent, I really hope to be back again next year!”
Provisional overall standings:
1: TPM Coych (708 pts)
2: Courrier Dunkerque (705 pts)
3: Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite (674 pts)
4: Team BAE Systems (662 pts)
5: Ville de Genève (645 pts)
6: Nantes-Saint-Nazaire (621 pts)
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