The 44Cup 2022 season will come to a fitting climax next week, with the final event taking place in the splendour of Muscat, Oman, on the beautiful waters off the Al Mouj marina. There will be a full nine-boat fleet on the start line, including eight of the most competitive owner-driver teams in the world and a guest team from Oman Sail, Asyad Shipping Sailing Team, helmed by Musab Al Hadi with Hussain Al Balushi calling tactics.
Nico Poons' Charisma leads the season standings by five points ahead of Igor Lah's Team CEEREF powered by Hrastnik 1860. Chris Bake's 2021 champions Team Aqua and Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika are not far behind, and both are looking to finish the season with a regatta title win.
As the world's leading owner-driver racing circuit, typically, the 44Cup competition goes to the wire, with regattas decided in the last few metres of the final race. However, this hasn't been the case this year as Monaco-based Dutchman Nico Poons and his Charisma team have dominated, with a hat-trick of wins at the last three regattas, including the 2022 World Championship title.
Second-placed Igor Lah said of the current leaders: "Charisma are really good. Winning three events is extremely rare in this fleet, so our challenge is to stop this progression. We have one last event to beat them."
Hamish Pepper, Charisma's tactician, explains the team has found their winning form this season by focusing on their weak points: "We have worked hard on our light air performance. The guys on the boat are so damn good that I don't need to be concerned about anything. It allows me to be the best I can be at my job. We were fast downwind last month in Slovenia; Rosco, Chriso and Nico worked the boat well, and the guys on the bow were using their body weight to help, so I hope we can do the same in Oman".
Oman is likely to prove a tickly venue to close out the 2022 championship with few sailors familiar with the waters and a light, shifty sea breeze. The question is can Charisma prevail again and secure the season title that they have dominated all year?
To follow the 44Cup Oman coverage live visit www.44cup.org