Leigh McMillan and Team The Wave, Muscat celebrate their win in Cardiff

Leigh McMillan and Team The Wave, Muscat celebrate their win in Cardiff

After another day of adrenaline-fueled Extreme 40 racing in winds that topped well over 25kts in the gusts, defending champion Leigh McMillan and his team on The Wave, Muscat put in another solid performance to claim overall victory in Cardiff for the third consecutive year. The result also lifts them to the top of the leaderboard in the Extreme Sailing Series – just one point ahead of SAP Extreme Sailing Team. McMillan’s team that includes Nasser Al Mashari, Pete Greenhalgh, Double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton, and Ed Smyth sailed consistently well throughout the day to record five straight podium positions. Meanwhile team mates on Oman Air concluded the day with some equally impressive results including a second and a spectacular last race win to put them in sixth place overall.

With a lead of 15pts over SAP Extreme Sailing Team going into today’s final seven races, McMillan and his all-star crew were under a lot of pressure to keep their rivals at bay.

In the opening race they finished second to Red Bull Sailing Team, and one place ahead of closest rivals SAP. From there on they managed to strengthen their lead in nearly every race and finished the day with an 18pt clear lead over Red Bull Sailing Team who snatched second place overall in the final race.

As he stepped ashore this afternoon, a delighted McMillan commented: “We came out today and everything clicked into place. We had a good game plan and we are absolutely thrilled to win in Cardiff for the third year running.

“We had a slightly more relaxed approach going into the event, a more free-style attitude towards the starts and just letting everything happen as it should. I think this makes it less stressful on the boat and everyone performs well to that.”

Chatting about the venue, McMillan added: “It has been a relentless four days of racing. The wind has been really gusty so it has been pretty nerve-wracking at times with plenty of adrenaline pumping through the team. Cardiff is renowned for these conditions and it really keeps you on your toes the whole time, but it is an enjoyable challenge as a result.

Looking ahead, McMillan concluded: “SAP have been very consistent and very hard to beat so from here on we need to keep our focus on them and make sure no one else makes a big jump on us overall.”

Nasser Al Mashari who is in charge of the front end of the boat said he feels proud to have won Act 4 for Oman and The Wave, Muscat. “Fantastic to have won here in Cardiff for the third time. We had good team work and we are now looking forward to the next one, where we hope to repeat our performance.”

Stevie Morrison and his team on Oman Air also wowed the crowds in Cardiff with some equally impressive results. Although they were unable to achieve a podium position overall, their final race win in the demanding, high pressure, double points race was exceptional and undoubtedly the highpoint of their event. The team, which includes Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, and Ali Al Balushi achieved 10 podium positions over the weekend, including three wins.

Commenting on the highlights of racing in Cardiff Bay, Morrison said: “They say you are only as good as your last race, and that counted double, so we are doubly good. Winning the last race certainly leaves a good taste in the mouth.”

Oman Air’s positive outlook after an exceptionally taxing weekend on Cardiff Bay means they are well prepared for the next event in Hamburg at the end of July. “Generally, I think we are starting to sail the boat better and we feel a lot more comfortable in it, and of course we are enjoying it. When we have good starts we are able to pull away and get good results, so starting is something we are working on. Today we were also beginning to overtake some boats, which is encouraging too.

“We are looking forward to the next event in Hamburg because no one has been there before, so everyone will be fresh to the event so there could be a good chance for us.”

Rendezvous in Hamburg, Germany, for Act 5 from the 23-26 July.



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