Oman Sail crews on The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air look to defend winning streak at Extreme Sailing Series Cardiff
Cardiff has proved a happy hunting ground over the years for Oman Sail’s teams with three back to back wins between them but the pressure is now on to defend this winning streak and steal a march at the top of the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard.
The Wave, Muscat took the Cardiff crown in 2013 a year after sister ship Oman Air ruled the Welsh waves and there was a second win there for Leigh McMillan’s crew last year which has given them extra motivation to defend their record going into the 2015 event.
“We have done a few events in Cardiff now and it has been pretty good to us over the years but we feel like we must win this one, we want to win this one,” said McMillan who last month turned his hand to racing the foiling GC32s along with his core crew Nasser Al Mashari and Pete Greenhalgh, and after just four days of training swept to victory on board Sultanate of Oman at the GC32 event in Austria.
“We were equal at the top of the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard with SAP Extreme Sailing Team before the last event in Qingdao but lost out to them so there are no guarantees. But we are looking forward to getting stuck in.”
His experience with the GC32s is bound to help in raising their game, McMillan added.
“We learned quite a lot on our GC32 Sultanate of Oman and it helped us highlight a few things we had moved away from. In Cardiff, we know what to expect - it’s a skinny patch of water and it is often breezy so the racing will be exciting and fast paced and we are hoping to come out on top.”
The Wave, Muscat bowman Nasser Al Mashari has been a winner on both Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat in Cardiff and is excited about returning to one of his favourite venues.
“We have done very well in Cardiff previously – it is a great venue and we love to sail there. It is a tight reaching course and very windy and our teamwork is getting better and better so hopefully we can achieve another win in Cardiff for The Wave, Muscat and Oman. It will be a great achievement at the halfway mark of the season,” he said.
The Wave, Muscat are sitting in second place on the overall leaderboard, just one point behind SAP Extreme Sailing Team after three events while Stevie Morrison’s Oman Air are in 5th place and keen to pull out all the stops in a venue that many of the crew consider ‘home’ waters.
“Hopefully we will get some good support in Cardiff and that will give us an advantage,” he said.
“We will certainly be quite comfortable in our home environment and I hope that will show in our performances.
“We learned some lessons in Qingdao and have had some good discussions since so if we can execute what we have set down as areas that we can improve on, then I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t get on the podium.
“Oman Air won this event in 2012 and although none of us were on board then, we would hope the boat knows its way around the course!”
Racing at the Extreme Sailing Series Act 4, Cardiff presented by Land Rover, starts on Thursday June 18 and continues through to June 21 2015. It is one of the narrowest city-centre stadium racecourses on the global tour with racing often very tight and action packed. Follow the action on www.extremesailing series.com
Photo : Lloyd Images