For the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series, defending champions The Wave, Muscat of Oman are in full preparation mode and eager to test conditions at the brand new stadium race course in Florianopolis, Brazil for the final showdown when they hope to hold their title.
'Our win in Brazil last year gave us our 2012 championship crown but Florianopolis is a whole new venue for many of us. We are eager to get there, to get to know the conditions and prepare ourselves as much as possible. Being prepared is the big challenge,' said Leigh McMillan, The Wave, Muscat’s champion multihull skipper.
McMillan and his crack crew of Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Musab Al Hadi and Hashim Al Rashdi will arrive in Brazil at the top of the Series leaderboard after pulling off their fourth consecutive Act win in Nice last month.
But with Alinghi just two points behind and six other teams fired up to upset the stakes, the battle for the 2013 title starts afresh when the final Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 Florianopolis, presented by Land Rover, gets underway from 14 – 17 November.
'Every event this year has been extremely tight, very close and it’s been difficult to come out on top. Brazil will probably be even harder with the teams so close and it being a double pointer.
'Alinghi is ready to pounce. They will be fighting for an overall win so we have to be as prepared as we possibly can be,' said McMillan who has represented Great Britain at two Olympic Games in the Tornado class.
'The nature of the Extreme 40’s is very different to other events. At the end of each Act we do a full debrief and then the team disperses only coming back together again a few days before the start of the next event when we get access to the boats.
The Wave Muscat skippered by Leigh McMillan (GBR), mainsail trimmer Pete Greenhalgh (GBR), headsail trimmer Musab Al Hadi (OMA), tactician Ed Smyth (NZL) and bowman Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA) - © Lloyd Images Click Here to view large photo
'But in between Acts, even though the crew is scattered across different continents, we keep constant contact with each other and our coach Rob Wilson who has been with us for two years. We talk through the racing, discuss strategies and prepare ourselves mentally.'
The team will arrive in Brazil three days ahead of the final. Rigging the boat will take a day, leaving only a day and a half for practice sailing in Florianopolis.
'There is so much to learn in such a short time. We have to make sure we are totally ready to go.
'We are all eager to continue to win some races. We have a good atmosphere in the team and a great work ethic right from the shore crew through to the sailors. If we perform well and stay focussed on the job hopefully we will win again in Brazil. We will keep pushing hard and sail as hard as we can.'
MacMillan said Omani sailors Musab Al Hadi who joined the crew as headsail trim this season and Hashim Al Rashdi in his second season as bowman had delivered huge performances in big weather in Nice and worked extremely hard through the year.
'They are both totally part of the team and we operate as any professional team with everyone giving their input. They are ready and eager to go and win the series in Florianopolis and take the trophy home to Oman.'
McMillan said the team had been very fortunate to have the support of The Wave, Muscat over the last three years.
'I hope, very much, that we can win the 2013 title and continue to have more successful sailing seasons together.'
Al Rashdi said he was looking forward to the final in Brazil after a great season with a fellow Omani onboard.
'I feel more confident and more experienced and feel I can pass on what I’ve learnt to Musab. As a team, our communication and relationship has got better and better through the year. We have worked hard on our boat handling and finer points and push ourselves hard in our training.
'We have such fantastic memories from last year when we won the Cup in Brazil. This time we have a different location and different pressures but we will do the best we can.'
Al Hadi, who was a member of The Wave, Muscat’s shore crew during the 2012 championships win in Brazil says he is hugely excited to be going back as sailing crew.
'I really want to achieve what they did last year but we have to keep our heads up and watch Alinghi all the time because this time it is going to be very tough. Everyone wants to win.
Esber Hawazen, CEO of The Wave, Muscat said they couldn’t be more proud to have their name associated with such a dedicated and hard working team that continually strived for top honours.
'We wish Leigh and his crew Musab, Hashim, Pete, and Ed all the best in this final Act of the season. We have every confidence in their ability to pull off a second consecutive championship win but whatever the outcome we will be proudly supporting them all the way. They are a dream team in every respect. '
by Oman Sail
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8:26 AM Mon 11 Nov 2013GMT
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