On the opening day of Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore, no wind was forecast and none materialised but the team on The Wave, Muscat, including Musab Al Hadi who was racing in Singapore for the first time in the Extreme 40, proved masters of the windless seas as they finished at the top of the leaderboard.
Only four races were possible before the wind died completely but the The Wave, Muscat's crew read the difficult conditions well to post two podium places with a couple of fourths demonstrating a level of consistency that has become the norm for this increasingly experienced team.
For Musab, making his debut in Extreme 40 racing, the wind shifts and slow progress required plenty of patience and skill.
'It wasn't easy out there,' said Headsail Trimmer Musab, one of two Omani sailors (alongside with bowman Hashim Al Rashdi) who will be showcasing their multihull racing skills throughout the year on The Wave, Muscat on the Extreme Sailing circuit.
'The boats were close, the wind was up and down and shifty as well which made it pretty hard. It kept challenging us and the pressure increased with every race but by the time we finished, we were in the lead and thats what we loved about it.'
The conditions had been tricky, added McMillan but they were exactly what they expected in Marina Bay.
'It was what we expected, with extremely light and very small patches of wind coming on to the course making it extremely difficult,' he said.
'We just managed to keep it together and make good decisions at critical times, and that just kept us in the clear in quite a few races. We weren't always looking that good but just managed to come through when the opportunities came. It was a solid day in terms of results but extremely hard in terms of conditions.'
McMillan has a mix of experience and enthusiasm on board The Wave Muscat with veteran Extreme 40 expert Pete Greenhalgh key to their tactics and three times America's Cup sailor Ed Smyth along with Oman's defending champion crew Hashim Al Rashdi combining to create another tour de force in on the circuit.
'They're a very experienced team,' McMillan said.
'Myself and Peter have done a lot of Extreme 40 sailing, Hashim's in his second season so he's one of the experienced guys on the circuit and he's really shining through. Musab is one of the real young talents of Oman Sail, it's his first time aboard with the Extreme 40s but he's very comfortable on the boat and in this high-pressure environment. He's really settled in to the team and it feels like we've been sailing for many events, if not seasons, together.'
Racing took place right in the heart of Singapore with the familiar sky rise blocks looming at every turn of race course. For Musab, who has already been competing around the world on the F18 catamran, the trip to Singapore was an important part of his education.
'Being one of the two Omanis on board and sailing and competing against olympic sailors and world champions makes me really proud especially when we raise our Omani flag. I have been sailing around the world, but this is the first time for me abroad with the Wave, Muscat in the Extreme 40s in Singapore and I'm learning so much.'
Conditions on day two are likely to be similar to the first day prompting organisers to alter the racing schedule to make the most of the local thermal effects in the absence of no gradient wind. On Friday, racing will take place between 8.30-10.30am local time and again from 3pm-7pm.
Extreme Sailing Series website
by Alex Jafarzadeh
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10:18 PM Thu 11 Apr 2013GMT
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