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Extreme Sailing Series - The Wave, Muscat see championship bid slip

by Oman Sail on 14 Dec 2014
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 8. Sydney. Australia Lloyd Images
2014 Extreme Sailing Series - The Wave, Muscat saw their 2014 championship lead slip away in Sydney after a dramatic but frustrating day on the water while Australian sailor Tom Slingsby and his crew on Oman Air dazzled local crowds to jump four places on the leaderboard.

Despite a lighter breeze of around 12 knots, the action was faster than ever with collisions, breakages and umpires red flags impacting heavily on performances and rankings. These worked against The Wave, Muscat who twice found themselves adjudged over the line at the start.

The frustration took its toll with the final few races effectively seeing their chances of retaining the Extreme title for the third consecutive year slip away.

'We had a frustrating day – it’s been very tough for the team,' said disappointed skipper McMillan.

'We had a good start then a couple of OCS (on course side) which we were disappointed with because we thought we had it nailed. That set us on a downward spiral and suddenly the whole day turned on its head.

'We have not done enough today to give ourselves a chance tomorrow to win the 2014 title so our aim is to go out tomorrow, sail well and try and win the Sydney event.'

The Wave, Muscat started the day at the top of the leaderboard with a five point lead over Alinghi and got off to a great start with a win and a second place in the opening races.

By the end of the day, they had moved to third place in the rankings and Morgan Larson’s Alinghi had replaced them at the top with three consecutive podium places in the last three races of the day.

Barring disaster on the final day of racing in Sydney, the Swiss team will take over the coveted 2014 Extreme crown from Oman tomorrow night.

The mood on Oman Sail’s sister ship Oman Air was a good deal happier after Slingsby and his crew rose through the ranks with five successive podium places in six races, showing a super quick grasp of Extreme 40 racing and an enviable knowledge of local Sydney Harbour waters.

'Things are a lot better tonight,' said the Australian Olympic gold medal and America’s Cup winner.

'Another day in the boat made all the difference and we executed everything a bit better. Once again, I got more penalties for avoiding collisions than before so I’m perplexed over how the jury are making their decisions.

'I feel now like we are on a roll. Yesterday we were worst boat but today we had the best score so we feel we are getting there so hopefully we can race well again on Sunday and jump into the top five.'

After 18 races, Oman Air is sitting in seventh place, having jumped from 10th and given another day of dogged consistency, the Omani boat could achieve their best result of the series in this double points event.

Slingsby has attracted attention outside of the competition as well as on the water with guest visits from America's Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill, plus George Gregan, Wallaby scrum half legend.

Gregan raced on board as a guest of Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat on Saturday and was looking forward to getting wet.

'My mission today is just to survive my experiences on The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air,' he said.

'It’s my first time on these boats and I’m really excited and thank goodness Sydney has turned on the weather.

'I have sailed on skiffs with my rugby team mates which was good fun – competition team building – but I’m very raw though I am good at following instructions and at staying still!

'I don’t think I will stay dry. I have seen the way these boats cut through the water so am expecting a bit of spray but that’s all part of it.

'I am really hoping that The Wave, Muscat and Oman continue their good form because they have been sailing really well. I take my hat off to these guys who sail – it’s a great skill set to have because you are being constantly challenged by the elements.'

The final day of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series will get underway at 1430 local time on Sunday (GMT +11).

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