Mark Lloyd / Extreme Sailing Series

McMillan heading for Extreme Sailing Series history

Extreme Sailing Series Sydney kicks off tomorrow

Wednesday December 9th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australia

On the eve of the final event of the Extreme Sailing Series' 2015 season, to be played out on Sydney Harbour over 10-13 December, The Wave Muscat’s British helm, Leigh McMillan, is poised to enter the history books as the only skipper in the Series’ nine year history to win three championship titles.

“Of course it’s important, not just as the last Act of the season but also the last time we will race an Extreme 40," said McMillan. "I wouldn’t say I feel emotional about it, but it has made me reflect on the last four years and what an exceptional journey it has been with the Oman Sail team. I guess being in Oman last week it started to hit home that this is the end of an era.”

This is also likely to be McMillan's final regatta on the Extreme Sailng Series since signing with Ben Ainslie Racing.

The Wave, Muscat's two-year winning streak was broken last season by Alinghi, which snatched victory from the Omani team in the final event in Sydney. The Wave, Muscat was due to come back fighting in 2015, but despite being widely tipped as season favourite, McMillan surprised everyone in the first event in Singapore by only just scraped onto the podium in third place.

“We had a rocky start to 2015,” McMillan admits. “I think it was probably the result of us doing so many seasons together back-to-back.

“You just need something fresh to get excited about and with Alinghi pulling out of the 2015 season, it was a real disappointment for me. The battles we had on the water over the years were certainly the key to both of our successes. We were driving each other forward and it was frustrating not to have that.”

This season McMillan has led The Wave, Muscat crew to an incredible five events wins out of a possible seven so far. Going into the Sydney event, he added: “Everyone is refreshed and hungry to get out on the water. It would mean a huge amount for our team to win and finish on a high. We don’t want to scrape across the finish line or run the risk of throwing it away after working so hard for it this year.

“The focus is on taking a convincing win, whatever it takes. And once we finally get to that very clear end goal, then I think it will finally sink in what we have achieved."

But the announcement that the Extreme Sailing Series is moving to foiling GC32 catamarans for 2016, and with McMillian and his right-hand-man Pete Greenhalgh haivng also competed on the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour this year, they had every incentive to get back into the game.

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