Mark Lloyd / Extreme Sailing Series

The Wave, Muscat poised

Leigh McMillan's team lining up for third Extreme Sailing Series title

Saturday December 12th 2015, Author: Nicky Dawson, Location: Australia

After two physical, full-on days of racing on Sydney Harbour, the penultimate day of the Exteme Sailing Series Sydney presented by Land Rover was all about manoeuvring for points. With the end in sight, The Wave, Muscat, and her British helm Leigh McMillan, sailed today in defensive-attack mode.

Careful not to engage with his competitors on the racetrack, time and time again the crowds watched as McMillan tactically crossed the start line, split from the pack and created his own opportunities to sail through the fleet, to take six podium positions from eight races.

The Wave, Muscat’s conservative tactics put her at the top of the leaderboard on 147-points going into the final day – and a step closer for McMillan to make history as the only ever skipper ever to win three Extreme Sailing Series championship titles.

But while McMillan played it safe, the battle heated up for second and third, in both Sydney and on the overall Series leaderboard, as Danes, SAP Extreme Sailing Team, and Austrians, Red Bull Sailing Team, both gunned for glory.

Adding four podiums to their scoreline, the Danes finished the day in second place with just a four-point gap to bridge to the top spot.

However, the performance of the day was that of Red Bull Sailing Team, the fastest team on the water and quickest off the start line according to SAP Analytics. Skipper double Olympic gold medallist Roman Hagara sailed smart today, and race after race cashed in, adding 60-points to his team's scoreline to finish the day third overall.

“The goal is to win this Act, it’s so important to finish on a high. It would be perfect to stand on the podium in the number one spot,” said Hagara. “We just have to get everything together tomorrow and make sure our starts are spot on.”

Oman Air dropped to fourth, but with only five points separating the team from third, it wouldn’t take much for British skipper Stevie Morrison to get back on the podium after tomorrow’s final races.

Crowd pleasers Team Turx took two race wins to finish the day in fifth with Lino Sonego Team Italia bouncing back from their capsize yesterday, climbing to sixth place.

Gazprom Team Russia and GAC Pindar round up the overnight standings in seventh and eighth, with Australian wild card entry 33 South Racing in ninth after missing a day due to a crash on the first day.

“We want more days to race! We can see the improvements and we are really excited for tomorrow – we are after our first podium. We love the home crowd. It is so cool to hear them cheering as on,” commented Aussie skipper Katie Spithill.

Results after 20 races

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 147 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 144 points.
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Lionel Vaucher, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 131 points.
4th Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 126 points.
5th Team Turx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakis, Diogo Cayolla, Pedro Andrade 123 points.
6th Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Enrico Zennaro, Pierre Pennec, Nevio Sabadin, Stefano Rizzi,Tom Buggy 87 points.
7th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Pavel Kalinichev, Pavel Karachi, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 87 points.
8th GAC Pindar (GBR) Adam Minoprio, Seve Jarvin, Jeremy Lomas, James Wierzbowski, Tyson Lamond 75 points.
9th 33 South Racing (AUS) Katie Spithill, Matthew Chew, Stacey Jackson, Henry Kernot, Luke Payne 71 points.

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