British Olympic sailor Leigh McMillan takes lead in Qingdao


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The Independent Online

British Olympic sailor Leigh McMillan swept into the lead on the third day of the Extreme Sailing Series regatta in Qingdao and Britain’s reigning world match racing champion, Ian Williams, pulled back up to third overall going into the final day.

McMillan, from the Isle of Wight and who represented Britain at two Olympic Games in the Tornado catamaran, at the helm of The Wave Muscat, brought to an end a 17-race top dog spell in Red Bull by Austrian double gold medallist Roman Hagara.

Williams and his GAC Pindar team are just two points behind Hagara but have only a four-point cushion over Morgan Larson’s Oman Air as they seeks their first top three finish in his second season in the event.

McMillan, with crew Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Hashim al Rashdi, and Rachel Williamson, are 59 points clear at the top.

In Brazil, an international jury dismissed a protest against the overall leader of the Volvo round the world race, Spain’s Telefónica, that it had carried too many sails on leg four from Hainan, China, to Auckland.

There was further frustration for Abu Dhabi’s Azzam as it arrived by ship from Chile but had to wait for bureaucratic paperwork to be completed before being unloaded.

It was already in a race against time to make the inshore race on Saturday as, among a long list of repairs and pre-leg checks, it had built two, prefabricated 4m x 1m panels one for either side of the hull. But project director Jamie Boag was hoping that time could be saved if only one had to be fitted on the existing damaged side.

Shannon Falcone will replace the injured Casey Smith on Puma for the sixth leg to Miami, which starts on Sunday as Kelvin resumes his place, held by Thomas Johanson for leg five, after recovering from injury.