Extreme Sailing Series 2014: Leigh McMillan takes a popular home win as he guides The Wave to Muscat victory

McMillan and his crew are looking for a hat-trick of titles against a fleet that includes British sailing hero Sir Ben Ainslie

A comeback in one race and a storming display in the deciding final race of the regatta gave Leigh McMillan and the crew of The Wave a popular home win in the Muscat leg of the Extreme Sailing Series.

As a reigning champion looking for a hat-trick of titles on what is an eight-regatta circuit in 2014, McMillan is signalling intent in a fleet boosted by some America’s Cup hopefuls, including Britain’s Sir Ben Ainslie, awaiting the release, promised before the end of this month, of the rules for the next AC in 2017.

It was a former America’s Cup winner, Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi, that pushed McMillan all the way last year and at times was giving The Wave a hard time over the last four days but skipper Morgan Larson had to settle for third on a track which has seen yo-yo performances from all the 11 40-foot catamarans.

In contrast, McMillan came good when it mattered. He left himself and a crew which includes British Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton with a little more to do after a start-line collision with Roman Hagara’s Red Bull in the last race but one. The Tornado sailor could probably win a shouting match with Sir Alex Ferguson but had no answer for the silent response of a penalty flag from the umpires.

Still, despite starting a long way last, with the breeze finally gusting up to 20 knots, he fought back to seventh to score the vital points to retain the initiative. The last race scored double points and allowed another America’s Cup competitor, Dean Barker, to force Emirates Team New Zealand to snatch second overall. 

“It was absolutely amazing out there today. The conditions were superb, we’ll struggle to better than that this year I should think,” said McMillan. “It was a huge team effort, we really wanted it.  Today we had a fight on our hands and had to raise our game.  In a way, when the pressure is on it kind of comes off for me and the team.”

“Now we are really looking forward to the next event in Qingdao. It’s a venue that can throw any conditions at you, from light to strong, from cold to hot and clear to foggy. It is possibly one of the most challenging venues on the circuit, but it’s always good to go back and race at the 2008 Olympic venue,”he added.

Ainslie was having a miserable final day as a couple of bad races were made worse when the hydraulic system failed. It included first having to sit out McMillan’s naughty step race as attempts were made at a repair. That failed and, as his J.P.Morgan/BAR team sat out the final race as well, it slipped to finish ninth overall.

“It was really frustrating that we weren’t able to compete in the last couple of races, especially with the points being so close,” said tactician Paul Goodison.  “We feel a little bit dark that we didn’t get to race it out in the end, but it is what it is.” 

But, despite being anchored in last place, a change of helmsman, David Gilmour, son of Peter, taking over from Seve Jarvin saw better results from another America’s Cup outfit, Team Australia, on GAC Pindar.

Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 2, Muscat final standings after 29 races:

1 The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 188 pts

2 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 180 pts

3 Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 179 pts

4 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 176 pts

5 Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 158 pts

6 Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 153 pts

7 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 145 pts

8 Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 144 pts

9 J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 137 pts

10 Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 123 pts

11 GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour 94 pts

Extreme Sailing Series 2014 overall standings after two regattas:

1 The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 19 pts

2 Alinghi (SUI) 18 pts

3 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 16 pts

4 Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 13 pts

5 Groupama sailing team (FRA) 9 pts

6 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 9 pts

7 Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 9 pts

8 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 8 pts

9 J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 6 pts

10 Oman Air (OMA) 3 pts

11 GAC Pindar (AUS) 2 pts

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'