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


Arts and Entertainment
JJ Abrams' seventh Star Wars, The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of Episode VII has gone online after weeks of anticipation
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game