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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen