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23 March 2014, 08:01 pm
The Wave, Muscat Snatch Victory In Big Breeze Finale
The fleet power off the startline
The fleet power off the startline

Extreme Sailing Series - Act 2
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Defending champions and home team, The Wave, Muscat came out on top in a final race shoot out to take the honours at the second act of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series.
The Arabian Peninsula saved the best for last, with winds blasting across the race course at 20 knots with gusts of 26 before a final race shoot out.

The Wave, Muscat, Emirates Team New Zealand, Alinghi and SAP Extreme Sailing Team were gunning for the top spot and there was no room for error, with just four points between them - and 20 points on the table for the taking.

The Wave, Muscat made a real statement of intent from the gun, with an aggressive start that saw them lead the fleet of the line. Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler and Nasser Al Mashari didn't look back, snatching the win from the hands of the Kiwi, Swiss and Danish teams.

The win puts them atop of the series leader board after two acts and McMillan was elated after racing, "It was too close for comfort, that's for sure. Today we had a fight on our hands, we knew we had to be exceptional and raise our game. I was just enjoying the sailing, the challenge of it, the situations that were tight and it all worked out for us. The wind came in and it was absolutely amazing sailing out there, absolutely perfect for the Extreme 40s."

The final day of racing was all about brute power and strength, requiring a huge shift in mind-set for the teams, who have raced in light breeze all week. The fleet of 11 Extreme 40s and their 55 elite level crew members powered off the start line, blasting to the windward mark and wrestling their boats around the course, before unfurling their gennakers and flying downwind, trying to maximize power and speed.

One team who had the formula nailed were Emirates Team New Zealand, with two race wins and a third place in the final race enough for them to claim second overall, bettering their fourth place finish from Act 1, Singapore, which for skipper Dean Barker, was the objective this week, "We wanted to improve after Singapore, we wanted to sail well and get on the podium here, and we've achieved it. There's still a lot we can improve on but in saying that everyone struggles with the conditions and the guys remained very positive throughout even when things didn't feel like they were going our way. We had a good chance to get onto the podium, and to get a second place we're really happy."

Overnight leaders Alinghi came out of the blocks with a win in the first race of the day, but couldn't replicate the performance, and a fourth place in the last race left the Swiss settling for third, one point behind the Kiwis. "We should be pleased with the result in such a tough field but we were quite disappointed with how we sailed today," commented the team's helmsman Morgan Larson.

"We need to do a better job staying out of the fray and we didn't achieve that today and The Wave, Muscat did and you've got to hand it to them, they earned the win. It's a long season ahead and if we can keep on the podium this year we'll have a shot at the title at the end of the year, this will be our objective,"
commented the team's helmsman Morgan Larson.

The Danish match racing experts on SAP Extreme Sailing Team came heartbreakingly close to a podium position. They lead the pack for most of the day but found themselves stuck in the tussle mid-fleet in the final race and unable to make a clean break. A sixth place in the final race put them in fourth position overall.

The team however, have showed a marked improvement from Act 1 in Singapore, where they finished tenth, and co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen was quick to talk about the learning's from the Act, "Of course we're a little bit disappointed not to be on the podium, we sailed a great regatta which literally came right down to the last race. In hindsight I think we sailed well, which is what we will take away from this. It was a difficult day today with good breeze but it was a bit up and down for us. We were a little unlucky at times but overall we sailed pretty well. I think we have a great team, a good boat and the pace to match the best teams in the Extreme Sailing Series."

Muscat delivered some incredibly hard fought racing over 29 races, and the fleet have just under six weeks to regroup, debrief and prepare themselves for Act 3 of the 2014 global tour in Qingdao, China, presented by Land Rover, one of the most notoriously tricky racecourses on the circuit, 1-4 May.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 2, Muscat standings after Day 4, 29 races (22.03.14)
Position / Team / Points

1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, 188 points.
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, 180 points.
3. Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, 179 points.
4. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, 176 points.
5. Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, 158 points.
6. Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, 153 points.
7. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, 145 points.
8. Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, 144 points.
9. J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, 137 points.
10. Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, 123 points.
11. GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, 94 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings
Position / Team / Points

1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 19 points.
2. Alinghi (SUI) 18 points.
3. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 16 points.
4. Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 13 points.
5. Groupama sailing team (FRA) 9 points.
6. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 9 points.
7. Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 9 points.
8. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 8 points.
9. J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 6 points.
10. Oman Air (OMA) 3 points.
11. GAC Pindar (AUS) 2 points.
Extreme Sailing Series (As Amended by ISAF)
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