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Sultanate of Oman GC32 crew head to the Isle of Wight for Cowes Cup and Round the Island Race
Fresh from a win in Cardiff at Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series, Leigh McMillan and his The Wave, Muscat crewmates Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari and Ed Smyth head for Cowes on the Isle of Wight where they will be joined by Alister Richardson for the second stop on the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

Before the inaugural event in Austria in May, the Sultanate of Oman GC32 team, supported by the Ministry of Tourism of Oman and EFG Bank Monaco, had spent just three days sailing on the foiling boat. Four days of racing with two very competent foiling specialists on board in Glenn Ashby and Alister Richardson and the team won the opening event of the series.

“Racing in Cowes will be a very different scenario to the lake sailing we did in Austria,” said skipper Leigh McMillan, a local to the Isle of Wight. “In some ways the light conditions that we had for the opening event played into our hands given our lack of foiling experience. It was great to do so well right off the bat though – a real credit to the team.”

For the second event of the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour, Ed Smyth is stepping in for Glenn Ashby who has Emirates Team New Zealand duties. Ed is a regular on The Wave, Muscat and is no stranger to foiling having trained with the team before Austria.

“It is a big learning curve for all of us, we have got a big challenge ahead. We are very experienced on the Ex40s but we are very much still in the learning phase on the GC32s,” said Leigh. “We have to change gears and our mind set a bit, but it is a really good fun boat to sail so we are very excited about that, we know it is a steep learning curve and we have some big lessons ahead, but we will still be pushing hard.”

Conditions in Cowes can be mixed and the tides contribute to making it a tricky venue. “Generally you get a bit of breeze so the boats should be up on the foils and absolutely ripping along – it will be great to be flying along at 30 knots – it should be quite a spectacle.”

After such a great win in Cardiff, Nasser, the bowman on both the Extreme 40 and the GC32, is itching to ‘fly’ again: “We are really looking forward to foiling again – we are still learning, but will try to do our very best and do well.”

The Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour Cowes Cup runs from Wednesday 24 June through to Friday and then the fleet joins the Round the Island Race for the historic sprint around the Isle of Wight on Saturday.

Photo : Lloyd Images
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