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Consistency in Cardiff for The Wave, Muscat and a tricky day for Oman Air as the Extreme Sailing Series announces a future on foils - The Wave, Muscat skippered by Leigh McMillan and Oman Air skippered by Stevie Morrison
The breeze was on in Cardiff today, the sun was out and there was a festive atmosphere ashore with plenty of onlookers flocking to the bay to watch the action. Competition kicked off early afternoon in 22 knots and the lively conditions saw the Extreme 40s notching up 20knot boat speeds as they negotiated the very tight stadium course.

Leigh McMillan’s The Wave, Muscat crewed by Nasser Al Mashari, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh and Ed Smyth were super consistent securing six podium finishes out of seven races to close day two at the top of the leaderboard, 21 points ahead of closest rival SAP Extreme Sailing Team. Sister ship Oman Air started Friday in second place overall having had a fabulous first day, but found the gusty conditions on the Cardiff course a handful, not quite finding their stride. The team of Ali Al Balushi, Ed Powys, Nic Asher and Ted Hackney finished the day in fifth.

Olympic sailor and skipper, Stevie Morrison, was hungrier than ever to get back out on the water and racing again: “It was a tough day, the racing really comes down to the starts – yesterday we were brilliant and today we weren’t so great, but we know from day one that we can do it, so we will brush ourselves off and get on with looking at tomorrow.

“It was a good learning day for us – it was the first time we have raced with a reef in for example… I always tend to look at the day that we were very good and say well guys, why don’t we go out and do that again tomorrow.”

Oman Air had a special guest onboard today when MyAnna Buring, a UK based actress who grew up in Oman, of Twilight and Downton Abbey (Edna) fame, came to Cardiff to cheer on the team. “I came to support Oman Air today, Oman is very close to my heart as I grew up in the Sultanate, so when I heard that they were going to be in Cardiff this weekend, I just had to come along!”

Leigh McMillan and the crew on the Wave, Muscat had an incredible day continuing the consistency that they showed on day one. “It was pretty relentless – the conditions were fantastic but exhausting at the same time,” he said. “Everyone is pushing absolutely to the max but the difference for us today compared to other events and other days was that our starts were more consistent and we were able to convert that and we kept on pushing as hard as we possibly could.

“It was a fantastic effort by the whole team in making it happen – if something goes wrong, they are incredible at making sure it doesn’t affect our results, we were operationally really good today.”

Leigh welcomed OC Sport’s exciting news, announced today, that the Extreme Sailing Series is moving to foiling boats in the future.

“It’s fantastic news, the Extreme Sailing Series has been an incredible showcase for the sport and these latest developments of planning to go to foiling catamarans is really exciting, it’s where the sport is going and OC have recognised that as the way forward and are taking the steps to make sure the Extreme Sailing Series is THE circuit to be on. I think it will be incredible to bring those kind of boats into a stadium environment.

“One of the most fantastic things about the Extreme Sailing Series is that they have amateurs and female sailors as part of the rule and that is something I really support, so I think if the boats are designed well then that is something that can happen for sure.”

The final word of the day goes to Oman Air's bowman Ali Al Balushi who is no stranger to the ups and downs of Extreme Sailing: “Yesterday was awesome, today was not so, tomorrow is another day and it is not over until it is over.” With two more days of nail-biting stadium sailing to go, don't miss the action: http://www.extremesailingseries.com/live with live video streaming, commentary and graphics

Photo : Lloyd Images
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