The opening day’s honours of the Extreme Sailing Series second leg went to The Wave, Muscat. The reigning 2012 series champion quintet and winner of the first leg in Oman, with British Olympian Leigh McMillan as skipper, clinched 32 points in low wind conditions on an overcast Thursday at the Marina Bay here. “You need to maintain your composure and be very, very patient with the conditions and make sure you do things at the right time,” said McMillan of his tactics.
The series, one among only four to be accorded ‘special status’ by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), features two-time Olympic gold medallist Roman Hagara and London Games silver medallist Peter Burling, besides world champions in various classes.
The venue, surrounded by Singapore’s sprawling Central Business District, the banana-shaped Marina Bay Sands resort, perched atop two multi-storied buildings and the Arts Science Museum gave the sport a stadium feel. Besides it brought the event closer to the public with a guest placed on the trampoline on each of the twin-hulled, triple sail 40-foot catamaran, manned by five sailors for the day’s four races.
Hot on the leader’s heels were Alinghi, Switzerland and GAC Pindar, New Zealand, both securing 29 points. The Swiss squad clinched the opening race in style. It shot off to a sizeable lead on the first beat of the two-loop course, stretching it to almost a full leg on the run.
Circling the leeward marker, Alinghi drifted a bit off-course and quickly recouped but not before the rivals bridged the gap. By the time it got the gun, the squad led by American Morgan Larson maintained at least a quarter of a leg’s lead.
The positions: 1. The Wave, Muscat, Oman (Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Musab Al Hadi, Hashim Al Rashdi) 32 points; 2. Alinghi, Switzerland (Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey) 29 pts; 3. GAC Pindar, New Zealand (Will Tiller, Brad Farrand, Stewart Dodson, Harry Thurston, Matt Steven) 29.