Moments after Leigh McMillan, skipper of The Wave Muscat, the current series leader of the Extreme Sailing Series 2012, made his position clear about what they needed to keep their overall lead in the final Act of the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series in Rio de Janeiro, they ended the six races on day one in second position but tied on points on the leaderboard with the winner of day one, the Swiss team, Alinghi. For Alinghi, it was the first podium finish this year.
Said McMillan, "In this event we need to stay in the top five to win the series. We pushed hard all year and had a lot of fun racing in the series. We are not planning to do anything very different but will continue to push really hard and hopefully, we will come out and win this event.”
Ahead of the other Oman Sail boat, Oman Air, which is in overall second position in the series, The Wave Muscat leads by 8.5 points, following an incredible season where they have won three Acts – in Qingdao (China), Istanbul (Turkey) and Porto (Portugal) - and finished second in the remaining three. If The Wave, Muscat maintains this consistency in Rio, then they could win the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series by the largest margin in the seven year history of the circuit.
Because it is the final event of the season, results in Rio are weighted with a 1.5x co-efficient. This means that if Oman Air wins, then The Wave, Muscat must finish better than sixth to secure the 2012 championship. But with as many as 30 races to go, the skipper added, "The reality is we want to continue the form that we’ve had all year and have a good last event."
The Brazilian sunshine, 12-knot gusts and the incredible view of Sugar Loaf Mountain from the venue had all the nine skippers talk as much about being in Rio as they did about the racing. Adding spice to the last Act of 2012, was the wild card entry of Team Brazil with Brazilian Olympic legend Torben Grael making his Extreme 40 debut.
Before the races of day one, Oman Air skipper Morgan Larson told Muscat Daily, "We are going to be out there doing the best we can and the sailing conditions are as fantastic as they are challenging. But in this sport, there is also a large amount of luck that comes into play, so we are hoping for the best."
Day one subsequently did see a collision in the fifth race with the Red Bull Sailing Team careering into the back of Oman Air. Quick fixes were made and both teams went on to compete in the final sixth race but as Larson told www.extremesailingseries.com, "Tomorrow is another day - chin up, keep going. We are still in the hunt."
The top 5
Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 8, Rio de Janeiro - standings after day one (six races) of the top five among nine teams:
1. Alinghi: Pierre-Yves Jorand, Jean-Christophe Mourniac, Bruno Barbarin, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey; 38 points
2. The Wave, Muscat: Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Hannah Mills, Hashim al Rashdi; 38 points
3. ZouLou: Erik Maris, Philip Mourniac, Jean-Sébastien Ponce, Patrick Aucour, Bruno Jeanjean; 35 points
4. Oman Air: Morgan Larson, Will Howden, Charlie Ogletree, Andy Maloney, Nasser al Mashari; 31 points
5. Red Bull Sailing Team: Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Pierre Le Clainche, Graeme Spence; 31 points