For the final time in 2014, after more than 100 hours of racing across seven different countries, Leigh McMillan’s team, The Wave, Muscat will go head to head with Swiss rivals Alinghi in front of the iconic Sydney Opera House to decide one of the most closely fought Extreme Sailing Series contests.
Morgan Larson’s team stretched their lead to eight points at the last event in Nice but with double points up for grabs in Sydney, that advantage could quickly vanish if The Wave, Muscat put in a strong performance. McMillan has made one change to his line up with Ed Smyth returning to the Oman Sail fold in place of Kinley Fowler who is having surgery on a long standing shoulder injury. The Wave, Muscat favourites Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh and Nasser Al Mashari are also back in action.
On Oman Sail sister ship Oman Air, currently in 8th place, it is all change for the final event after skipper Rob Greenhalgh was called up to join the Spanish team MAPFRE for the Volvo Ocean Race. Australian Olympic gold medallist Tom Slingsby, regarded as one of the world’s most naturally gifted sailors, is taking over the helm. Although making his debut in the Extreme 40 class, he knows his way round high performance catamarans after being part of Oracle’s winning team in the last America’s Cup.
Slingsby will be relying on Oman Air regulars Kyle Langford and Ted Hackney to show him the ropes. Joe Newton, another thoroughbred from the Oracle America’s Cup stable, will be sharing bowman duties with Oman’s Ali Al Balushi.
Oman Sail’s young sailor Al Balushi is also making his debut on the Extreme racetrack. A former footballer before he took up sailing in 2010 as part of the Oman Sail national initiative to get a generation sailing, he is a solid member of the Omani offshore squad.
On Sunday Australian rugby legend George Gregan will be sailing on Oman Air.
Racing gets underway at 14.00 local time on Thursday December 11th and continues through to 17.00 on Sunday December 14th. It will be held in the waters of Sydney Harbour, between Garden Island and the Sydney Opera House.
tMore details of schedule and live coverage of the event: www.extremesailingseries.com