MUSCAT, Dec 13: The Wave, Muscat Extreme Sailing team made history when they swept to a resounding victory in Sydney to win the 2015 championship title. Drawing the game-changing era of Extreme 40 racing to a close, Leigh McMillan and his crew of Nasser Al Mashari, Pete Greenhalgh, Sarah Ayton and Ed Smyth continued their dominance of the 2015 season by winning the final double points race to claim victory in the eighth and final act of the season with Oman Sail stable mates Oman Air running in a close second.
It was their fifth consecutive win this season following successes in Cardiff, Hamburg, St Petersburg and Istanbul and establishes a record that will stand forever due to the Extreme 40 catamarans being replaced by the foiling GC32s for the 2016 Extreme Sailing season.
McMillan’s record in claiming his third championship Extreme 40 crown, following title wins in 2012 and 2013, will also stand for all time and marks a fitting end to his career in the class ahead of a move into America’s Cup racing with LandRover BAR of Britain in 2016. The Wave, Muscat’s 2015 crown brings the total number of titles to four after Paul Campbell-James started the ball rolling in 2010
“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said McMillan, who has been The Wave, Muscat skipper for five years. “We won the last race, the last Extreme 40 event and the last Extreme 40 championship and it doesn’t get any better than that!
“We wanted to win the event and once again it was a stand out performance from the guys so we are very, very happy. It has been an awesome week and a great way to end this chapter.”
David Graham, Oman Sail CEO, praised The Wave, Muscat’s team effort and paid special tribute to McMillan. “Oman Sail is privileged to work with such driven athletes,” he said.
“Our sailors joined this circuit with one objective and they knew that winning the season wasn’t going to be easy, especially with the impressive line-up of competitors.
The focussed, disciplined team had a great leader in Leigh McMillan – we are indebted to him for his efforts over the years and we are sorry to see him leave. He is a huge asset to any team and we wish him all the best in his new role. “The Wave, Muscat team has an incredible depth of knowledge with impressive teamwork. This win hugely advances our objectives with the Ministry of Tourism of Oman and that is thanks to our fabulous sailors and the wider team.”
Al Mashari, the Omani bowman who has been a key member of The Wave, Muscat’s crew dedicated the win to the Sultanate of Oman and his team’s supporters. “It has been an incredible feeling to win after a challenging final day, and I would like to present this victory to my beloved country Oman and all of those who have been supporting me along the season,” he said.
Fighting for a coveted podium place, Stevie Morrison’s crew on Oman Air pulled out all the stops in the finale to close the event in fourth place, which also left them fourth in the overall 2015 rankings, up three places on 2014. The British Olympic skipper who joined the Extreme Sailing Series at the start of the year was one of the first to congratulate his Oman Sail teammates on The Wave, Muscat. “Well done to Leigh and the crew,” said Morrison.
They came into the season with a lot of expectation and pressure and they delivered. It is not that easy and you can only do it by working hard and building on experience. They executed to the top of their game all season and deserve their success.
“On Oman Air, we had a lot to learn when we started out this season because most of us had never raced on multihulls before but we have grown as a team and developed strong friendships with a lot of respect for each other which has meant everyone has tried their best at all times. It has been a steep learning curve but great fun.”
The success of the Omani teams was especially felt at the Oman Tourism Pavilion in the Royal Botanical Gardens where representatives from Oman Sail and the Omani Ministry of Tourism celebrated with visitors and team fans.