Fresh from victory in Act 5 of the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series in Hamburg, Germany, Leigh McMillan’s crew on board The Wave, Muscat travelled 100km north this week to the German port of Kiel for the third round of the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour with high hopes of taking a second victory on board Sultanate of Oman. The action begins on Thursday.
With just three days of rest between the two events, McMillan is upbeat over his team’s return to the GC32 circuit, especially after missing out on a win at the last event in Cowes, UK a month ago when he broke his hand.
Over four weeks, his hand survived the strong winds in Hamburg and, with similar weather conditions in Kiel, he is confident that he and his crew of Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser al Mashari and Alister Richardson will have a successful outing.
“It will be exciting because they are talking about a big breeze in Kiel, so it will be full on,” McMillan said. “My hand has been holding up just fine. It was hurting a bit during the Extreme 40 racing in Hamburg, but a couple of days of rest and recovery means I am good to go in Kiel. We are really enjoying all these events. It is good to compete on the two boats even though they are different.”
The Sultanate of Oman skipper said, “Experienced sailors tend to be very adaptable. We have done quite a bit of foiling and there is a slightly different feel to how the boat reacts. But as far as tactics and teamwork are concerned – which are the most important aspects of racing – they are all the same.”
Compared to the open waters of the Solent strait at the Cowes Cup in the UK, racing in Kiel takes place in the compact surroundings of Kiel Fjord, an inlet of the Baltic Sea that extends into the city centre.
The race is expected to draw huge crowds and will pose a challenge for the crews, especially if the wind is strong.
“These boats are fast and the track is quite small, so it will be a challenge. But we have a strong crew and we work well as a team. We are really looking forward to it,” said Nasser al Mashari, Sultanate of Oman’s bowman.
Sultanate of Oman won the opening Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour event in Austria and came second to Flavio Marazzi’s Armin Strom Racing Team in Cowes. But it remains three points ahead at the top of the leaderboard with two events remaining, in Rome, Italy, in August and in Marseille, France in September.