Extreme Sailing Series 2015– McMillan broke his hand three weeks ago while campaigning Oman Sail’s GC32 Sultanate of Oman in Cowes but a rapid recovery has facilitated an early return to boost their chances of opening up the one point gap between The Wave, Muscat and second-placed SAP Extreme Sailing Team.
“I have full range of movement in my hand and by the time racing starts in Hamburg, it will be even stronger so I am very pleased to be able to resume racing,” said McMillan.
“I have never been to Hamburg before so it is a big unknown. From what I can see, the race course looks a lot like St Petersburg’s – a river with quite a bit of tide and current. It will be challenging and interesting and new for everyone.
“Our focus will be on sizing up the race course as quickly as possible and finding out where there are gains to be made. The first team to do that will be the one that does best and our aim is to figure it out before anyone else.”
Despite being an established team with two championship titles under their belts, this will not be easy, McMillan added with the 2015 series proving to be a three horse race with SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Red Bull building up the pressure.
“SAP Extreme Sailing Team have been the team to beat since Muscat. We have a one-point lead, but they are always right on our heels, performing very consistently so we have to beat them again and extend our lead. It won’t be easy.
“This new venue evens things up a bit. The experienced teams have been to most of the venues and know their way around but having a brand new venue levels the playing field. It makes it interesting.”
The Wave, Muscat, whose victory at the last Extreme Sailing Series event in Cardiff was their second outright win of the series, will start Act 5 with their regular crew of Pete Greenhalgh, Sarah Ayton, Nasser Al Mashari and Ed Smyth.
As a precaution, McMillan has also put their new coach Andrew Walsh, a veteran Extreme 40 professional and Olympic Nacra 17 campaigner from Britain, on standby as backup crew.
For Olympic sailor Stevie Morrison, skipper of Oman Air, the challenge posed by the unfamiliar Hamburg waters represents an exciting opportunity to notch up some valuable points.
“We are both frustrated and motivated by our results this year. We have shown flashes of good results but haven’t managed to put them together for a whole event yet,” he said.
“In the past two events the results didn’t match up with our good performances, so we are determined to do ourselves justice in Hamburg with some consistency.”
Morrison will once again be joined by fellow Olympians Ed Powys and Nic Asher, alongside Ted Hackney and Oman’s Ali Al Balushi who is confident that Hamburg, a compact and busy stadium race course on the River Elbe, will be demanding but fun.
“I’m sure Hamburg will be different to anything that I’ve done before because it is right in the city centre on the river,” said Al Balushi.
“But it is good for us because in all the other Extreme venues, the other teams have raced at before and we haven’t but this time we are starting afresh which could be good for us.”
by Oman Sail