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Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Sydney - Day 3

by Extreme Sailing Series 12 Dec 2015 11:02 GMT 10-13 December 2015

After two physical, full-on days of racing on Sydney Harbour, the penultimate day was all about the points at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Sydney presented by Land Rover – the final stop on the 2015 global tour.

With their end game in sight, The Wave, Muscat and British helm Leigh McMillan sailed today in defensive-attack.

Careful not to engage with his competitors on the racetrack, time and time again the crowds watched as McMillan tactically crossed the start line, split from the pack and created his own opportunities to sail through the fleet, to take six podium positions from eight races.

The Wave, Muscat's relentless but reserved tactics puts the team at the top of the leaderboard going into the final day on 147-points – and a step closer for McMillan to make history as the only ever skipper to win three Extreme Sailing Series championship titles.

But while McMillan played it safe, the battle heated up for second and third, in both Sydney and on the overall Series leaderboard, as Danes, SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Austrians, Red Bull Sailing Team both gunned for glory.

Adding four podiums to their scoreline, the Danes finished the day in second place with just a four-point gap to bridge to the top spot.

However, the performance of the day goes Red Bull Sailing Team, the fastest team on the water and quickest off the start line according to SAP Analytics (see PDF summary of the stats from SAP). Skipper double Olympic gold medallist Roman Hagara sailed a smart day, and race after race cashed in, adding 60-points to their score line and finishing the day in third.

"The goal is to win this Act, it's so important to finish on a high. It would be perfect to stand on the podium in the number one spot," said Hagara after racing. "We just have to get everything together tomorrow and make sure our starts are spot on."

Oman Air drop down to fourth but with only five points separating them from third, it wouldn't take much for underdog skipper Stevie Morrison to get back on the podium in tomorrow's final.

Crowd pleasers Team Turx took two race wins to finish the day in fifth with Lino Sonego Team Italia bouncing back from their capsize yesterday, climbing the rankings to sixth place.

Gazprom Team Russia and GAC Pindar round up the overnight standings in seventh and eighth, with Australian wild card entry 33 South Racing in ninth after missing a day due to a crash on the first day.

"We want more days to race! We can see the improvements and we are really excited for tomorrow – we are after our first podium. We love the home crowd. It is so cool to hear them cheering as on," commented Aussie skipper Katie Spithill.

Join us tomorrow at extremesailingseries.com for the final of the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Sydney when not only the Act winner but the 2015 Series champion will be crowned, and history could be made.

Standings after Day 3, 20 races:

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 147 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 144 points.
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Lionel Vaucher, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 131 points.
4th Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 126 points.
5th Team Turx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakis, Diogo Cayolla, Pedro Andrade 123 points.
6th Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Enrico Zennaro, Pierre Pennec, Nevio Sabadin, Stefano Rizzi, Tom Buggy 87 points.
7th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Pavel Kalinichev, Pavel Karachi, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 87 points.
8th GAC Pindar (GBR) Adam Minoprio, Seve Jarvin, Jeremy Lomas, James Wierzbowski, Tyson Lamond 75 points.
9th 33 South Racing (AUS) Katie Spithill, Matthew Chew, Stacey Jackson, Henry Kernot, Luke Payne 71 points.

Update from Oman Sail

Consistency once again was key, McMillan said and they made the most of the conditions.

“It was a bit up and down and at times, we were a bit frustrated because we felt we could have converted some results but we were consistent and mostly made the best of the situation we were in.”

Sunday marks the final day of Extreme 40 racing for McMillan who is set to join the British America’s Cup team LandRover BAR in January and although he is poised to depart as the most successful helm in Extreme Sailing history, his focus is on completing a victory in Sydney, which would be his fifth event win in a row, and becoming 2015 champion to add to his 2012 and 2013 titles.

“Tomorrow is my last event of the season and although this has slowly dawned on me, we are trying to focus on doing well and winning the event. It doesn’t feel any different at the moment but it might feel different tomorrow.

“It was a great day’s racing today and nice to put on a bit of a show – the Sydney conditions were fantastic and it must have been spectacular from the shore.”

In fourth place on the leaderboard, Oman Air skipper Stevie Morrison admitted it had been a tough day at the office with three podium finishes in eight races but there were still plenty of opportunities to claw back some crucial points on the final day.

“We had a lot of 50/50s that went against us which was frustrating but we will go away and come back positive tomorrow because there is everything to play for on the last day,” he said.

“Our game plan was for consistency, to keep chipping away but it was tough and we need to up our game tomorrow.”

The plan is still to finish on the podium to bring the curtain down on their first season racing together as a crew, added Ali Al Balushi.

“It was hard today - we had a couple of good races and some not so good. Hopefully it will be good tomorrow and we can finish on the podium,” he said.

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