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Leigh bids for series hat-trick
HAMPSHIRE sailing star Leigh McMillan will aim to pick up where he left off when he starts his bid for a third consecutive Extreme Sailing Series title tomorrow.
The 2012 and 2013 champion begins his campaign for a third tour victory with his The Wave, Muscat crew in Singapore.
But despite training on the tricky waters of Singapore's harbour ahead of the start of the event, McMillan is not under any illusion about how tough this season will be.
A host of big name sailors will be competing in the eight-date tour including fellow Hampshire racer Sir Ben Ainslie and French offshore yachtsman Franck Cammas, promising to make it the most competitive to date.
“Hopefully we will be starting where we left off last year but you won’t see us being miles ahead at the first event,” said McMillan, from Southampton.
“It will be extremely tough this year given the level of competition but I do think we will be in contention.
“I think the training has put us in a good position for the season but I’m not sure that training in Singapore necessarily gives us an advantage for the Singapore races because it is such a tricky and random venue and anyone can win there.” McMillan has recruited a host of new sailors to bolster his already strong team in 2014 including Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton.
Also onboard will be Hamble's Pete Greenhalgh, Kiwi sailor Kinley Fowler and Omani Nasser Al Mashari.
“The new crew has gelled really well,” McMillan added. “Sarah Ayton has picked things up really quickly and is very focussed on getting the details right. Routines, debriefs and note taking were a big part of her Olympic campaign and that ability to quickly assess situations has already proved beneficial to us.
“Nasser Al Mashari is a real talent and relishing the opportunity to be part of the team – he has only been in the sport for four years but has a real feel for sailing. “Kinley has been a perfect replacement for Ed Smyth – very high skill levels and a fantastic ability to multitask.”
The first round of racing begins tomorrow and runs until Sunday.
Full sailing review in today's Daily Echo