Ainslie puts together his dream team

Daily Echo: Ben Ainslie Ben Ainslie

SAILING star Ben Ainslie says he is depending on his big-name crew in his bid for success in the next round of the Extreme Sailing Series.

The second round of the world tour takes place in Muscat, Oman – unfamiliar territory for the four-time Olympic gold medallist.

But his right hand man Paul Goodison, fellow crew members Nick Hutton and Matt Cornwell, have all sailed at the Middle Eastern venue before and know its quirks.

The team, new to the series this year, are currently sat in seventh position after the first event in Singapore – but they have been widely tipped to shoot up through the rankings as the tour goes on.

Lymington’s Ainslie, who masterminded Team USA’s America’s Cup win last year, said: “We are all really looking forward to Act 2 and ultimately expecting very different circumstances than that of Singapore.

“There will be a lot more space for racing and hopefully the winds will be a little bit steadier.

“For us, being new to the class and a new team, we took a lot away from our first event, things to try and improve on and are looking forward to getting back together for a great week of racing.

“I haven’t competed in this venue before, but Paul, Nick and Matt all have so they will be giving direction as they are more familiar with the conditions.”

Among the 12 teams who will be vying for glory on the waters of Oman will be Southampton’s Leigh McMillan and his The Wave, Muscat team.

The 2012 and 2013 overall winners will be looking for a repeat of last year when they won on home waters.

McMillan, whose team was involved in a minor crash during round one in Singapore, said: “The incidents we had in Singapore proved a bit of an eye opener because it showed how close and tight this whole series is going to be.

“We are hoping to have more consistent conditions in Muscat where everyone can get locked into the racing but this could make it even closer so it will be more difficult to win races.

“We’ll have our work cut out.”

“It will be fantastic to be racing out of The Wave, Muscat and have the home crowds cheering for us and we hope we can deliver. We will be sailing the best we can.”

Racing starts today and runs until Sunday.

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