Sultanate of Oman faces new GC32 challenge in Kiel but sets sights high after Hamburg Extreme 40 triumph

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Leigh McMillan’s triumphant Extreme 40 crew on The Wave, Muscat switch back to foils and move 100 kilometres north from Hamburg to Kiel in Germany this week for the third round of the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour with high hopes for Sultanate of Oman to add a second crown to the 2015 honours board.

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With just three days of rest between claiming the Extreme Sailing Series’ event in Hamburg and setting out on a bid for the Sailing Cup Kiel, McMillan is excited about their return to foiling, especially after missing out on a win at the last event in Cowes a month ago when he broke his hand.

Four weeks of rest meant the hand survived the battering the fleet received from the winds in Hamburg and with a similar breeze forecast in Kiel, he is confident that he and his crew of Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari and Alister Richardson will be ready and raring to go.

“It will be exciting because they are talking about a big breeze in Kiel so it will be full on,” he said.

“My hand has been holding up ok – it was hurting a bit during the Extreme 40 racing in Hamburg but a couple of days of rest and recovery means I will be good to go for Kiel.”

“We are really looking forward to getting up on foils again and are really enjoying all these events. It is good to double up on the two boats even though they are so different.

“Good experienced sailors tend to be very adaptable – we have done 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 important parts of racing – they are all the same.”

Compared to the open waters of the Solent at the Cowes Cup, the racetrack in Kiel has been laid on the compact Kiel Fjord, which is right in the city centre. This will almost certainly guarantee massive crowds but it will pose a challenge for the crews especially if the wind is up.

“These boats are very fast and the track is quite small so it will be a challenge but we have a strong crew and work well together as a team, we are really looking forward to it,” said Nasser Al Mashari, bowman on Sultanate of Oman.

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 though retains a three point advantage at the top of the leaderboard with two events in Rome and Marseille remaining.

Racing in Kiel starts on Thursday.

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