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ISLAND SAILOR TAKES VICTORY IN FRANCE

The Extreme Sailing Series 2013. Act7. Nice. France.Credit: Lloyd ImagesIsland-born sailor Leigh McMillan, 32, sailed to victory this weekend against a top international fleet of sailors in the penultimate round of the Extreme Sailing Series global tour which took place from the 3rd – 6th October in Nice, France.

McMillan, a former British Olympian, and his crew onboard the The Wave, Muscat sailed a near faultless regatta at the penultimate Act of the 2013 tour which has already visited the Middle East, Asia and Europe this year, and McMillan and his crew will head to the Series finale in Florianopolis, Brazil in less then six weeks, as favorites to be crowned 2013 Extreme Sailing Series champions.

McMillan’s team, who represent the Sultanate of Oman, won the Series in 2012 and their victory in Nice is their fifth this year. The team led the regatta from the first race, and didn’t look back.

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“To come out the back of four days racing unscathed is pretty rare! We were able to put in a consistent performance and we try to keep it fun at the same time. It has been a great event, we pushed it and sailed extremely well,” enthused McMillan.

McMillan shares his victory with fellow crew member and Hampshire-based Pete Greenhalgh, who sails onboard in the standard five-man crew alongside New Zealand’s Ed Smyth and Oman’s Hashim Al Rashdi and Musab Al Hadi.

Eight 40-foot carbon Extreme 40 catamarans raced in the Series’ pioneering ‘Stadium Racing’ format in front of the crowds on the world famous Promenade des Anglais and the Cote d’Azur threw everything at the fleet – from 30mph winds and two metre waves that at times saw crews battle the elements to keep their catamarans upright, to the placid gentle breeze that played across the Bay of Angels in which saw the 29th and final race was played out.

With one Act left, the battle is raging on the overall Series leaderboard. McMillan’s long-standing Series rivals Alinghi from Switzerland, famous as the first European team to win the America’s Cup, are now just two points behind The Wave, Muscat on the overall Series leaderboard.

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