(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) With just a day left for the start of the penultimate Act of the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series (ESS), defending champion and current leader The Wave, Muscat's Omani bowman Hashim al Rashdi has expressed confidence of a strong showing by his team
The Act 7 will be hosted against the backdrop of the famous Promenade des Anglais, Nice on the French Riviera from October 3-6.
Over the past couple of years, the venue has thrown everything at the teams, from light and fickle breeze playing across the Bay of Angels to prevailing mistral winds, which saw gusts of over 30 knots last year.
Aware of the tricky conditions, Rashdi said, ''We faced different wind conditions this year, from extremely light winds in Singapore to strong gusts in Porto, Portugal. We have learned a lot over the season and are ready for a strong show in Nice. The pressure to maintain the lead is there and although we know it will be difficult, our aim is to extend our lead at the top.''
The Wave, Muscat will have to watch out for Swiss team Alinghi, its main rival and currently trailing the Oman Sail team by a slender one-point margin. Following the Act 6 triumph in Cardiff, Wales, in August, The Wave, Muscat has 46 points. Red Bull Sailing Team is on third with 37.
The Wave, Muscat's skipper Leigh McMillan and his crew will have to dig deep once again in their bid to defend the title.
McMillan said the Nice trip is important as the season draws towards a close. ''Nice is absolutely crucial going into [the final Act in] Brazil,'' he said.
''We need to stay within a point of Alinghi and in the worst-case scenario, it will come down to who beats who in Brazil. Generally speaking, when the pressure is on, we rise to the challenge,'' the skipper said.
The 2013 season will conclude in the Brazilian city of Florianopolis, when it hosts the final Act from November 14-17.
McMillan's crew comprises Ed Smyth of New Zealand, Pete Greenhalgh of Great Britain and Oman's Musab al Hadi and Rashdi