(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The winds eased drastically in Nice, France on Saturday, but the Oman Sail team's focus on the top prize remained sharper than ever as The Wave, Muscat extended its lead in Act 7 of the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) with one more day of racing to go.
In contrast to the conditions on the previous two days, the fleet was met with significantly lighter breeze of around six knots, allowing for a full schedule of racing.
Leigh McMillan and his crew, who performed well in the strong Nice breeze, expertly adjusted to the change after the first few races.
The Wave, Muscat started day three with an 18-point lead over Swiss rival Alinghi, which has been jostling all season with the Oman Sail team in the title bid.
After somewhat dominating in the early races, Alinghi's challenge fell away and The Wave, Muscat took complete charge, bagging five podium places in the last six races, including two outright wins, to add to the seven already in its kitty for the Act.
The Wave, Muscat has now stretched its lead over secondplaced Alinghi to 28 points. McMillan's boys have 189 points, followed by Alinghi (161) and Red Bull Sailing Team (155).
McMillan said, ''It was tricky for them (Alinghi), but we have all been in that situation. With a light-wind forecast for tomorrow as well, it could just as well be us struggling rather than them. We just have to keep working away at it.''
The Wave, Muscat's skipper added, ''It's great to have an event where we kept pushing, yet we haven't had any disasters. Hopefully, the one bad day we usually have at an Act won't happen on the last day. We are happy [with our current position], but we can't afford to take our eyes off the ball.''
McMillan praised the teamwork and commitment exhibited by the team's Omani sailors, Hashim al Rashdi and Musab al Hadi.
''Hashim and Musab are sailing well together. All year, they have been improving. They are an integral part of the team and we couldn't have done it without them,'' said McMillan.
Hadi said, ''It was difficult for us to change gear in the changing conditions, but we worked pretty hard at it and we never lost our focus. We got there after a few races.''
Standings [after day three]: 1 The Wave, Muscat (189 pts), 2 Alinghi (161), 3 Red Bull Sailing Team (155), 4 Realteam (149), 5 China Spirit (128), 6 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (127), 7 ALL4ONE (121), 8 GAC Pindar (9