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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 29/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Boosted by the joining of America's Cup winner Kyle Langford, Oman Air, one of the two Oman Sail's entries in the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series (ESS), hopes to produce a strong showing in Act 3 of the Series that will take place in Qingdao, China from May 1-4.

Langford has been signed up by Oman Air for the rest of the season. The team's skipper, Rob Greenhalgh, said, ''The experience of Kyle is sure to help us in the competition, which is quite challenging this year. We wanted to ramp things up a little bit because in the two Acts so far, we have been close to doing well.

''We are a new team with very little training, so although we would like to be doing better than tenth overall [among 11 teams], we can't really expect to be storming up the rankings.''

Langford becomes the second member of the America's Cup winning team, Oracle Team USA, to join the Oman Sail squad after New Zealand's Kinley Fowler was unveiled as one of the new members of the other Oman Sail team and Series leader, The Wave, Muscat, at the start of the year.

Langford, 24, will be Oman Air's tactician and is hopeful that his America's Cup experience, where he was involved in one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history, will contribute to the team's performance.

''I haven't sailed with the guys yet, but I am looking forward to it. This team has the potential to be right up there,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Leigh McMillan, the skipper of The Wave, Muscat, is hoping to extend his team's overall lead. At present, the Oman Sail team is on top with 19 points and is closely followed by Alinghi (18) and Emirates Team New Zealand (16).

''Qingdao will be tough. It's a small course and we are not expecting a huge amount of wind, which will make things difficult. But we need another solid event because we just have a one-point lead over Alinghi, so there is a lot of pressure,'' said McMillan.

During the last visit to Qingdao, McMillan snatched victory in the final race and the skipper admitted that the thrill of pulling off a last-gasp win adds a bit more spice to the competition.

''We have had more than our fair share of dramatic finishes over the past two and a half seasons and managed often to come out with the result we were hoping for,'' he said.

Despite the stadium racing course at Fushan Bay being one of the most challenging ones on the circuit, McMillan believes he has a strong crew that can defend the Qingdao ti


Muscat Daily

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