(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Defending champion The Wave, Muscat snatched a runner-up finish from Emirates Team New Zealand in a thrilling contest on the final day of the Act 4 of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series in St Petersburg, Russia on Sunday.
Swiss team Alinghi clinched a final-race victory to extend its advantage at the top of the overall 2014 leaderboard with 38 points over Oman Sail's The Wave, Muscat (35).
After four days and 22 races, it came down to a final-race shootout on Sunday, with five teams gunning for the podium.
The game of Russian roulette between The Wave, Muscat and Alinghi continued until the final double-pointer, but the Oman Sail team needed to beat the Swiss side with a gap seven boats in between to go on top.
It proved too tall an order for Leigh McMillan and Co as Alinghi comfortably won their third Act. McMillan and his crew managed a fifth-place finish in the final race to edge out eventual No 3 Emirates Team New Zealand. McMillan paid tribute to his crew of Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler and Nasser al Mashari, following Sunday's action.
''It was difficult out there today with a drop in winds as well as big gusts. A lot of emphasis had to be given on the starts. But our team has been exceptional, pushing all the way. Even when we were right up against it, the atmosphere on the boat was really good. I couldn't ask for more,'' said McMillan.
''Getting a second place here in St Petersburg is a good result and as the year goes on, the venues will swing things in our favour. So staying in touch with Alinghi, who are very strong in these conditions, means we are staying in touch overall, which is good,'' he added.
Meanwhile, Oman Sail's other entry - Oman Air - was pipped by home entry Gazprom Team Russia for the seventh place by just a point. Rob Greenhalgh, skipper of Oman Air, said, ''It was a pretty disappointing day because it was all about the starts and we were struggling to get the starts right.''
Meanwhile, for the second consecutive month, an Oman Sail sailor won the 'Above and Beyond' award, for inspiring the next generation through her ongoing engagement with young aspiring sailors at every Act this year.
Sarah Ayton, two-time Olympic gold medal winner and tactician on The Wave, Muscat, was awarded the prize.Standings (Act 4):
1 Alinghi (160 pts), 2 The Wave, Muscat (148), 3 Emirates Team New Zealand (146), 4 J P Morgan BAR (120), 5 Real Team (117), 6 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (113), 7 Gazprom Team Russia (97), 8 Oman Air (96), 9 Red Bull Sailing Team (95), 10 GAC Pindar (88), 11 Groupama Sailing Team (88), 12 Russian First (40).
1 Alinghi (38 pts), 2 The Wave, Muscat (35), 3 Emirates Team New Zealand (32), 4 Real Team (28), 5 Gazprom Team Russia (19), 6 J P Morgan BAR (17), 7 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (13), 8 Red Bull Sailing Team (13), 9 Groupama Sailing Team (13), 10 Oman Air (11), 11 GAC Pindar (4