(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Defending champion The Wave Muscat aims to close the gap at the top of the Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) leaderboard as skipper Leigh McMillan and his crew head to the fifth Act which will be held in Cardiff United Kingdom from August 22-25.
Lying second in the 2014 rankings just three points behind leaders Alinghi McMillan has identified Cardiff as a key event in The Wave Muscat's defence of the ESS title which they won last year and in 2012.
Swiss side Alinghi is on top with 38 points while The Wave Muscat has 35 and Emirates Team New Zealand is third with 32. Oman Sail's other team in fray Oman Air is a distant tenth with 11 points but will hope to enhance its fortunes after making a change in its crew for the fifth Act.
'This is a very important part of the season' said McMillan who has previously shown good form in Cardiff taking first and second in 2013 and 2012 respectively.
'It is half way through the series and there are three events in quick succession starting with Cardiff so there will be quite a lot of pressure on us but I am excited about the challenge that faces us."
'So far this season we have weathered a few situations and made sure we are still in contention. It is very close between us and Alinghi with just three points difference which is nothing especially when there is a double pointer right at the end. 'The target is to try and get a point or two back on Alinghi over the next two events so we can go into the last one in a situation where if we beat them we can still win.
'We also need to make sure the teams behind us don't get a big jump on us so it is time to stamp our mark on the series and hopefully we can do that.'
McMillan will race with his regular crew in Cardiff of Oman's Nasser al Mashari Pete Greenhalgh Kinley Fowler and Sarah Ayton. The Wave Muscat is one of just two teams in a field of 11 to stay with tried and tested crew at Cardiff.
Rob Greenhalgh skipper of Oman Air has welcomed talented Australian Ted Hackney to his crew replacing Tom Johnson as headsail trimmer.
'Ted is a very good sailor who came through Australia's Youth Sailing Academy' said Greenhalgh who has two Omani sailors- Musab al Hadi and Hashim al Rashdi - as the team's bowmen."