(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman Sail's The Wave Muscat came up with an inspired performance on Sunday to take the lead going into the final day of Act 5 of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) in Cardiff Wales.
Skipper Leigh McMillan is well aware that an Act win will help the team close the gap on the overall series leader Alinghi. The Briton led his team to add 33 points to overhaul Alinghi and go into pole position with 172 points.
The Swiss team is placed second with 165 points while J P Morgan BAR (158) is in third. Oman Sail's other team in fray Oman Air remained in contention for a podium finish as it held on to its sixth place with 129 points after recording an outright race win on Sunday.
Defending series champion The Wave Muscat's climb to the top was all about tactics and finesse - with light breeze blowing across the bay - as five points were added to the tally.
Going into the final day McMillan said 'It's important for us to win tomorrow. We've been on the back foot with Alinghi this season so far and it will be good to get one back on them that's for sure. W e ' r e solid as a team everyone's working really hard together so we are looking forward to closing this one out.'
For Alinghi it was a difficult day as Morgan Larson and his crew were unable to touch the top half of the pack in the opening three races. But the team used the delay in racing to its advantage digging deep debriefing and regrouping to finish the day on a high with fourth and second-place results.
For the first three races the top of leaderboard changed with every finish. First McMillan overhauled Larson then Ben Ainslie's J P Morgan BAR took advantage of a penalty for Alinghi to temporarily overhaul the Swiss before Alinghi's late surge secured it second place.
The mid-leaderboard battle is also getting intense with SAP Extreme Sailing Team only three points behind Realteam Oman Air a further six points back and Red Bull Sailing Team three points behind it in seventh place.
With 20 points up for taking in Monday's final double-points race a podium finish is possible for any of those teams. Rob Greenhalgh and his Oman Air crew of Hashim al Rashdi Musab al Hadi Kyle Langford and Ted Hackney failed to maintain consistency despite achieving a race win.
Bowman Hadi said 'It wasn't as consistent as we would have liked. We had a first and a last and a few mid-fleet results but it was good when we were able to turn things around. Hopefully tomorrow we will get more breeze and we can achieve a good result.'
Standings [after Day 3]: 1 The Wave Muscat (172 pts) 2 Alinghi (165) 3 J P Morgan BAR (158) 4 Realteam (138) 5 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (135) 6 Oman Air (129) 7 Red Bull Sailing Team (126) 8 Emirates Team New Zealand (110) 9 GAC Pindar (106) 10 Gazprom Team Russia (105) 11 Groupama Sailing Team (99).