Muscat: The Wave, Muscat, skippered by British sailor Leigh McMillan and with two Omani sailors onboard, is preparing to defend its overall podium position during Act 6 of the Extreme Sailing Series 2013.
Eight teams are currently confirmed to return to Cardiff for the British leg of the global series taking place over the UK Bank Holiday weekend, August 23-26.
This will be the second time the event is being hosted by the Welsh city, seen as one of the highlights of the race calendar, with true stadium style racing right in the heart of the city on Cardiff Harbour.
After a nail biting victory in Portugal during Act 5, The Wave, Muscat is tied on overall points with Alinghi for the 2013 series title.
Last year's event in Cardiff witnessed a tense battle between the skipper of The Wave, Muscat, Leigh McMillan, and his then teammate and earlier the skipper of Oman Air, Morgan Larson.
Both the skippers and crews pushed themselves and the boats to the limit as they fought for every point, but patience paid off as The Wave, Muscat claimed victory in the final race of the final day in 2012.
The two rivals line up against each other again in Cardiff, this time with Larson sailing onboard Oman's closest competition Alinghi.
With both teams heading into the Cardiff event with equal points, an overall victory for The Wave, Muscat is vital in order to stay on track to defend their series title.
Speaking ahead of the event, skipper of The Wave, Muscat, Leigh McMillan, said: "Cardiff was a hard event last year as the race was very tight and the conditions were pretty gusty.
While the course is fantastic for the spectators, it creates a very challenging environment for us on the water, but that's part of the fun in these events. We know Alinghi will be looking to make up for having emerged second in Porto at the last event. In order to stay ahead on the leaderboard, we will have to bring our A-Game to this event and stay cool under pressure. As the leading team, we recognise that we might be a bit of a target, and it's going to be important to stay focused, sail our own event and stay out of trouble on the race course."
The race-course in Cardiff is incredibly challenging, a short course located in the heart of Cardiff Harbour, allowing little room for error, small passing opportunities and no runway for mistakes at the turning marks.
As ever, consistency will be the key factor, along with strategic starts, impeccable boat handling and keeping cool under pressure. Gusty conditions in 2012 made boat handling difficult, with many collisions and knock ups between the boats, the eight teams will be hoping for more settled conditions in 2013. Racing starts from Friday until Monday.
Hashim Al Rashdi, the bowman onboard, is looking forward to returning to Cardiff: "It is great to be back in Cardiff – it is a tricky venue and we have some work to do to keep our position at the top of the leaderboard. Alinghi is a very strong competitor, but we are hopeful that we can do what it takes to come out at the top for The Wave, Muscat and Oman."