The Wave, Muscat swept to fifth victory of 2013 after the resounding win at Extreme Sailing Series in Nice
The momentum that saw The Wave, Muscat win the first race of the Extreme Sailing Series Nice, presented by Land Rover, continued right through to the end to give the Oman Sail crew their most resounding overall victory of the 2013 season so far.
With one more leg remaining, the Oman team skippered by Leigh McMillan has extended its overall lead in the championship but when racing gets underway in Florianopolis in Brazil in November, the two point buffer over Alinghi will count for little and the nail-biting race for the 2013 title effectively starts afresh.
But in Nice, The Wave Muscat was in a dominant form right from the outset on Thursday, and put in an impressive string of performances which, in 18 of the 28 races, saw them finish in the top three and collecting nine outright wins along the way.
They finished the event with a massive 20-point lead over Alinghi, the largest win margin in any of their five victories this year, largely as a result of eliminating the 'one bad day' from their event.
"We had two objectives," said McMillan whose hotshot crew features a talented mix of European and Omani sailors including Hashim Al Rashdi and Musab Al Hadi.
"First and foremost, we wanted to secure the win but we also wanted to try and keep Alinghi off the podium to give ourselves a bit of a margin, so we had some fun and games with them,
"We were unable to pin them back and they did a great job and finished second but it was great for us to have sailed so well as a team — that was the best we have sailed all year. We have good consistency across all wind ranges but having the extra breeze in Nice allowed us to get out of the blocks really well and that served us well. It took the pressure off us.
"With the points so tight, we have worked out that to beat Alinghi overall. We can lose to them in Brazil but can't have anyone between us, provided we can stay in touch with them and carry on performing, we can definitely win."
Shortly after receiving their winners garlands at the prize-giving ceremony, Oman's Hashim Al Rashdi shed a little more light on how it felt to have pulled such an emphatic win and what they would be doing to prepare for the last round in Brazil.
"This has been a really great event for us," he said.
"We are all feeling very happy because it is probably our best event of the year so far. We led the event from the first race and had won it with the last two races still to go, which, I think, shows just how strong we were.
"We are looking forward to the last event in Brazil — last year we won the series in Rio de Janeiro, so Brazil holds some happy memories for us. Hopefully we can win again and take the Cup back to Oman."
1. The Wave Muscat (237 points)
2. Alinghi (217 points)
3. Red Bull (216 points)
4. RealTeam (213 points)
5. ChinaSpirit (183 points)
6. SAP Extreme (175 points)
7. All4One (170 points)
8. GAC Pindar (130 points)