Racing on the last day in Baie des Anges started in a now familiar four-knot breeze which proved especially shifty but McMillan and his crew of Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler and Nasser Al Mashari brought their tactical skills to the fore with an outright victory in the opening race.
This form continued in the early races with a second place and another win which put smiles on the defending champion’s faces and by the end of the day, they had risen two places on the leaderboard to finish the event in 8th place.
This keeps them second overall in the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series, eight points behind leaders Alinghi with the final act in Sydney set to prove the ultimate series decider.
“It was an improvement on what we have had this week but not enough to get us back in the mix,” McMillan said.
“And we had a difficult last race so we didn’t climb up the rankings as much as we would have liked but the mood on the boat is very good and you always learn from these mistakes. After such a frustrating event we will be very keen to come out in Sydney and prove ourselves. We are still very determined to win.”
After one of their best days of the series on Saturday which lifted them to fourth place, Oman Air moved down to 10th at the close which while frustrating proved to be massively useful in building their knowledge base in their first season on the circuit.
“We had a good three days, but a hard day today with a couple of penalties – a bit of a shocker really,” said Hashim Al Rashdi, Oman Air’s bowman racing alongside Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford and Musab Al Hadi.
“We have improved every race and are getting it right on the start line. We are looking forward to Sydney now and will really be fighting for a top five position – we have a great team, really good communication and we hope to continue to improve.”
His willingness to step in at the last minute to replace a crewmember on rival team Emirates Team New Zealand earned Suleiman Amur Al Manji, a key member of Oman Sail’s Extreme 40 and MOD70 shore crew, the Land Rover Above and Beyond award.
It marked the fourth time an Oman Sail team member has won the trophy which is awarded to a team or individual who demonstrates the finest examples of skill, sportsmanship and strength of mind.
“I was a little bit nervous as it was the first time I had sailed on an Extreme 40 but I was happy and very excited to go and sail with Emirates Team New Zealand,” said Al Manji.
“Next year, I would love to race more – I’d love to do both sailing and boat building,” he said.
The final event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series will take place in Sydney from December 11-14.