America’s Cup: Leigh McMillan ‘pumped up’ for Land Rover BAR charge

Leigh McMillan
Leigh McMillan
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Leigh McMillan signed up to boost Land Rover BAR’s America’s Cup challenge and declared: I’m pumped up for this.

The Portsmouth-based British team moved this week to bring in the helmsman, who has been one of the world’s best multihull sailors for the last decade.

While he will not be racing at the next World Series event, which begins in Bermuda on Friday, he is raring to go.

And McMillan admitted the introduction of multihulls to the America’s Cup in 2010 sparked his ambition.

He said: ‘This is where the buzz for me kicked in for the America’s Cup.

‘Seeing those machines, it was inspiring and that was where all my focus went.

‘I was in the perfect position and I wanted to be a part of the Cup.

‘I’m just looking forward to the next two years, that’s all I’m focused on right now.

‘I’m fully pumped up for this and I want to give it everything I can to make a difference to the team.’

McMillan is the only skipper to have won two Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) titles and has already taken this season’s Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour in foiling multihulls. He learned his trade in the Olympic Tornado class, representing Team GB at the Games in 2004 and 2008.

McMillan’s reputation has really been built in the white heat of the stadium racing format of the ESS, though.

He began skippering The Wave, Muscat in 2011 and quickly became the first skipper to win two titles.

He is currently leading this year’s series, too, having won five of the seven events held so far.

McMillan and his team look well on the way to completing their goal of being the first to win a hat-trick of titles.

His dominance in this environment made him the perfect sparring partner for Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper and team principal of Land Rover BAR.

McMillan added: ‘I want to push Ben as hard as I can, give the best possible input and feedback to the team and the designers.

‘I’ve known Ben for a long time and, having watched his success, I want to be a part of that over the next two years and help bring the Cup home.’

Land Rover BAR are second in the overall standings – seven points behind 2013 runners-up Emirates Team New Zealand – ahead of the third World Series event in Bermuda on Friday.