On board Vega Racing with British Olympian Nick Thompson on the second day of racing in the Madeira Islands. (Photo © Lloyd Images )

On board Vega Racing with British Olympian Nick Thompson on the second day of racing in the Madeira Islands. (Photo © Lloyd Images )

Extreme Sailing Series™ heavyweights Alinghi launched an assault on Act 6 leaders Red Bull Sailing Team on the waters of Madeira today as the regatta reached its halfway mark.

Arnaud Psarofaghis’ Swiss crew on Alinghi exchanged blows with Roman Hagara’s Austrian-flaggedRed Bull Sailing Team as both outfits made their bids to top the Act 6 table going into the penultimate day.

Light, shifty winds provided challenging conditions for the seven international teams as racing resumed in Funchal, the capital of Portugal’s stunning Madeira Islands, in front of the watching crowds.

With the breeze never getting above five knots the sailors were forced to rely on tactics more than ever, and it was Psarofaghis’ team that won the day, finishing on the podium in each of the four races to clock up more points than any other team. Meanwhile Red Bull Sailing Team, keen to capitalise on their win in the opening day’s only race, added another two victories to their tally. Crucially, however, they finished in fifth in the remaining two races.

The results leave the expert teams tied on 52 points, with Oman Air four points further back in third, tied with SAP Extreme Sailing Team. However with two more days of jam-packed racing still to go, and an increase in wind forecast, the Act is far from being tied up.

“After two days of racing we’re feeling really good because we haven’t lost too many points to anyone,” Alinghi helmsman Psarofaghis said. “We’re tied on points at the top of the leaderboard so we couldn’t ask for much better, especially as the conditions were so tricky today. But there are many teams that can win here and the racecourse is really challenging, so it’s going to be all on right until the end.”

Overall Series leaders Oman Air shot out of the blocks, winning the opening race in trademark fashion, but Morgan Larson’s men then suffered a string of penalties after being caught on the wrong side of the start line twice in succession. The Omani team had to settle for sixth place in the second race of the day, but a fantastic display of skill, jumping from last to second in the next race, salvaged their third-place position on the Act 6 leaderboard.

“It was obviously challenging out there today and I gave the team some work to do with a couple of bad starts from me,” Larson admitted. “I jumped the line a bit on a couple of occasions. It didn’t feel like we were being too aggressive but I guess we were just a little ahead of ourselves and that’s all it takes.

“Thankfully the second time it happened we managed to pull it back to get second place. In light airs sometimes it just works out that way. But it’s not ideal and we’ll definitely have to tighten up for tomorrow.”

Home team Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira delighted the watching crowds when they scored their best result of the Act so far with a second in the final race of the day. They go into the penultimate day with a three point buffer over Land Rover BAR Academy, who also scooped a podium spot, with wildcard team Vega Racing a further two points behind.

Land Rover BAR Academy’s Neil Hunter, who at 21 is the youngest skipper in the fleet, said his young crew are looking forward to more wind when racing gets underway once more tomorrow.

“It was a mixed day for us – it was light, super shifty and very frustrating,” Hunter said. “We banged in a couple of good results including a second and a fourth so there was potential there for sure, but we never really finished the job off properly. The talk is of more breeze tomorrow and we like those conditions so let’s see what happens.”

The third day of Act 6 commences at 1400 local time (1300 GMT) tomorrow. Fans around the globe can watch the racing live online on the official event website from 1530 to 1700 local time.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6, Madeira Islands standings after Day 2, 5 races (23.09.16)
Position / Team / Points
1st Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Brad Farrand 52 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 52 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 48 points.
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi De Felice, Renato Conde 48 points.
5th Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira (POR) Diogo Cayolla, Frederico Melo, Nuno Barreto, Luís Brito, João Matos Rosa 41 points.
6th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Neil Hunter, Elliot Hanson, Will Alloway, Sam Batten, Rob Bunce 38 points.
7th Vega Racing (USA) Brad Funk, Tom Buggy, Nick Thompson, Zé Costa, Mac Agnese 36 points.

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.
(Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

 The 2014 Route Du Rhum finish. Guadeloupe. Pictures of Sidney Gavignet onboard his MOD70 Trimaran Musandam - Oman . Finishing the Route du Rhum in 5th place this morning Credit: Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images

The 2014 Route Du Rhum finish. Guadeloupe. Pictures of Sidney Gavignet onboard his MOD70 Trimaran Musandam – Oman . Finishing the Route du Rhum in 5th place this morning ( Photo © Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sidney Gavignet, French skipper of the Sultanate of Oman’s flagship, Musandam-Oman Sail, crossed the finish line of the Route du Rhum in Guadeloupe at 9:15:24 CET this morning completing the epic adventure in 8 days 19 hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds. After 4,446 nautical miles at an average speed of 21.5 knots he was delighted to reach dry land.

“Mission accomplished!” he said as he came ashore to speak to the media who welcomed him in at 03:30 local time. “The boat was superbly prepared by the shore team and is in as good shape as when I left St Malo 8 days ago, a testimony to their great work.

The 2014 Route Du Rhum finish. Guadeloupe. Pictures of Sidney Gavignet onboard his MOD70 Trimaran Musandam - Oman . Sidney speaks with reporters after the finish  ( Photo © Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images)

The 2014 Route Du Rhum finish. Guadeloupe. Pictures of Sidney Gavignet onboard his MOD70 Trimaran Musandam – Oman . Sidney speaks with reporters after the finish ( Photo © Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images)

“My primary objective was to get to Guadeloupe in one piece and here I am. I made a few small errors during the last few hours of the race, but I managed to finish on the same night as Prince de Bretagne, a boat that is 10 feet bigger than Musandam-Oman Sail, and as Gitana, a heavily modified MOD70. I am immensely proud to have flown the flag of the Sultanate of Oman all the way across the Atlantic and into Guadeloupe. This place is very special to me as I met my wife here 23 years ago while I was training for the Whitbread.”

He was given a hero’s welcome in Pointe-a-Pitre by his Oman Sail teammates who have lived every moment of the race, highs and lows, alongside the skipper. Support for the 45-year-old Frenchman across three different time zones was immense with cheers going up in France and Muscat when he crossed the finish line.

Sidney Gavignet and shore crew member Suliman Al Wahaibi happily celebrate Musandam's arrival in Guadaloupe (Photo © Mark Lloyd/Lloyd  Images)

Sidney Gavignet and shore crew member Suliman Al Wahaibi happily celebrate Musandam’s arrival in Guadaloupe (Photo © Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images)

CEO David Graham, who waved Sidney off in St Malo was the first to applaud such a triumph: “Huge congratulations to Sidney for this incredible achievement. It has been a voyage of discovery for the whole Oman Sail team that has lived this epic experience alongside him, every nautical mile of the way. It has proved very inspiring for our Omani sailors, especially our offshore team who have been sending Sidney messages of support throughout the race, as well as our younger sailors that aspire to greatness on the water in years to come.

“This event has been a great success for us both on the sporting front and in terms of promoting Oman as a high-end tourism destination – we are very proud of Sidney’s achievement and the impact it had with our sailors in terms of inspiration. It may have been a single-handed race, but the reality is there were hundreds of people on the MOD70 with Sidney!”

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Sidney Gavignet and Oman Sail – Musandam arrive in Guadaloupe under a full moon sky (Photo © Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images)

After a nail-biting first 48 hours of the race that saw the French skipper and his 70ft trimaran battle 40knot gusts and huge seas across the Bay of Biscay and then around Cape Finisterre, with a broken jet burner and no hot food, and a hurt and swollen forearm, the Frenchman bounced back with cheerful and awe inspiring tales of full moon sailing at 30knots and nerve-wracking squalls rolling in one after the other.

He punched way above his weight as he wrestled with Prince de Bretagne, an 80ft trimaran 10 feet his senior, all the way across the Atlantic and led right up to hours before the finish when boat length finally prevailed and Lionel Lemonchois gave him the slip to finish ahead.

The Oman Sail Route du Rhum had two objectives, the first to raise awareness of the Sultanate of Oman as a high-end tourist destination, and with over 2 million visitors to the St Malo race village and the “Visit Oman” tourism pavilion, over the course of a week at the start, this box was firmly ticked. The second was to finish – Sidney himself had estimated a 50/50 chance of catastrophe – and as a result to share the experience with the Omani sailors that aspire to follow in Sidney’s footsteps. Mission accomplished.

“One of the highlights of my race was receiving an email from Fahad Al Hasni, one of our best MOD70 sailors – it made me so happy I picked up the sat phone to tell him about life onboard. I think he was very surprised to hear from me, but I could hear the grin in his voice – I know that this race is inspiring my Omani teammates and making them want to go further in their careers and getting his message was a happy moment for me.”

Sidney will take some well-earned rest now and have a long overdue hot meal before the MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail is prepared for the return trip to Europe with Fahad Al Hasni, Yassir Al Rahbi, Abdulrahman Al Mashari and Sami Al Shukaili, onboard.

Route du Rhum Ultime Class – provisional results

  1. Banque Populaire VII/Loick Peyron/103ft – 7 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes, 32 seconds
  2. Spindrift II/Yann Guichard/131ft – 8 days, 5 hours, 18 minutes, 46 seconds
  3. Edmond de Rothschild/Sebastien Josse/modified MOD70 – 8 days, 14 hours, 47 minutes, 9 seconds
  4. Prince de Bretagne/Lionel Lemonchois/80ft – 8 days 17 hours 44 minutes, 50 seconds
  5. Musandam-Oman Sail/Sidney Gavignet/70ft – 8 days 19 hours 15 minutes, 24 seconds
  6. Idec/Francis Joyon/97ft – still racing
  7. Paprec Recyclage/Yann Eliès/70ft – still racing
Sidney Gavignet and Oman Sail - Musandam finish the Route du Rhum in Guadaloupe (Photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images )

Sidney Gavignet and Oman Sail – Musandam finish the Route du Rhum in Guadaloupe (Photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images )

 

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

The weather forecast for the first few days of La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe seems to suggest that the 3,542 miles from Saint-Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre will be quick. But first up there will be an active frontal system to cross before Ushant.

Sunday afternoon’s start will see the SSW’ly breeze at around 15-18kts with some squally bursts perhaps. But the first three days of racing will be quite tough for the 91 solo skippers competing on this legendary Transatlantic. And with such a promising forecast it seems there might be every chance the outright race record of 7 days 17 hours 19mins 6 secs of Lionel Lemonchois, set in 2006 on Gitana XI, might fall.

It had to happen some time. The blocking high pressure system which has provided summer-like weather for most of the times in Saint-Malo will give way to more usual Autumnal conditions, an Atlantic low pressure arriving on cue for Sunday’s start. The weather will worsen progressively along the Brittany coast and there will likely be rain just after the 1400hrs local time start gun.

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

The 91 solo skippers gathered for their final meteo briefing this morning as Meteo Consult provided them with their final weather analysis. Sunday afternoon will see SSW’ly winds of around 15-18 kts but with some much bigger gusts. The breeze will veer more west behind the front, easing slightly initially but it will always be gusty. The air temperature will be around 13-16 deg C. The Ultime leaders might well have passed Cap Fréhel ahead of the front but for most this will mean headwinds.

The soloists will have a long port tack to get out of the Channel. But around midnight a second, more active front will bring a big increase in wind strength from the SW, gusting to 40-45kts with a chaotic sea. And this will be one of the key phases of this Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. Approaching and around the tip of Brittany there are a powerful combination of big untidy waves, busy maritime traffic and gusty winds, so the real strategy here will be trying not to break anything whilst still keeping the pace on.

By daytime Monday the biggest Ultimes should be into the brisk NW’ly which will make for a fast descent to Madeira which they should reach by Tuesday night. But meantime for the first part of Monday the IMOCA and Multi 50s will have a pretty tough time trying to find the right tempo across the first part of Biscay in an unruly, nasty sea making a messy, stressful passage to Cape Finisterre for Tuesday morning.

Overall it is quite a promising forecast. Class 40 and the Rhum fleet will need to take it more carefully but there really is only one general route south and the fleets should enjoy more of a speed rather than strategy race.

In the Class 40 fleet Briton Conrad Humphreys says he has never been better prepared or felt as good before a race start but the pressure will be on from the start. There is a critical stage early on where the skippers must time their approach through Sunday night’s front to make sure they can get comfortably inside the Ushant traffic separation zone, or not. There is a tactical danger in being squeezed out to the west by the zone when the main opposition is inside, able to cut the corner and get south across Biscay earlier.

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

“The critical thing will be how far west you get and whether you are positioned inside or outside the separation zone at Ushant. If you are caught half way you can’t cross the separation zone. And so the timing of that shift is important. After that the Bay of Biscay is going to be quite lively. I think the sea state will be one of the worst things, 4-5m swell with waves on top and then a lot of rain. The further south we get the High will have an effect and it will start to calm down a bit, but I think for most of the first 24-36 hours it will be quite wild. It is so critical to be with the pack and to get through that first shift with them. If you don’t they can be going quite fast and the ones who don’t will be still on the wind, have less runway to get around Ushant and so on. I have to say you will have to sail quite aggressively.”

In boisterous sea and wind conditions, with rain showers passing through, the start itself holds the possibility is problems. Indeed that is the phase that concerns Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) most immediately. The France-based English soloist said after the weather briefing:

“It’s November. You are going to take a kicking some time and this first bit looks tough, but it is the start with all the traffic and stress around that worries me most. I just want to get away cleanly and safely.”

They said:
Ari Huusela (FINLAND) – Rhum Class, Neste Oil:
“It is a victory to be here. In total we have had almost 20 people involved in the project at home in Finland. It is my passion to sail alone, that is why I want to do this race. This is the pinnacle. I have had this boat two years after it took me seven years to realise my dream. I think the boat is good, I am going to enjoy it as much as possible.”

Yann Guichard (Ultime) – SPINDRIFT 2:
“Everyone knows that the start phase is always critical. I know that if I have to do an emergency change of tack, it can’t be done in two minutes. The first twelve hours are going to be complicated. It looks like we’re going to have to do two changes of tack. This isn’t where the race is going to be won, but it is where it can be lost.”

Loïck Peyron (Ultime) – MAXI SOLO BANQUE POPULAIRE VII:
“The start is never easy for anyone. And here it’s going to be violent. There is going to be wind and lots of rain: typical sailor’s weather. This will make things a bit more dramatic, as we’re straight into the rough stuff.”

To follow the race on click La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe

 

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

  • The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat.  Credit - Lloyd Images

    The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

– Four teams – The, Wave, Muscat, Emirates Team New Zealand, Alinghi and SAP Extreme Sailing Team – in the running heading into the final race, with no room for error and just four points between them – and 20 points on the table for the taking.
– Emirates Team New Zealand snatch second from the grasp of Alinghi with just one point in it after 29 races this week.
– SAP Extreme Sailing Team narrowly denied the podium but rise up the overall Series rankings with an impressive fourth place.
– Replay today’s Stadium Racing, here.

The final day saw plenty of hard fought, close battles on the water for the 11 boat fleet. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd Images

The final day saw plenty of hard fought, close battles on the water for the 11 boat fleet. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

It was a sweltering hot day in Muscat, Oman, for the final showdown at the Extreme Sailing Series™, where the Arabian peninsula saved the best for last, with winds that blasted across the course at a steady 20 knots, with gusts of 26, before a final race shoot out. Four teams were gunning for the top spot and there was no room for error, with just four points between them – and 20 points on the table for the taking. The defending champions and home team on The Wave, Muscat made a real statement of intent from the gun, with an aggressive start that saw them lead the fleet of the line, and Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler and Nasser Al Mashari didn’t look back, snatching the win from the hands of the Kiwi, Swiss and Danish teams, to claim not only the Act win, but putting them top of the overall Series leaderboard after two Acts. “It was too close for comfort, that’s for sure,“ commented an elated McMillan after racing. “Today we had a fight on our hands, we knew we had to be exceptional and raise our game. I was just enjoying the sailing, the challenge of it, the situations that were tight and it all worked out for us. The wind came in and it was absolutely amazing sailing out there, absolutely perfect for the Extreme 40s.”

Gazprom Team Russia -The Russian boat meant business today, pushing their Extreme 40 hard and upgrading their position on the leaderboard. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd Images

Gazprom Team Russia -The Russian boat meant business today, pushing their Extreme 40 hard and upgrading their position on the leaderboard. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

Today’s racing was all about brute power and strength, requiring a huge shift in mindset for the teams, who have raced in light breeze all week. The fleet of 11 Extreme 40s and their 55 elite level crew members powered off the start line, blasting to the windward mark and wrestling their boats around the course, before unfurling their gennakers and flying downwind, trying to maximize power and speed. One team who had the formula nailed were Emirates Team New Zealand, with two race wins and a third place in the final race enough for them to claim second overall, bettering their fourth place finish from Act 1, Singapore, which for skipper Dean Barker, was the objective this week. “We wanted to improve after Singapore, we wanted to sail well and get on the podium here, and we’ve achieved it. There’s still a lot we can improve on but in saying that everyone struggles with the conditions and the guys remained very positive throughout even when things didn’t feel like they were going our way. We had a good chance to get onto the podium, and to get a second place we’re really happy.”

Overnight leaders Alinghi came out of the blocks with a win in the first race of the day, but couldn’t replicate the performance, and a fourth place in the last race left the Swiss settling for third, one point behind the Kiwis. “We should be pleased with the result in such a tough field but we were quite disappointed with how we sailed today. We need to do a better job staying out of the fray and we didn’t achieve that today and The Wave, Muscat did and you’ve got to hand it to them, they earned the win. It’s a long season ahead and if we can keep on the podium this year we’ll have a shot at the title at the end of the year, this will be our objective,” commented the team’s helmsman Morgan Larson.

SAP Extreme Sailing Team SAP Extreme Sailing Team grunt up as they muscle their Extreme 40 around the track. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd Images

SAP Extreme Sailing Team
SAP Extreme Sailing Team grunt up as they muscle their Extreme 40 around the track. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

The Danish match racing experts on SAP Extreme Sailing Team came heartbreakingly close to a podium position, leading the pack for most of the day, but found themselves stuck in the tussle mid-fleet in the final race, and unable to make a clean break, with a sixth place in the final race putting them in fourth position overall. The team however, have showed a marked improvement from Act 1 in Singapore, where they finished tenth, and co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen was quick to talk about the learnings from the Act: “Of course we’re a little bit disappointed not to be on the podium, we sailed a great regatta which literally came right down to the last race. In the hindsight I think we sailed well, which is what we will take away from this. It was a difficult day today with good breeze but it was a bit up and down for us. We were a little unlucky at times but overall we sailed pretty well. I think we have a great team, a good boat and the pace to match the best teams in the Extreme Sailing Series.”

The Russian skipper on Gazprom Team Russia Igor Lisovenko seemed to have a point to prove today, and the team, helmed by two-times Series winner Paul Campbell-James, were moving through the gears, and up the leaderboard, with a string of consistent results elevating them to fifth place overall – topping their eighth place from Act 1, Singapore. Campbell-James commented: “We got another bullet today, and we almost won the last one but Leigh (McMillan) just managed to sneak around us on the second leg. Today was the best day of racing this year with a good bit of breeze, it got really exciting there in the middle where the leaderboard was constantly changing and it was just really fun.”

Realteam finish the event in sixth place, five points behind the Russians, leaving them a solid fourth place on the overall Series leaderboard, with Red Bull Sailing Team in seventh on 145 points, one point ahead of Groupama sailing team. Heading into the final day, J.P. Morgan BAR were within touching distance of the podium but the Brits struggled under the building breeze, before a hydraulics failure in the penultimate race forced them to retire for the day, dashing their podium dreams. Oman Air and GAC Pindar struggled for consistency in the testing Omani conditions, but both showed moments of brilliance, posting a handful of results in the top half of the fleet over the course of the four-day event.

Muscat has delivered some incredibly hard fought racing over 29 races, and the fleet with have just under six weeks to regroup, debrief and prepare themselves for Act 3 of the 2014 global tour in Qingdao, China, presented by Land Rover, one of the most notoriously tricky racecourses on the circuit, 1-4 May.

Red Bull Sailing Team<br />Red Bull Sailing Team pushed their Extreme 40 to the limits, battling the elements on the final days racing (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Red Bull Sailing Team
Red Bull Sailing Team pushed their Extreme 40 to the limits, battling the elements on the final days racing (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 2, Muscat standings after Day 4, 29 races (22.03.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 188 points.
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 180 points.
3rd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 179 points.
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 176 points.
5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 158 points.
6th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 153 points.
7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 145 points.
8th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 144 points.
9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 137 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 123 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour 94 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 19 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) 18 points.
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 16 points.
4th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 13 points.
5th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 9 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 9 points.
7th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 9 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 8 points.
9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 6 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) 3 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 2 points.

The Wave, Muscat<br />The Wave, Muscat celebrate their victory on their home waters (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The Wave, Muscat
The Wave, Muscat celebrate their victory on their home waters (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Realteam in Muscat, Act 1 Extreme Sailing Series 2013 - © Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

Realteam in Muscat, Act 1 Extreme Sailing Series 2013 – © Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

 

Tomorrow, the Swiss sailing squad onboard Realteam will line up against some of the best sailors in the world for Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series. After posting a third place overall in Singapore, the crew is ambitious but more aware than ever of the high level of competition that awaits them.

Muscat, Oman – 18 March 2014 Just a month after posting an impressive third place overall at Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore, the Realteam crew is going into Act 2 in Muscat, Oman (19-22 March) feeling confident and highly motivated.

Eight out of 12 teams won at least one race during the Singapore event, illustrating how high the level is as Jerome Clerc explains: “The standard of the other teams is going to increase compared to Singapore. With one round behind them, the big teams are going to show their strengths and we will need to remain consistent and progress with them in order to stay competitive,” he said. “We have a long way to go still and are constantly looking for ways to improve our performance!”

Repairs on the Realteam catamaran, powered by Realstone, following a collision with Oman Air in Singapore, are complete and the team is looking forward to racing a new venue in Muscat, Oman and a slightly different format. Racing off the Almouj Golf club will be “Open Water” instead of the usual “Stadium Racing” which translates as longer legs rather than the short course city centre competition conducted in Singapore. “The game will be much more open with this format with less restrictions,” said helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis. “The key to success for Realteam will be communication, we will be looking to continue in the same vein as in Singapore. If we avoid the errors that we made during Act 1 we can set our sights on the podium!”

The first event was action packed with excitement and come backs, there were several collisions on Marina Bay but they were all eclipsed by the spectacular crash between Groupama and Aberdeen. The overall results went to the wire with the double points final race being the decider.

Anything can happen in Oman!

To follow the racing live, go to www.extremesailingseries.com
Realteam Act 2 Extreme Sailing Series crew
Arnaud Psarofaghis – helmsman
Jerome Clerc – skipper/mainsail trimmer
Bryan Mettraux – headsail trimmer
Thierry Wasem – bowman
Nils Palmieri – fifth man
Shore team: Jeff Kerleguer and Sebastien Stephant
Coach: Etienne David
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 ranking after Act 1
Alinghi (SUI) – 217 points
The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – 193 points
Realteam by Realstone (SUI) – 178 points
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) – 168 points
Groupama sailing team (FRA) – 160 points
Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) – 156 points
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) – 152 points
Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) – 128 points
Oman Air (OMA) – 128 points
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) – 126 points
Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) – 82 points
GAC Pindar (AUS) – 59 points

Groupama Extreme 40 Photo by Lloyd Images

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Biggest gust of the day sees Team Aberdeen Singapore plough into the back of Groupama sailing team !
Alinghi dominates the racing in a way rarely seen on this event, but The Wave, Muscat win half the days races, chasing them hard in second.
Groupama expecting to be back on the racetrack tomorrow – update on Team Aberdeen Singapore to follow in the next two hours.

The penultimate days racing in Singapore delivered possibly one of the most dramatic moments in the eight-year history of Extreme Sailing Series™. In winds that were varying from 5 to 23 knots across the racecourse, Team Aberdeen Singapore caught one of the biggest gusts of the day as they came into the finish line struggling to hold off the pace and ploughing into the back of France’s Groupama sailing team. The Extreme 40 pitlane, built on part of Singapore’s F1 track, is busy tonight with Groupama fully expecting to be back on the racetrack with a new mast. However, the damage assessment is not yet complete on Team Aberdeen Singapore. A full update will be available within the next two hours.

Groupama sailing team skipper, Franck Cammas, explained what happened: “We had big gusts and as we were finishing a gybe we saw Aberdeen come really fast from behind and that’s the moment when they came over us breaking the mast. Besides the broken mast the damage is not too serious and it is mainly on the mast, the mainsail, the jib and a hole on the trampoline so I think we will be able to race tomorrow with another mast. Tanguy Cariou is the only crew member hurt but it’s only superficial injuries. He was in the middle of the trampoline where the boat fell, which was the worst spot. Three crew members jumped off the boat. It’s the risk of racing. What is tricky here is that the wind is quite strong and very gusty which is difficult to anticipate. It’s not easy.”

Groupama Extreme 40  and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Six races were sailed that saw Leigh McMillan’s team The Wave, Muscat up their game, winning 50% of the days races, and locking their sights on current event leaders, Alinghi.  “Everything is going so fast, as you can see from the shore with the few clashes out there, and it’s all about improving communication,” commented McMillan. “The dynamics on the boat every race, every day, is coming together very nicely. It’s a great performance and we’re happy that we’re putting in good results. We’re fighting for podium spot, which is exactly where we want to be. We want to keep doing the same thing, finding how to work as a team. Overall great performance from everyone today and we’ll keep going to get that spot.”

Alinghi will lead the fleet going into the final day, having sat in pole position since race nine, but despite a 31-point cushion at the top of the leaderboard, helm Morgan Larson is all to aware how quickly things can change on the Stadium Racecourse. “We’re never fully confident with sailors of this calibre! But we’re happy with the way we’re sailing right now. It was a magical day. We put ourselves in a few risky situations and nearly collided with Emirates Team New Zealand but the guys did an amazing job on our boat and let the sails out to try and keep behind, flying our hull right over. That is the kind of teamwork that has gotten us where we are and we hope that tomorrow we can keep sailing this way and stay out of trouble.”

Team Aberdeen Singapore are currently assessing the damage, and a full update as to whether they will be back on the racetrack tomorrow will be available at approximately 2200 local time in Singapore.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 1, Singapore standings after Day 3, 21 races (22.02.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 163 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 132 points.
3rd Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Thierry Wassem, Sebastien Stephant 130 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Haylee Outteridge 117 points.
5th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 117 points.
6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 104 points.
7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 103 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 95 points.
9th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 89 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 88 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, Alexandra South 49 points.
12th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Nick Moloney, Adam Beashel, Scott Glen Sydney, Tom Dawson, Justin Wong 47 points.

Groupama Extreme 40  and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Groupama Extreme 40 and Team Aberdeen Asset Management crash in Singapore , (Photo by Lloyd Images)

 

Leg 4, Race 6, Day 1 During the Sydney Hobart 2013

Leg 4, Race 6, Day 1 During the Sydney Hobart 2013 (Photo courtesy Clipper Round the World Race)

With just four miles separating the top five Clipper Race teams as they pass the halfway mark, tensions are reaching summer boiling point. The race leader and fleet positions change frequently and podium positions are anything but predictable as Race 6 continues its thrilling progress.
In a dramatic morning’s racing, GREAT Britain (44th overall in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race)moved up four fleet positions to take over the Race 6 lead momentarily from Henri Lloyd (42ndoverall) who has just now regained its front spot.
Derry~Londonderry~Doire (45th overall) has made terrific gains this morning and whilst writing this report has now moved into third (50th overall) with Old Pulteney (51st overall) who had led the fleet for the previous 36 hours, now fourth.
Providing his take on the race so far, Deputy Race Director Mark Light said: “The fleet has left the sunshine shores of South East Australia and passed Cape Green, entering the notorious Bass Strait. This stretch of water can be ferocious, like a raging animal baring its teeth. At the moment it is more akin to a small kitten asleep in the sunshine, but the latest weather forecasts are showing things are going to change.
“Coming up to the approximately the halfway mark in this iconic race is where things will start to get very tactical as the yachts race to get across Bass Strait as quickly as possible to avoid the worst of the conditions and begin to negotiate the tricky East Tasmanian Coast while at the same time trying not to wake the weather animal asleep in the corner.
“The fleet is incredibly compact still so the next 36 hours are going to make for some very nail biting watching. Race Tracker viewers following at home will be glued to their screens I am sure.”
Clipper Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who is racing aboard Clipper 68, CV10 is keeping up with the Clipper 70s which he helped to design, currently sitting in 55th place overall in approximately the middle of the Clipper Race fleet.All positions reported as at the time of writing and are changing frequently. Check the Clipper Race tracker for the latest positions. It is updating every 10 minutes during this race.
To read all the skipper reports, CLICK HERE

To follow the Clipper Race 6 tracker, CLICK HERE

To follow the Clipper Race yachts in the overall Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race standings, CLICK HERE.

ROFF Cascais Sailing Team training on their home waters.

– Act 5 Porto starts tomorrow – follow online on the official http://www.extremesailingseries.com/website and watch the live video stream from 1700-1800 BST (GMT + 1) / 1800-1900 CEST daily from the 26 – 28 July.

– Pierre Pennec returns to Extreme Sailing Series™ at the helm of the Swiss-flagged Realteam.
– Win Extreme Sailing Series™ kit from official clothing partners Marinepool! Click here for more info.
– Watch the preview video here.

With less then 24 hours before the start of Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Porto, the teams have spent today making final preparations to their Extreme 40s in the technical area at Douro Marina and putting in some last minute training time on the water before proceedings get underway tomorrow (Thursday 25th July). There is plenty of anticipation and excitement dockside with official Extreme Sailing Series weather partners WetterWelt predicting 8-12 knots of breeze with gusts up to 15 knots for the first two days racing.

How to follow the Extreme Sailing Series, Act 5, Porto ONLINE

Racing takes place over four days from the 25-28 July kicking off with a day of open water racing and the official skippers press conference before moving into stadium mode where the Douro River will provide the playground for the eight Extreme 40s from the 26-28 July.

The Extreme Sailing Series website homepage will go into race mode on day one and will serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for live video, results and news as well as an interactive live blog where fans can leave their comments.

From the 26 July, the ‘Stadium Racing’ will be streamed live to the website with expert commentary from sailing expert and Olympic commentator Richard Simmonds and analytics from technical partner SAP. This streaming is also available on all iOS devices (iPad, iPhone) from 1700-1800 BST (GMT + 1), 26-28 July.

Winner's of the Act in 2012, The Wave, Muscat out in training in Porto, Portugal

How to follow the Extreme Sailing Series, Act 5, Porto ONSITE

The free to enter public Race Village is located on Porto’s Douro Riverbank near the iconic Dom Luís I iron bridge designed by one of Eiffel’s partners, Téophile Seyrig, where the Extreme 40 fleet will race close to shore on the public days, providing the perfect viewing platform for ‘Stadium Racing’.

The public Race Village will provide a host of entertainment throughout the day including music, public bar and food stalls, a resident DJ, live commentary in English and Portuguese throughout the racing, a Range Rover Sport TDV6 HSE car display as well as a zone dedicated to children. The on-water entertainment will be complemented by the main warm up act, the NeilPryde Windsurf Racing Series.

 

The new addition Pierre Pennec tests the Portuguese waters in training onboard Realteam.

For the full event schedule visit the dedicated Porto page on the official website, here.

Pierre Pennec returns at the helm of the Swiss-flagged Realteam

Pierre Pennec, one of the most experienced Extreme 40 sailors having finished the Series in second and third in 2011 and 2012 respectively with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, is to join Realteam for Act 5, Porto as helmsman for this event.

Pennec, who is looking forward to taking up the challenge alongside the Swiss entry commented, “I have often come across the team onboard the Décision 35 and they seem very well structured, I am impressed with their level of performance and focus. I thought that with my Extreme 40 experience, I might be able to bring something to the team and things have progressed naturally from there. Jérome got in touch a while ago about coaching and sailing and I am delighted to be joining the team for Act 5 which is shaping up to be a tough competition!” Read more online here.

Win Marinepool Kit!
Extreme Sailing Series is  giving away some exclusive Extreme Sailing Series team kit from official clothing partners Marinepool – perfect for a day on or off the water! They have one summer bundle for men and one for women up for grabs.

 Click here for more details and to enter.

 

Extreme Sailing Series Rankings to date

OVERALL

(Results updated after each race)

RANK TEAM
1 Alinghi 27
2 The Wave Muscat 26
3 Red Bull Sailing Team 24
4 SAP Extreme Sailing Team 20
5 Team Korea 16
6 GAC Pindar 16
7 Realteam 14
8 Team X Invitational 13

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Alinghi are out to defend their Series lead on the Portuguese waters in Porto.