• 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

YouthTeams

Revolution: Youth teams compete for a spot in the history books

Since Saturday 12 international youth teams have been battling it out
at the Red Bull Youth America´s Cup Selection Series Events off the
coast of San Francisco for starting spots at the main regatta taking
place as part of the 34th America’s Cup in September 2013. The teams
have until February 24 to convince sports directors and double Olympic
champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher (both AUT) of their
abilities on land and sea.

SAN FRANCISCO (California, USA) – The first days of the Red Bull Youth
America’s Cup Selection Series offered a glimpse of the massive
expectations placed on the youth teams that have gathered in San
Francisco for a shot at advancing to the September regatta. The teams
were put through their paces on shore by Sports Directors Roman Hagara
and Hans-Peter Steinacher, where the physical demands of sailing an
AC45 wing sail catamaran were made clear through an exhausting fitness
evaluation. “Everyone had to reach their own limits to survive the
tests on land,” said Benjamin Bildstein of Team Austria. “The strain
of sailing these boats is enormous. No team could have imagined in
advance the professionalism and the extent of the tests here. I hope
we perform well and can qualify for the main event”, said Erik Heil,
the 23-year-old helmsman for Germany’s STG/NRV team.

An award-winning line-up of sailors greeted the youth sailors
competing in the first selection series of the Red Bull Youth
America’s Cup. Russell Coutts (NZL), Jimmy Spithill (AUS), Ben Ainslie
(GBR), Roman Hagara (AUT), Hans Peter Steinacher (AUT), Iain Percy
(GBR) and Nathan Outteridge (AUS) – together have a collected resume
beyond excellence: five America’s Cup victories, 14 Olympic medals and
countless other titles. Coutts and Hagara said jointly: “This is some
of the best and most fun racing we have done in years. We are sure the
guys will enjoy it too.” Along with fitness testing, the teams were
instructed on how to sail an AC45 and how, hopefully, to avoid
capsizing.

“The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is the best chance for young sailors
to make history,” said Hans-Peter Steinacher, one of the Red Bull
Youth America´s Sport Directors. “We will select the best of the best.”

“My pathway to the America’s Cup was one of good luck. When I was a
youth sailor there wasn’t a clear pathway to the Cup. But the Red Bull
Youth America’s Cup gives these guys a great opportunity, and the
game’s opened up to much wider participation” said ORACLE TEAM USA
skipper Jimmy Spithill.

Ben Ainslie, the four-time Olympic gold medalist: “The Olympics used
to be the avenue to get into professional sailing and the America’s
Cup. But now the Cup is becoming more accessible for youth sailors,
and that’s great for the sport.”

Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing, China Team and Energy Team
have all indicated they are supporting teams for the Red Bull Youth
America’s Cup. Youth crews with the support of an America’s Cup World
Series team are eligible for direct entry to September’s event via the
Regatta Director.

Images free of charge for editorial use. Credit: Balazs Gardi for Red
Bull Content Pool

More Images, Video, Information: www.redbullcontentpool.com

The six national teams taking part in the first session of the Red
Bull Youth America’s Cup Selection Series are:

AUS – Objective Australia
AUT – Team Austria
DEN – Danish Youth Vikings
GER – STG-NRV Youth Team
NZL – Full Metal Jacket Racing
RSA – Team i’KaziKati

The first group is on site at the Selection Series in San Francisco
between February 9-15. Then, from February 18-24, a second group of
youth crews will go through the same process, including the following
teams:

ARG – Arg Youth Team
GBR – GBR Youth Challenge
ITA – Team Italy powered by Stig
POR – ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team
SUI – Team TILT
NZL – tbc

At the end of the second session, at least four teams will be selected
to proceed to the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup taking place from
September 1-4, right before the America’s Cup Finals in San Francisco.

About the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup

For the first time in the history of the America’s Cup, young,
talented sailors have a clear pathway towards competing for one of the
most prestigious trophies in sport.
Racing will take place in the same high performance, wing-sailed AC45
catamarans that are used in the America’s Cup World Series. The Red
Bull Youth America’s Cup is scheduled for September 1-4, 2013, in San
Francisco, during the 34th America’s Cup racing season.

Cardiff  © Nick Treharne

Cardiff © Nick Treharne

 

The UK round of the award-winning Extreme Sailing Series™ now in its sixth year will be staged in Cardiff the capital of Wales between the 24-27 August, 2012. In a three-year deal, Cardiff won the bid to host the UK event of this global sailing circuit that is only one of four events with ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Special Event status, positioning the city alongside the other seven premium international sporting venues hosting an Extreme Sailing Series Act in 2012. The host venue agreement with Cardiff City is backed by a Welsh Government grant for 2012-2014.

The Extreme 40 catamarans, raced by many of the world’s best sailors, will race on Cardiff Bay over four days with the event open to the public between the 25-27 August as the Extreme 40 fleet race in the circuit’s action packed ‘stadium’ format.

Executive chairman of the organising company behind the series, Mark Turner of OC ThirdPole, said: “The circuit continues to represent perfectly the developments in the world at large, with its balance of east and west, different cultures and languages and variety of conditions.

“Year on year the commercial value to the host cities of securing this event for the host venues has steadily increased, and this is reflected in 2012 developments. A pro-active and innovative host venue is critical to the success of the event, and we are very excited in this respect by the partnership with Cardiff and the Welsh Government.”

Cardiff Council’s Executive Member for Sport, Culture and Leisure Cllr, Nigel Howells commented: “It’s great news that Cardiff has secured the Extreme Sailing series for the next three years, as a council we will do all that we can to support the event.

“Cardiff has proved time and time again that it can play host to a variety of world class sporting events. From top class football and rugby to newer events like Extreme Sailing. Since the opening of Cardiff International White Water (CIWW) in 2010 more and more watersport events are coming to Cardiff, which is helping to attract a new audience to Cardiff and Wales.”

The 2012 Extreme Sailing Series will be staged at 8 different international venues across three continents, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. Alongside other significant media exposure, once again a dedicated TV series will be produced and broadcast on up to 40 channels around the world, including CNBC, Bloomberg, Channel 4 (UK), Sky (UK), Al Jazeera, Fox (Latin America, Australia Middle East), ESPN, Sport+ (France), RAI (Italy).

As we enter the final countdown to the first Act in Oman, the 2012 team line-up will be revealed this coming weekend at the Dusseldorf Boat Show.

2012 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1 : Muscat, Oman 28th February-2nd March
Act 2 : Qingdao, China 17th-20th April*
Act 3 : Istanbul, Turkey 7th-10th June
Act 4 : Porto, Portugal 5th-8th July
Act 5: Cardiff, UK 24th-27th August
Act 6 : Trapani, Italy 13th-16th September
Act 7 : Nice, France 18th-21st October
Act 8 : Brazil 29th November-2nd December

Due to official Chinese naval activities in the port of Qingdao, Act 2 will now be staged between 17th-20th April instead of the 19th-22nd April as previously communicated

 

Extreme Sailing Series Boston  Artemis and Red Bull (Photo © George Bekris)

Extreme Sailing Series Boston Artemis and Red Bull (Photo © George Bekris)

 

Alinghi Team, skippered by Tanguy Cariou ,celebrate winning Act 8 in Almeria, Spain (Photo by Lloyd Images)

.

It came down to the wire in the final double points race to determine the podium places of Act 8 in Almeria. Going into the final race the Swiss team of Alinghi were in a strong position to claim overall victory, only a major faux pas would have prevented what was rightfully theirs after such a strong performance over the last five days and 32 races. In the end, Tanguy Cariou’s team on Alinghi secured victory by one of the biggest points margins of 22 points over Italy’s Luna Rossa in 2nd place: “We are really happy to have at least one win this year,” said Alinghi skipper, Tanguy Cariou. “We tried to manage the risks today, we had good boat speed and good team work. It is great for us to have a win here, I am really happy for Yann and the whole crew. It is really good to show the teams that we can make it.”

However, the fight for second was by the closest of margins with Luna Rossa holding off Ben Ainslie’s Oman Air by just one point: “For me it was my first experience of multihull racing and I have learnt a huge amount, which for me is probably more important to me personally than the end result,” said Ainslie. “To finish on the podium for the second time in three events is a great team effort. It is a very high level of competition and when you look at the people on board the other boats, they are all extremely accomplished sailors. They are fighting for every inch and with the type of racing that we do it ends up being very tight as the races are so short, and invariably you end up with collisions and action creating some exciting racing! It’s been fantastic sailing with the team. Now it’s time for me to get focused on the Olympics.”

Almeria has for the last two years hosted the final of the Extreme Sailing Series championship. This year the Spanish round, attended by an estimated audience just shy of 70,000 spectators, has set the stage for the final in Singapore between the 7th-11th December. And it is Max Sirena’s team who now lead the overall 2011 rankings by just one point: “We now have a month before the boats get to Singapore and to be in the lead for that month is fantastic,” said Luna Rossa helmsman, Britain’s Paul Campbell-James. “It’s good to have the mental advantage of being in the lead going into the final Act.”

Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar scored their best ever result of 2011 with a 4th place here in Almeria, stealing it from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild on the final upwind beat in the final race. It was a tough day for the French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who had been in contention for the podium throughout the event. But Pierre Pennec’s team is still in the game for the Extreme Sailing Series ultimate victory – on 68 points for the season with Luna Rossa on 69. Emirates Team New Zealand was given redress after yesterday’s crash and maintained 6th place ahead of double-Act winner The Wave, Muscat. Leigh McMillan’s team were struggling to find their form in the light air Acts. Red Bull Extreme Sailing also had a tough end of regatta – Roman Hagara’s crew still had everything to play for, lying in 8th overall, going into the final race but it was not to be.

The points have never been tighter and the final positions can be harsher looking than the reality of the competition. Whilst the frontrunners held their own private battle for the podium, it allowed others to shine through here on the final day. Alex Schneiter’s debut in the Extreme 40 circuit was rewarded with two race wins today, and they ended Act 8 in a respectable 9th place, four points ahead of Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme and Alberto Barovier’s Niceforyou team on 135 points, his team enjoying a morale-boosting race win in the penultimate race.

But the applause goes to skipper Tanguy Cariou, helmsman Yann Guichard, trimmer Nils Frei and bowman Yves Detrey for Alinghi’s victory in Almeria – their first win of the season. Luna Rossa is now top the season’s leaderboard and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will push them to the limit in Singapore. And there will be a very tight fight behind them for third place, with six teams able to fill that podium place for the 2011 season. Singapore will be a great battle!

Extreme Sailing Series Act 8, Almeria, Andalucia (Spain) standings after 32 races (16.10.11)
Position / Team / Points

1st Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 254 points
2nd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 233 points
3rd Oman Air (OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 232 points
4th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemrskerk / Andrew Walsh / Brad Webb 218 points
5th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 216 points
6th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Ray Davies / Jeremy Lomas / Derek Seward 213.5 points
7th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 209points
8th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 202 points
9th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Boet Brinkgreve / Charles Favre / Nicolas Heintz 155 points
10th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Antón Paz / Tom Buggy 151 points
11th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele De Luca / Simone de Mari 135 points

Extreme Sailing Series 2011
Overall standings after 8 Acts
Position / Team / Points

1st Luna Rossa 69 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 68 points
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand 60 points
4th Alinghi 59 points
5th The Wave, Muscat 57 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing 53 points
7th Artemis Racing 48 points
8th Oman Air 47 points
9th Team GAC Pindar 29 points
10th Niceforyou 18 points
11th Team Extreme 18 points

Luna Rossa and Red Bull Sailing In Almeria, Spain (Photo by Lloyd Images)

GAC Pindar Leads Act 8 in Almeria, Sain (Photo by Lloyd Images)

ISAF World Match Racing Champion, Ian Williams, has helmed Team GAC Pindar to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of Act 8 in Almeria. This is the first time his team has ever led the overall standings in the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series global tour. The third day of the penultimate round in Spain, ahead of the final in Singapore, saw three different teams take the lead throughout the afternoon. Five races were completed today – two in open water and three inside the port of Almeria in stadium mode. Ben Ainslie helming Oman Air went into day 3 leading but nothing seemed to go there way today, and Emirates Team New Zealand pounced with Adam Beashel’s team taking the top spot after the first race held in open water in a reasonable sea breeze. The Kiwis fended their position, despite not scoring a race win and losing a crew overboard in the second race, whilst Alinghi and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild dominated at the front with two wins for the Swiss team and a victory for the French. But always in the background was Team GAC Pindar sailing strongly – a 4th, 5th, then a second, gaining their momentum until they were on equal points with Emirates Team New Zealand at the top. Tanguy Cariou’s team, driven by Yann Guichard, won the second stadium race in light airs and leap-frogged into the lead. Going into the final stadium race of the day, Alinghi and Team GAC Pindar were on 89 points each and further down the leaderboard the points situation could not have been closer with only 1 or 2 points separating the top 8 boats in a tactical game of snakes and ladders throughout the afternoon. The faltering sea breeze seemed to recognize the importance of the final day’s race and revived itself to allow the boats to show a good turn of speed on the short course. The Wave, Muscat and Team Tilt got a flying start ahead of Team GAC Pindar whilst Alinghi got stuck mid-fleet off the start, and that was that. Wiliams’ team was away and never looked back, 3rd place enough to take the lead going into the penultimate day of Act 8 tomorrow: “It was a really good day for us and we finished on the top half of every single race today,” said Williams. “For sure we will be fighting to try to retain the lead. Looking at the points it’s almost like a restart. We were 20 points behind last night and now we are 2 points ahead the second boat. It’s extremely tight, we will going down to the wire!” The weekend crowd is in for a treat as the forecast is showing a significant turning up of the wind speed dial for tomorrow and on Sunday the final battle will be played out to determine who wins in Almeria, and who will lead the 2011 Championship rankings going into the final Act. “Obviously with only two days to go we know by experience that anything can happen,” said Alinghi skipper, Tanguy Cariou. “We’re happy with that position tonight but we know that it will be even harder to keep it than to get it…” He is right about that – the all-French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, the Italians on Luna Rossa, the Kiwis on Emirates Team New Zealand and the Brits on Team GAC Pindar will be fighting them all the way…

Extreme Sailing Series Act 8, Almeria, Andalucia (Spain) standings after 14 races (14.10.11) Position / Team / Points

 1st Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemrskerk / Andrew Walsh / Brad Webb 98 points

2nd Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 95 points

3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 93 points

4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Ray Davies / Jeremy Lomas / Derek Seward 90 points

5th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 88 points

6th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 85 points

7th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 84 points

8th Oman Air (OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 80 points

9th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Antón Paz / Tom Buggy 70 points

10th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Boet Brinkgreve / Charles Favre / Nicolas Heintz 62 points

11th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele De Luca / Simone de Mari 59 points

The fleet on the start line in stadium mode In Almeria, Spain( Photo by Lloyd Images)

Muscat The Wave In Front of Spectators (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Despite winds gusting into the 30s and a grim sky suggesting the onset of winter, so in the late afternoon the wind dropped below 20 knots and the turning tide flattened out the sea to allow racing to begin on the penultimate day of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.  Perhaps the greatest surprise given the damp overcast weather was the huge turn-out of spectators crowding to Egypt Point, and the beach surrounding the Extreme Sailing Series Race Village.

 

Spectators watch the Fleet From the race village (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The Extreme 40 crews have been tested to the limit in the breezy conditions that have dominated Act 5, and it has been a case of ‘taming the 40-foot beast’ to the best of their abilities. Asked to compare their Extreme 40s to an animal, the skippers came up with some surprising answers!

By the time racing started later than usual at 1640 BST the wind had dropped to the teens. “It was quite windy, gusting to almost 20 knots so it wasn’t nearly as ‘extreme’ as we have had for the rest of this week: nice and flat water as well which made the tacking and boat handling a little easier, so you didn’t see too many rudders out of the water today, but still a windy day and a hard day to battle a boat around the course,” described Luna Rossa helmsman Paul Campbell-James.

Alinghi helmsman Tanguy Cariou said that in the conditions it was still hard work on board: “It was really physical, really tough for us especially at the end as you had to come in so close to the shore before tacking it was quite difficult, but I think we were quite solid and I think anything could happen tomorrow.”

 The 11 Extreme 40s were divided into groups as the conditions on the penultimate day were still on the limit to race the fleet in one group with reefed mainsails but gennakers permitted after the first two races much to the publics delight.  With half of the fleet racing at a time, the tactical objective for the crews was to get as far into the shore as possible on the beat to make the best of the favourable eddy off Eygpt Point and definitely out of the 2.5 knot counter current offshore. As Campbell-James put it: “There was one way to do it – to come off the line, hit the beach and push your luck on the rocks. Whoever nailed that strategy was the guy who usually came up in first at the windward mark.”

The most tense moments came on the first beat of each race when the Extreme 40s would get as close as possible into shore and occasionally not get enough room to tack. But despite some hair-raising moments none of the boats went aground.

In fact it was the strong tide that proved the major stumbling block with several crews underestimating the angle of the rope tethering the weather mark. As a result several snagged it on their rudders causing them to pop up, perhaps the most dramatic being when Luna Rossa careered off downwind seeming to gybe twice accidently before they got their Extreme 40 under control.

 Campbell-James described it: “We just skimmed the windward mark on the way round and that popped the leeward rudder up. It was pretty dangerous in the big breeze with the one rudder in and one out, so we got to the leeward marks and we stuck it head to wind, did our penalty while putting the rudder back down. It was all a bit of a drama, but we managed it. Alister [Richardson] hurt his back a little bit a bit in the process.”

Team Extreme suffered the same fate in the third race and crewman Benedikt Wenk cut his hand as he attempted to get the rudder back down. Wenk required a couple of stitches and Roland Gaebler’s team had to retire from racing for the day.

Star of today’s competition was ex-Tornado sailor Pierre Pennec and the crew of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who won three of their four races. Their third race was the tightest of the day with Leigh McMillian at the helm of The Wave, Muscat first to the top mark with the French team on their transom. There were whoops from the crowd ashore as the French crew came close to rolling past their Omani rivals. However, the real coup for the French team came on the second run when The Wave, Muscat crew thought they had crossed the finish line only to find that the race had been extended to finish on the next upwind leg. This wavering allowed the French team to overhaul them and to take their third bullet of their day by a matter of centimetres.

 

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild skippered by Pierre Pennec tearaway and the bows dig in, spray everywhere © Lloyd Images

Alinghi won their third race of the day and Tanguy Cariou was satisfied with their performance. “Today it was quite good, quite solid team work and good manoeuvres. We fought well against the other opponents.” In contrast it wasn’t such a good day for the Italian team on Luna Rossa who prior to their rudder incident at the top mark had suffered a broken outhaul shortly after the start of the first race.

At the close of play The Wave, Muscat continues to lead with a margin of 10 points on Luna Rossa, Alinghi third with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild fourth, now just six point shy of the podium. But as Paul Campbell-James points out it could inevitably once again come to tomorrow’s double points-scoring final race.  “Leigh is in front of us as he had a really good day today, so we’ve just got to put in a solid day tomorrow and see what happens in the double points last race,” said Campbell-James. “Basically it will be man against man with Leigh which I have been doing since I was nine years old!”

The weather forecast for tomorrow is looking good – 11-15 knots and sunshine, which will mean the Extreme 40s can, once again, race as one fleet for the for the final day of Act 5.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Current overall standings, day 6 (11.8.11)

Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 138 points
2nd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 128 points
3rd Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 117 points
4th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 111 points*
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Luke Cross 104 points
6th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 101 points
7th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemskerk / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 93 points*
8th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele de Luca / Simone de Mari 81 points
9th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Richard Meacham / Andrew McLean / Chris Ward 73 points
10th Aberdeen Asset Management (GBR), John Pink / Rick Peacock / Greg Homann / John Gimson 69 points
11th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Benedikt Wenk / Dan Morris 51 points
12th Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange / Andy Fethers / Michele Ivaldi / Phil Jameson 23 points*
 

Team Extreme skippered by Roland Gaebler powering along. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Cowes Week 2011 Aberdeen Asset Management Pitchpoles (Photo by Extreme Sailing Series / Lloyd Images )
It was another action-packed, full pressure day at the Extreme Sailing Series. After yesterday’s collision between Artemis Racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild in the fourth race, the breezy conditions continued today (Monday, 8th August), and it was in the sixth race when the Extreme 40 ‘Aberdeen Asset Management’ cart-wheeled spectacularly in gusty 20-25 knot conditions that were pushing the fleet to their limits.

The British Extreme 40 team helmed by John Pink was charging downwind with reefed mainsail and gennaker, sandwiched between Italian team Niceforyou and Austria’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing. The bows dug in as a big gust hit all three boats, and with no room to manoeuvre, the boat cart-wheeled, flipped almost vertical, before capsizing: “We felt we were in control mainly and kept going a bit quicker today than we had on the other days,” said John Pink. “Coming down that run it just all got very close and the breeze kind of seemed to fill in behind so everyone bunched up a little bit and then we had no where to go!” The four crew (John Pink, Rick Peacock, Gregory Homann, John Gimson) hung on to the trampoline and all the crew were safe and unhurt. The experienced Olympic 49er sailors of Pink and Peacock have been putting in a great performance in the windy conditions over the last three days with two podium results today. “We were very happy, it was coming together and hopefully we can put the boat back together for tomorrow hopefully,” continued Pink. “We will work on it pretty hard tonight, sort everything out so it is back in shape and we’ll be back in the water tomorrow with a bit of luck.”
Once again, the Extreme 40 fleet had been split into groups to race on the tight stadium course off Egypt Point, but these excluded Artemis Racing who was unable to repair their significant damage from the crash yesterday and are out of Act 5. In the first race it was Leigh McMillan at the helm of The Wave, Muscat who led the way, the crew working slickly together in the testing conditions, and won the first race ahead of John Pink’s Aberdeen Asset Management. In the second race, it was Oman Air who came to the fore ahead of Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar after a close battle. By race 3, the French team Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were back racing – pretty impressive as the team only craned the boat back into the water just 2 hours before racing started – and Pierre Pennec nailed their first race ahead of the Italians on Niceforyou. Team GAC Pindar and Luna Rossa then both got a win in the following two races with Leigh McMillan getting his second win of the day in the final race. After three days and 16 races, and going into the midway point of Act 5, Luna Rossa tops the leaderboard with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild moving up to 2nd overall in the standings having been given redress for the races they missed.
Another busy night in the pitlane to get Aberdeen Asset Management back racing tomorrow but certainly feasible with a spare mast available.
Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Current overall standings: after 16 races, Day 3 (8.8.11)
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1st Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 74 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 73.4 points*
3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 68 points
4th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemskerk / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 57 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Luke Cross 52 points
6th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 51 points
7th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 46 points
8th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele de Luca / Simone de Mari 35 points
9th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Richard Meacham / Andrew McLean / Chris Ward 35 points
10th Aberdeen Asset Management (GBR), John Pink / Rick Peacock / Greg Homann / John Gimson 31 points
11th Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange / Andy Fethers / Michele Ivaldi / Phil Jameson 21 points
12th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Benedikt Wenk / Dan Morris 16 points
*Redress given.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing, skippered by Roman Hagara (Photo by Lloyd Images )