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Extreme Sailing Series returns to Nice for the penultimate Act of 2014

Posted on 26 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Act 7 of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series™ global tour is just around the corner, as some of world’s best sailors prepare to descend once again on to the shores of Nice, France, for the penultimate Act in the battle for the 2014 crown. The event will be broadcast live online to fans around the world from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th October 1530-1700 local time (GMT+2) daily, and nationally in France on Canal Sport+  on Saturday and Sunday.

Three Act victories so far this year puts Alinghi top of the Series leaderboard, and the Swiss team, helmed by Morgan Larson, will welcome back Olympic champion Anna Tunnicliffe as tactician in Nice. Tunnicliffe, a two-times ISAF World Sailor of the Year knows all about the pressure of competing and spoke about the team’s focus for the Act. “The fleet is very strong, especially now towards the end of the season. Every point counts. The smallest mistake costs a lot on the scoreboard. Our main goal is to win the Act. We can’t just focus on one boat, there are too many good teams on the course.”

Just one point behind Alinghi is The Wave, Muscat fresh from a second place at the last Act in Istanbul just two weeks ago. As defending champion of not only the Series but also the Nice Act, the team’s British helmsman Leigh McMillan knows what it takes to win on the French Riviera. “Nice can be a whole variety of conditions, so we have to be ready for anything. We just need to continue the form we have had for the last two events. We are always improving and working well as a team, so more of the same is the aim.” Looking at the bigger picture, McMillan continued: “The events are too long with too many races to be concerned with one boat, but as the end approaches, we will have Alinghi in our sights.”

Following fantastic form in Istanbul that saw the Kiwis take their first Act win of the year, you wouldn’t bet against Emirates Team New Zealand, who will be reinforced by Glenn Ashby as well as Pete Burling and Blair Tuke – a duo who are quickly earning a reputation as the hottest property in sailing right now. “We know that anything can happen in Nice and we will look to get as much out of the training day as possible, that hopefully will set us up for a good week of racing. Pete is taking turns at the helm with Dean (Barker) throughout the season and this crew rotation is something we decided at the beginning of the year to try different onboard configurations with the different guys, which is working out well. We go into Nice with the intention of keeping a podium position with 2 Acts to go”, said bowman Jeremy Lomas.

The British team J.P. Morgan BAR is currently leading the second half of the fleet, where the battle is just as close, with just nine points separating the Brits in fifth place, from Groupama sailing team in tenth, with SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Oman Air, Gazprom Team Russia and Red Bull Sailing Team all sandwiched between them. J.P. Morgan BAR’s trimmer, Nick Hutton, who won the Series in 2010, spoke about the importance of a good result in the French Riviera. “We have been addressing what worked and what didn’t so we can move things forward, ready to come back fighting in Nice. It’s the second to last event in the Series, there’s not much time left to get the points in the bag and we want to deliver – it’s a great venue and we are looking forward to some solid racing.”  

Groupama sailing team will be back to full strength welcoming their skipper Franck Cammas back to the fray, who missed Act 6 whilst competing in the Nacra 17 ISAF World Championships in Santander, Spain. Tactician Tanguy Cariou spoke about what to expect from their home waters: “Nice will offer a new racecourse and some different conditions from all the other Acts this season. The last two years the winds have been very strong so who knows what might happen this year! Nice is also a beautiful city and it will be very interesting to expose both the boats and the Stadium Racing to the French public.”

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Emirates Team New Zealand break Alinghi and The Wave, Muscat’s dominance

Posted on 14 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] In some of the best conditions the fleet have raced in all year, you couldn’t have scripted a better final to the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 in Istanbul, and the fans on shore and following around the world were rewarded with a nail bitingly close, down to the wire shoot out after 31 races. The 12 Extreme 40s blasted around the track in 20-23 knots, reefs in their mainsails, with the lead changing hands in almost every race. As fortunes swung one way, and then another, Dean Barker and the crew on Emirates Team New Zealand needed to put two boats between them and The Wave, Muscat in the final race to take the win – and they did just that, clinching their first Act win of the year – the first time a team other then Alinghi or The Wave, Muscat have won an Act since 2012. “It’s always good to get on the plane after a good one rather than a bad one, so I’m just really happy with the way the guys have just responded after what was a really tough result in Cardiff (where the team came last) and every now and then it’s good to get a good kick up the backside to make you realise you have to work hard for these. We’ve improved each day and it was just a really close, hard event,” Barker commented.

Act 6, Istanbul 2014. Credit: Lloyd Images

Act 6, Istanbul 2014. Credit: Lloyd Images

Heading into the final race, mathematically Alinghi could have taken the Act win, but with their eyes on the 2014 season prize, their focus was locked on The Wave, Muscat and keeping them off the top spot. The Swiss had done their maths and knew exactly where they wanted their season rivals to finish, working hard to force them deep into the pack and out of contention for the Act win. “We had an outside chance to win that last race and we did one lap of the race still trying to win, not knowing what could still happen. Then we got to the final lap and it was clear that if we continued to win the race with Emirates Team New Zealand second, then The Wave, Muscat may have won this Act. So we were thinking of the overall Series, we just had to let the Kiwis go, and then go back and hold The Wave, Muscat back a little bit because they were coming out strong. They’re such a good team, picking off boats one by one and so we just had to try and block them back and make it so we got second.”

The Wave, Muscat finished the penultimate day at the top of the leaderboard in Istanbul. Credit: Lloyd Images

The Wave, Muscat finished the penultimate day at the top of the leaderboard in Istanbul. Credit: Lloyd Images

Despite missing out on top prize in Istanbul, McMillan and the team on The Wave, Muscat did what they came here to do: beat Alinghi and narrow the gap on the 2014 rankings. However, that gave little solace to McMillan, who commented after the win: “It was close points between us and Emirates Team New Zealand, but unfortunately Alinghi obviously didn’t want us to win and so they got in the way during the race and made our life pretty difficult. We’re frustrated, the last two days we’ve sailed really well. There are two more Acts, and we’ve beaten Morgan Larson at the last two, and that’s what we’ve got to keep doing. Second or first at this event, it doesn’t make any difference really because it can come down to Sydney and that’s what we’re focused on.”

Rob Greenhalgh’s Oman Air finished the regatta in fourth place, their strongest performance of the season, going better than their pre-Act target of sixth place, as Greenhalgh commented: “It has been a tough event as usual but we have finished fourth, which we are happy with. It has been hard work for everyone. The crew have worked really hard and have done a very good job. We are improving and refining the details and everyone wants to do better so they get upset when there are mistakes but that’s what happens when expectations improve. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going and put a good performance in Nice”.

The fleet power off the startline with Istanbul's Blue Mosque providing the backdrop. Credit: Lloyd Images

The fleet power off the startline with Istanbul’s Blue Mosque providing the backdrop. Credit: Lloyd Images

It was a good day for SAP Extreme Sailing Team, all the time making steady progress and narrowing the points gap to finish in a solid fifth place after starting in the day in eighth. Just six points behind is Groupama sailing team – a season’s best for the French under the guidance of skipper for this Act, Tanguy Cariou. Racing at this level, as one of the very best teams in the world, things don’t always go to plan, as the French found out on the opening day, when they dismasted. Missing four races and languishing in last place, the team still managed to bounce back to finish sixth overall, and their persistence, commitment, and performance on the water, earned them the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award.

With the penultimate Act of 2014 in Nice, France just over two weeks away (2-5 October), there will be many lessons learnt here and rivalries are burning stronger than ever. Alinghi hang onto the overall lead with 55 points but their advantage over The Wave, Muscat has been narrowed to just one point. Looking ahead Larson summarised: “It’s a fresh event and we’ll have to come out strong, try to have some great results – it will all be on. If we have some good results and things go our way, it will be nice going into Sydney but it’s going to be close and with double points in the final event I’m sure it will come down to the last race”.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 Istanbul standings after Day 4, 31 races (14.09.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 210 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 204 points.
3rd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 188 points.
4th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 169 points.
5th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 154 points.
6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Tanguy Cariou, François Morvan, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 148 points.
7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 143 points.
8th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Nick Blackman, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 142 points.
9th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Cédric Schmidt, Thierry Wassem 135 points.
10th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Jack Macartney, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, Tyson Lamond 130 points.
11th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 126 points.
12th TeamTurx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Can Bayülken, Selim Kakış, Deniz Çinar, Anıl Berk Baki 85 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) 55 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 54 points.
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 43 points.
4th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 36 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 29 points.
6th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 24 points.
7th Oman Air (OMA) 23 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 23 points.
9th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 23 points.
10th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 20 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 6 points.

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A remarkable penultimate day’s racing for Extreme 40s in Istanbul

Posted on 13 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] The tankers and cargo ships on one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, the Bosphorus Strait, were replaced this morning with the magnificent sight of a fleet of Extreme 40s, as traffic was shut down for a spectacular passage race right through the heart of Istanbul. If navigating the channel and racing past some of Istanbul’s most spectacular Ottoman architecture wasn’t remarkable enough to open the penultimate day’s racing at Act 6 of the Extreme Sailing Series™, eight full on, adrenaline-fuelled races were sailed and as always, it is tight at the top between the leading pack heading into tomorrow’s final showdown.

Act 6, Istanbul 2014 - Day Three - 13 Sep 2014. Credit: Lloyd Images

Act 6, Istanbul 2014 – Day Three – 13 Sep 2014. Credit: Lloyd Images

Race Director Phil Lawrence summed up an extraordinary day’s racing: “The Bosphorus is one of my favourite races. You’re sailing around this fantastic waterway and it’s very rare that they’ll stop all the ships and the scenery is just absolutely fantastic.” Going on to talk about this afternoons racing, “Full-on would sum it up. It was pretty breezy, we had full mainsails – we didn’t go to a reef, so it was right on the limit for that. The sailors did a great job.”

The defending champions of the Series, The Wave, Muscat have held onto the advantage they had coming into the day, despite picking up no points in race six for not completing a starting penalty for which they team are hoping for a redress. Breathing down their necks after two races wins is Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand, but Barker hinted they would like to go one better: “It was a great experience to do the Bosphorus race this morning and to take a look around there, then we moved into the stadium. We had a good day, and if we’d have said at the beginning of the week that we would be two-points behind the leaders going into the last day, we would have taken that. So we’re happy with the way it’s going, but you’ll always love to do better.”

Act 6, Istanbul 2014 - Day Three - 13 Sep 2014. Credit: Lloyd Images

Act 6, Istanbul 2014 – Day Three – 13 Sep 2014. Credit: Lloyd Images

Oman Air are continuing to ride on their season high, holding onto third place, but giving them a run for their money is a revitalised Alinghi, who had fire in their bellies and mistakes to be remedied today. The team, helmed by Morgan Larson, made every point count, as tactician Stuart Pollard explained: “Yesterday it wasn’t so good for us in the starts, but today we sorted that out. We sailed consistently around the race track and ended up getting us some points on the board which is good because we needed it after yesterday. Tomorrow we will need more of today, sailing consistently, sailing clean and sailing fast.”

The fleet couldn’t have asked for better conditions for this afternoon’s racing, with 20 knots on the course that saw the crews muscle their overpowered Extreme 40s around the track – at times on the edge of control. Keeping it clean, staying out of the scraps at the marks and timing the starts perfectly was key, and a team who had that sussed today was Groupama sailing team. The French started the day in twelfth place, but two race wins and being the fastest average boat on the water – matched only by J.P. Morgan BAR to 13.77 knots according to the SAP analytics – saw the French begin to make their march, to put themselves in a solid fifth place at close of play. The team are now tied on points with Red Bull Sailing Team, leading the mid leaderboard battle, and after racing skipper Tanguy Cariou commented: “We really had a great day. François Morvan (helm in Istanbul) has done a wonderful job on the starts, he has really analysed the different race configurations and his understanding of the specificities of the Stadium Racing is improving day by day. Today’s results are really rewarding both for François and the entire team and it is really gratifying to know that we are back on track.”

Act 6, Istanbul 2014 - Day Three - 13 Sep 2014. Credit: Lloyd Images

Act 6, Istanbul 2014 – Day Three – 13 Sep 2014. Credit: Lloyd Images

J.P. Morgan BAR also had a better day today, relishing the bigger breeze and the chance to really stretch their legs. The team, who between them has five Olympic gold medals, took maximum points in two races, to finish the day in seventh place and on 110 points. The Brits most experienced Extreme 40 sailor is former Series winner Nick Hutton, who commented: “We are really enjoying the racing here in Istanbul. Everyday we have had good conditions with a nice breeze. It is a bit gusty at times, but we are starting to read it now, paired with the flat water and open racetrack it makes for some of the best sailing we have had. We are pleased with our boat handling and form today and it’s all to play for tomorrow.”

After yesterday’s impressive showing, the young Australian team on GAC Pindar struggled to get out of the scrum and into the top half of the pack under the intensity of the day’s racing. Their day went from bad too worse, when their final race was cut short following a collision with Gazprom Team Russia, which knocked the Aussies out of racing, leaving them with a night of repairs. Skipper Nathan Wilmot talked through what happened: “We were coming down to the bottom mark and Team Russia were behind with no over-lap. We went to go around the mark, they got a gust and hit us. They went through our port bow, and we’re not quite sure how bad it all is yet so we will wait and see, but it has been draining water out for the last 15 minutes. We were our own worst enemy out there today, and we were a little out of sync. We just missed a few things, battled hard and it didn’t go our way. Unfortunately it was probably our best race when the crash happened, so it was just one of those days.”

The battles at the top and mid leaderboard are raging, with three hours of racing left in Istanbul, and a final double points shoot out still to come, there will be no quarter given. Tune into the final day’s racing from 1530 local time (GMT+3) to watch the final races, and the winners be crowned.

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Unprecedented day with two dismastings at Act6 Extreme Sailing Series

Posted on 12 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] In an unprecedented opening day at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 in Istanbul, the public and national media witnessed some extraordinary adrenaline fueled racing, with every team pushing hard – and at times too hard, with two boats dismasting; first Groupama sailing team and then Alinghi. In near perfect sailing conditions that topped out at 20 knots, the French, with too much load on their rig at the windward mark, were the first to lose their new mast during race four, which disappointingly for the French came after their best start to an event this year. In a completely unrelated incident in the seventh and final race of the day, Alinghi suffered the same fate, with both boats now out of the water and with a long night in the pitlane to be back on the water tomorrow.

Alinghi’s helmsman Morgan Larson explained what happened: “In that last race we were leading at the mark, we unfurled the gennaker, got the bear away and then the rig broke in two spots. We pushed a little too hard in that puff, and then it just went. It’s the first time I’ve broken the rig in these boats so it’s probably a lesson I’ve learnt there. There is a limit and we found it.” There were no guest sailors onboard when either of the incidents happened, with Race Management closely monitoring the conditions all day.

With a steady north easterly breeze of 15 knots, and gusts up to 20, the fleet relished the chance to flex their seafaring muscles and stretch their legs in the open water format on the Marmara Sea, racing at the entrance to the Bosphorus, with the iconic Blue Mosque and its landmark six minarets in the background.

Emirates Team New Zealand showed a return to form after their last place in Cardiff just two weeks ago, hitting the accelerator as both the fastest average boat downwind at 16.27 knots, and upwind at 11.80, to finish the day tied on points at the top of the leaderboard with the defending Series champions, The Wave, Muscat. The Kiwi team’s skipper Dean Barker remained cool and measured after racing. “There’s still a lot of racing to go, but we had a good solid day. It wasn’t anything flashy, there is still a lot of things we can improve on and I’m sure everyone will be feeling the same way. It’s a difficult racecourse, it’s hard to get your plan right all the time and you make some gains and some looses. I think today we managed the racecourse pretty well and took the opportunities when they were there.”

Just one point behind them is the Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team who took maximum points in two of the seven races sailed, with co-skippers Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Kostner gunning for their first podium position of 2014. With just three Acts left this year, all the teams have turned it up a notch as they look to secure their positions ahead of the penultimate event in Nice, France. Red Bull Sailing Team, with Austrian double Olympic gold medallist Roman Hagara at the helm, have been relatively slow starters this year by their own accounts, but had their best start to an event, with a string of results in the top half of the fleet, leaving them in fourth place with 40 points.“We had really tricky conditions – shifty with a few gusts which mixed up throughout the day. You had to be good at the starts but there was a lot to lose and a lot to gain. We know that we can handle this breeze and our crew work today was fantastic – the boys just did a great job. We over-took people on manoeuvres and around marks which was really good,” summarised Hagara.

Two points behind the Austrians are Gazprom Team Russia, who were the fastest off the startline according to the SAP analytics, with GAC Pindar just one point behind them. For skipper and Olympic champion Nathan Wilmot, this is only his second Act at the helm, and after a steep learning the curve, the team are on an upward trend, as Wilmot elaborated: “It was good out there – we had some good starts, some good races I think we’re just learning how to sail the boat a bit more now, we’re getting better and better each time. We’ve tried different things each day and we seem to be getting the boat reasonably fast – so it’s all about putting it in the right spot and getting the team around the course. Today it was great out there actually, it was beautiful sailing.”

The event was officially opened with the skippers press conference, attended by Turkey’s top media as well as country and city officials, and co-Host Venue Partners Yandex and Palmarina. Tomorrow the event officially opens to the public, with three days of Stadium Racing, and the live video starting from 1530 local time (GMT+3) tomorrow. If today’s racing is anything to go by, you don’t want to miss it!

Full day results here

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Extreme 40 fleet is ready to rock in Istanbul

Posted on 10 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] As the 2014 season draws into the business end, the elite-level teams are evidently hungry in their fight for the podium in Istanbul. Just two weeks after they last met for the UK Act in Cardiff – an event with plenty of action, hard fought racing and a few collisions – the tensions are high and the pressure on the teams to lay down a good performance is palpable. With just 24 hours before the first start gun in Turkey’s largest city, Freddie Carr predicts the gloves are well and truly off.

I raced in Istanbul back in 2011, and it was a really good racecourse. But what I’m really looking forward to in Istanbul for Act 6 is that we’re going back to see a more open-water venue, and I think that offers a different opportunity for the sailors. We saw it in Muscat, Oman for Act 2, and we had one of the closest ever finishes with five boats shooting it out on the final day, and I would expect to see the same in Istanbul. It will be really interesting to see how the open water racecourse has an effect on the sailors and I would expect to see a very tight scoreboard after four days.

Looking back at Act 5 Cardiff, it was a similar story to that which we have seen for a lot of the season, with Alinghi coming out of the traps really strong early on in the regatta. J.P. Morgan BAR also joined them taking the lead on the first day – which was great to see for all the British sports fans who went down to Cardiff Bay to watch the racing that weekend – and The Wave, Muscat started off slowly. That seems to be the pattern that we’ve seen over the last five Acts. Leigh McMillan and his crew on The Wave, Muscat did a really good job of chipping away at the points all weekend, right up to the final double-points race. The gloves really came off during that race, with that big pile up at the top mark amongst the top teams, and I really expect to see the shockwaves of that as we go in to Istanbul. Generally I think the aggression levels have had to move up a gear and there’ll be no more Mr Nice Guy. Not only from Alinghi and The Wave, Muscat – the two crews at the top of the leaderboard, but everybody else. I think it’s drawn a line in the sand, and it’s now the business end – there was no love lost in that last race of Cardiff, and it will be interesting to see how that shakes off in Istanbul.

Realteam jumped up into third after Act 5 Cardiff, and they’re literally like the ‘peoples champions’. They’ve had a really consistent year, banging in the podiums here and there and never really in the bottom half of the fleet – and they’ve been rewarded with third overall. If they finish third this season, I will pick them as my team of the year for sure, and I think that will have been a phenomenal achievement for those guys. Full credit to them, I personally enjoy watching them sail, they’re low-risk and they’re clearly a tight group of mates that enjoy the victories together.

Another team to watch at Act 6 will be the invitational team – TeamTurx. Co-skipper Mitch Booth helmed the invitational boat at Act 3, Qingdao in China – Team Extreme Qingdao. Quite often at these events, the home invitational boat tends to sail towards the back of the fleet, but in Qingdao after day one Mitch and his team were third. So you really can’t rule out Mitch and his Turkish crew at this Act. He has some great Olympic sailors onboard and if they can get out of the traps on the first day after a good week of training, there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever that he wont be throwing the cat amongst the pigeons in Istanbul.

Ideally I really want to see Emirates Team New Zealand bounce back. They would have been devastated with their result in Cardiff, and I cannot remember the last time the Kiwi team would have finished last in a regatta – it will be interesting to watch how the boys respond to that. I can imagine they’ll come back and be in the top half of the fleet again before we know it. Also I’m always keeping an eye on the Austrians on Red Bull Sailing Team. They finished fourth in Cardiff, their best result this year and I would be interested to see if they can come back and continue with those results.

It will also be interesting to watch J.P. Morgan BAR to see if they can continue that good line of form that they’ve recently had. The team changed a few dynamics before Cardiff, not just the sailing crew but also who was coaching them. This time in Istanbul, they have Ian Barker – an Olympic Silver medallist coaching the team. So they’ve started to look at how different coaches and how different personalities can affect the team – which was one of the main take-away points from Cardiff. It’s not just the crew on the boat that contributes to the team, it’s also the support crew and the people off the water who can build that culture of winning, and that was an interesting lesson for the Brits.

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12 teams to race in Istanbul including first-ever Turkish Extreme 40 team

Posted on 04 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] The first-ever Turkish Extreme 40 syndicate, TeamTurx, has been confirmed to compete at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 Istanbul as an invitational entry, bringing the tally of boats on the startline up to 12. The event will be further bolstered by support from co-Host Venue partners Yandex, one of Europe’s largest technology and internet companies, and Palmarina, a world class marina located in Bodrum, south Turkey.

The Turkish squad supported by ARKAS Sport Club of shipping company ARKAS Holding, is made up of Olympic level sailors including founder Edhem Dirvana, who have been busy training over the last few months with Extreme 40 veteran and class co-designer, Mitch Booth. Mitch and Edhem – a world-class multihull sailor who has been instrumental in the formation of TeamTurx – will share skipper duties, with local sailors Selim Kakış, Ateş Çınar, Deniz Çınar, Cem Gözen, Cem Selçuk and Can Bayülken rotating positions onboard. Edhem commented on the team’s long-term vision to develop the sport of sailing in Turkey: “Our coastline offers supreme conditions for water sports which provides an important opportunity to enhance our maritime culture. We are combining our Extreme 40 sailing skills as Bozburun Yacht Club with the administrative skills of ARKAS Sport Club, which is well known for its support for the improvement of water sports, to help further develop the sport of sailing in Turkey. Multihull sailing is at a very early stage in the country so we hope to raise public awareness of this type of action packed, professional level of sailing and sailing in general in Turkey.”

For Yandex Turkey, their sponsorship of the Istanbul Act adds to their growing sailing sponsorship portfolio, as Chairman and CEO Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ explained: “As a company developing high-end technologies, Yandex operates in a wide range of fields. Last year we announced our support for SpeedDream – a project aiming to create the fastest monohull sailboat of the world – with the expertise of our engineers and our processing power. This year, with the same enthusiasm, we are happy to be the local hosts of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 6 in Istanbul, bringing together the high-tech Extreme 40 catamarans and some of the best skippers in the world. We’re inviting all sailing fans to this unique racing event and believe that we will be co-hosting a historical happening, together with Palmarina.”

The Palmarina Bodrum Management echoed Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ’s words and spoke of their objective of developing the sport in Turkey:“As Palmarina Bodrum we plan our actions with the aim of developing the maritime heritage of Turkey parallel to the international standards and also raising the traffic of the super and mega yachts into our national coasts by our business ventures. We are very pleased when observing the influence on the younger generations recently and feel proud of supporting marine sports races, as being sponsor of Extreme Sailing Series in Istanbul with Yandex and welcoming these high-speed catamarans and the best sailors of the world here to Istanbul. We are inviting all the marine sports enthusiasts to join us watching these extraordinary races together to feel the excitement with all of us.”

The action in Turkey will begin on the 11 September, and excitement is building in Istanbul for the return of the Extreme 40 stadium style racing on Turkish waters for the first time since 2012. The Extreme 40s will also face the challenge of racing on the notorious Bosphorus Strait, a crucial shipping channel between the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, when traffic will shut down allowing the colourful sails of the Extreme 40s to replace the ferries and tankers for a few hours, on the morning of Saturday 13 September.

Team Turx crew list:
Co-skipper/Helm: Mitch Booth
Co-skipper /Floater: Edhem Dirvana
Mainsheet Trimmer: Selim Kakış /Deniz Çinar reserve
Headsail Trimmer: Ateş Çinar / Cem Selçuk reserve
Bowman: Anıl Berk Baki /Can bayülken reserve
Reserve: Cem Gözen

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Three-way shoot out at the top as Oman fly the flag on British waters

Posted on 25 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Cardiff Bay saved the best for last for the 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet, where Alinghi, The Wave, Muscat and J.P. Morgan BAR battled it out until the bitter end for the top positions, in one of the closest – and most exciting – three-horse fights seen in the Series, which resulted in a three way collision and three consecutive penalties too boot in the final race. You couldn’t have scripted a better final, with the three leaders leaning on each other hard as they tried to gain the upper hand and The Wave, Muscat took advantage of the tussle to sail away with the win at Act 5 presented by Land Rover – and importantly homing in on Alinghi on the overall 2014 Series leaderboard as a relieved McMillan commented: “We’re on track this season, there’s nothing more we can do that’s for sure. The competition is very tight and Alinghi have been really slick this year and have brought in some unbelievable performances. To get one over on them here kind of brings it back down by a point and if we are going to keep pushing them hard, and they do the same to us it’s going to go down to the crunch.”

That left Ben Ainslie and Morgan Larson in a straight shoot out for second, but the British skipper couldn’t break the domination of Switzerland’s Alinghi, with Larson snatching it from the grasps of J.P. Morgan BAR. Alinghi’s Olympic champion tactician Anna Tunnicliffe talked through the final race: “We were waiting for Leigh to tack and he drove us right into the boats rounding the mark and boats started coming at us head first. We ended up above the mark so we couldn’t bear away and at the same time, Ben (Ainslie) was coming round into the side of us and it all turned into a mess. All three boats were tangled on each other. It’s very frustrating, but hopefully we can learn from our mistakes, we’re still on top which is good – the damage could have been worse. We need to move on to Istanbul and refocus for that event.”

Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan BAR were on fire and threatening all day, posting a steady stream of consistent results and slowly chipping away at the leading pack to put themselves in the running. Despite just missing out on second place, the team’s four-times Olympic champion skipper Ainslie was satisfied with the final position, who this week were joined by local lad, Bleddyn Mon. “It has been a great improvement to see us on the podium and great to challenge with the top teams today. It’s a big step forwards and hopefully we can continue this for the rest of the Series. Sailing with Paul Campbell-James was fantastic, he has taught us a lot about these boats and Bleddyn was a great addition, he worked incredibly hard. We are looking forward to sailing with Paul Goodison in Istanbul and as we develop further in the event.”

In traditional UK Bank Holiday style, the day started with an onslaught of rain, before the clouds lifted, the breeze picked up and the fleet played out the final races in a beautiful 15 knots of breeze, with lots of ducking and weaving, hitting top speeds of 20 knots. In a programme of eight races on the final day, Red Bull Sailing Team made a late surge with their best results of the week, including a pair of wins on the tight racecourse, to upgrade their overnight position from eighth, to fourth at the close of play. Their double Olympic champion skipper Roman Hagara commented: “We found out how to start well on the racecourse which was key. We had good boat work and were good at approaching the marks; we did almost everything right. We finished the Act in fourth so that’s a really good result for us, and looking ahead to Istanbul, we need to start the first day as we finished it here.”

A further four points back in fifth place is the Swiss Realteam – and significantly for them, a disappointing 11th place for Emirates Team New Zealand, has seen Jerome Clerc and his Swiss team leapfrog up the Series leaderboard, to third place.

The battle in the bottom half of the leaderboard was just as fierce, with only three points separating eighth placed Gazprom Team Russia to 11th placed Emirates Team New Zealand – and with Act 6, Istanbul less than three weeks away, you can bet that the there will be some stern locker room debriefs, before the teams meet again.

Cardiff has once again delivered an outstanding event, with 90,000 spectators getting front row seats to the action, as part of the Cardiff Harbour Festival. Act 6 Istanbul takes place from the 11-14 September, and with news of a local team entry in the coming days, it will be a packed startline of 12 teams, as the fleet head to the city where East meets West.

Cardiff Harbour Festival hosts Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5 Cardiff, presented by Land Rover standings after Day 4, 33 races
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan 210 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, 205 points.
3rd J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, 203 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, 186 points.
5th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, 182 points.
6th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, 175 points.
7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner,  174 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, 154 points.
9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, 154 points.
10th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, 153 points.
11th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, 151 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) 47 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 45 points.
3rd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 34 points.
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 33 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 25 points.
6th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 22 points.
7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 20 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 18 points.
9th Oman Air (OMA) 16 points.
10th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 15 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 5 points.

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New faces hope to ruffle the old order, as Extreme 40 fleet head to Cardiff for Act 5

Posted on 15 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Excitement in the Welsh Capital is building, as the fleet of 11 high-performance Extreme 40 catamarans are preparing to flex their giant sails, fine tune their speed machines and bring Stadium Racing to Cardiff Bay, as the headline Act to the Harbour Festival, 22-25 August. The Act, which is presented by Series Main Partner Land Rover, will see the fleet launch into the second half of the 2014 Series, and the 55 elite level sailors are raring to race, having last faced each other eight weeks ago in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

One man who knows the Cardiff stadium better than most is The Wave, Muscat’s skipper, Leigh McMillan, having finished first and second in 2013 and 2012 respectively. “Cardiff as a venue is very tricky racing. With big buildings all around the course, the wind is a big challenge and I am sure this year it won’t fail to deliver a diverse, challenging and exciting event.” In 2013, 120,000 spectators crammed into the Bay to watch the racing, something McMillan relished. “Having a crowd while racing is a big buzz, and racing on a Bank Holiday in Cardiff will definitely provide an excellent atmosphere to raise the tempo on the racecourse. It should be a lot of fun.”

Cardiff will see significant crew changes for nine of the teams, including onboard the UK home boat, J.P.Morgan BAR. Britain’s Paul Campbell-James – a two times winner of the Extreme Sailing Series – has transferred from Team Russia to Ben Ainslie’s team, replacing Paul Goodison as mainsail trimmer. Pippa Wilson will also be absent from the line-up for this event, replaced by Welsh lad and Team GB 49er sailor Bleddyn Mon, previously of The Wave, Muscat, who is sure to bring in the support of the home crowd. Looking ahead to the event, Ainslie commented: “We are expecting some solid, challenging racing on a small, compact racecourse. It’s going to be a tricky venue for the sailing but stadium racing at it’s best. It’s also bank holiday weekend so we are hoping for a strong turn out and are looking forward to racing amongst the home crowds in the heart of the bay.”

Phil Robertson becomes “Russian” and will helm Gazprom Team Russia

Kiwi Phil Robertson, who has achieved huge success in the World Match Racing Tour, will replace Campbell-James at the helm of Gazprom Team Russia. Having last sailed in the circuit in 2013, with ChinaSpirit, Robertson is eager to get back on the stick. “I really hope I can make the same impact as I did last year with China Spirit. I will be as prepared as possible and am lucky to have a great team behind me and the experience of Cardiff from last year. There are definitely a few tricks to sailing in Cardiff. I have no doubt all the teams would have done their study on Cardiff.”

SAP Extreme Sailing Team have also announced two additions to their Extreme Sailing Series challenge, with America’s Cup sailor Christian Kamp (DEN) and experienced Extreme 40 sailor Brad Farrand (NZL) strengthening their line up. Co-skipper Rasmus Kostner said of the new additions: “We are very pleased to welcome Christian and Brad to the team, it will ensure we continue to build on our current position and challenge for the Extreme Sailing Series podium, which has always been our goal.” Going on to talk about Cardiff Bay, Kostner continued: “Cardiff is a great racecourse, we’ve performed well there in the past. I believe good starting and boat handling will be key especially if we experience the windy conditions as in previous years. Cardiff is a great place to sail and we appreciate the large numbers of spectators that turn out to watch the racing.”

Cardiff will also see the welcome return of Britain’s Hugh Styles to the fleet, as headsail trimmer with GAC Pindar. Styles, an experienced cat sailor having represented Team GB at the Sydney 2000 Olympics in the Tornado and as a five-times medallist from the F18 World Championships, last competed in the Series in 2011 and has been a regular face on the circuit since the inaugural Series in 2006 as skipper of Basilica. 2014 has been somewhat of a baptism of fire for the Aussies, who are currently 11th on the leaderboard, and their Olympic champion skipper Nathan Wilmot hopes Hugh will be able to help to boost the team up the rankings. “We learnt a lot as a team in Russia in some interesting conditions. Cardiff will be another challenge with different conditions so it should be good fun again. We have Hugh Styles joining us for this regatta and it will be good to get someone elses ideas and keep improving. Hopefully we can move ourselves a little bit higher up the score board in Cardiff and enjoy the regatta there.”

Dean Barker will return to take over the reigns of Emirates Team New Zealand once more, after giving them up to his young protégée Peter Burling in Qingdao and Saint Petersburg, where Burling managed to clock up two consecutive podium places.

Current Series leaders Alinghi will welcome back Anna Tunnicliffe to the role of tactician, off the back of her recent Cross Fit Games success, while Red Bull Sailing Team have recruited Shaun Mason, previously of GAC Pindar, to replace Nick Blackman, Realteam will welcome Bruno Barbarin back to the team and Aussie Ted Hackney will make his debut with Oman Air. Groupama sailing team and The Wave, Muscat remain unchanged.

Cardiff Harbour Festival hosts Extreme Sailing Series Act 5, Cardiff, presented by Land Rover crew lists:

Alinghi (SUI)
Skipper/Helm: Morgan Larson (USA)
Tactician: Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
Mainsail Trim: Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
Headsail Trim: Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)

Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
Skipper/Helm: Dean Barker (NZL)
Floater: Edwin Delaat (NZL)
Mainsail Trim: Ray Davies (NZL)
Headsail Trim: James Dagg (NZL)
Bowman: Jeremy Lomas (NZL)

GAC Pindar (AUS)
Skipper/Helm: Nathan Wilmot (AUS)
Tactician/Mainsail Trim: Seve Jarvin (AUS)
Headsail Trimmers: Hugh Styles (GBR)/Ed Smyth (AUS)
Bow: James Wierzbowski (AUS)

Gazprom Team Russia (RUS)
Skipper/Tactician: Igor Lisovenko (RUS)
Helm: Phil Robertson (NZL)
Mainsail Trim: Matt Adams (GBR)
Headsail Trim: Pete Cumming (GBR)
Bowman: Aleksey Kulakov (RUS)

Groupama sailing team (FRA)
Skipper/Helm: Franck Cammas (FRA)
Tactician: Tanguy Cariou (FRA)
Mainsail Trim: Romain Motteau (FRA)
Headsail Trim: Thierry Fouchier (FRA)
Bowman: Devan Le Bihan (FRA)

J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR)
Skipper/Helm: Ben Ainslie (GBR)
Floater: Bleddyn Mon (GBR)
Mainsail Trim: Paul Campbell-James (GBR)
Headsail Trim: Nick Hutton (GBR)
Bowman: Matt Cornwell (GBR)

Oman Air (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
Mainsail Trim: Kyle Langford (AUS)
Headsail Trim: Ted Hackney (AUS)
Bowmen: Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA)/Musab Al Hadi (OMA)

Realteam (SUI)
Skipper/Mainsail Trim: Jérôme Clerc (SUI)
Helm: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Tactician: Bruno Barbarin (FRA)
Headsail Trim: Bryan Mettraux (SUI)
Bowman: Thierry Wasem (SUI)

Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Skipper/Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)
Tactician: Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Floater: Stewart Dodson (NZL)
Headsail Trim: Mark Bulkeley (GBR)
Bowman: Shaun Mason (GBR)

SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Mainsail Trim: Thierry Douillard (FRA)
Headsail Trim: Christian Kamp (DEN)
Bowman: Nicolai Sehested (DEN)/Brad Farrand (NZL)

The Wave, Muscat (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Leigh McMillan (GBR)
Tactician: Sarah Ayton (GBR)
Mainsail Trim: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail Trim: Kinley Fowler (NZL)
Bowman: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)

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