Archive | Extreme Sailing Series

Roman Hagara snatch first ever Act victory from SAP Sailing Team

Posted on 08 February 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Double Olympic gold medallists Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher and their team on Red Bull Sailing Team have won the opening Act of the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series™, soaking up the pressure of expectation in front of the crowds in Singapore to become kings of Marina Bay after 32 hard fought races. The team from Austria had the points advantage heading into the final day and held their nerve, despite the onslaught from SAP Extreme Sailing Team in a cut and thrust battle that went down to the last few metres of the final race that eventually denied SAP Extreme Sailing Team the Singapore trophy by just five points. With The Wave, Muscat rounding out the podium positions, the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series is well and truly up and running!

“We are all thrilled, it’s great. The young guys did a great job and I think all of our experience was very helpful; together as a team we kept everything together and it was perfect for us,” commented Hagara, who together with tactician Hans Peter Steinacher selected Red Bull Youth America’s Cup sailors Jason Waterhouse, Shaun Mason and Stewart Dodson to join them this season. “This win showed us that we can do it. We didn’t have as much luck in the last season but here everything went well for us. I think we now are making good decisions on the racecourse.”

The Extreme Sailing Series 2015, Act 1, Singapore  ESS Fleet around the Marina Credit Lloyd Images

The Extreme Sailing Series 2015, Act 1, Singapore
ESS Fleet around the Marina
Credit Lloyd Images

SAP Extreme Sailing Team were on a mission, nailing confidence boosting early races that made the Austrians earn every point, to take a deserved second place – their best ever finish. “It’s such a great job by the team and we are so happy with the second place, its been a long time since the podium and this one feels so good,” commented co-skipper Rasmus Kostner. “This regatta has been a long event under very shifty conditions; we have tried to improve throughout and have managed to get the most out of the challenging conditions. We definitely feel like we are doing a lot of things right at the moment and hope to be able to continue that.”

Leigh McMillan and his team from Oman are famous for their final day comebacks, but the Danes and Austrians were not going to be muscled out, leaving the twice-Series champions in third place. McMillan commented: “We went out fighting, but went into the last race with a bit too much to do, and didn’t get the strategy right from the start. We’re a little disappointed to finish third but we can’t take anything away from Red Bull Sailing Team and SAP Extreme Sailing Team. It goes to show there’s a lot of talent out there. We’re still going to fight all the way through the season, and we know we’re going to have our turn.”

Skyscrapers of steel and glass dominated the compact Marina Bay track and the huge crowds got up close and personal to the action from the public Race Village that saw thousands of people pass through its gates over the weekend. The final day’s racing saw the nine top international teams battle it out in superb conditions of 15 knots with gusts up to 21, that gave the spectators on shore the spectacle they came for.

Team Russia, this season with three Russian sailors onboard including skipper Igor Lisovenko, showed they are a real contender, sailing consistently to finish the Act in fourth place, just seven points behind The Wave, Muscat. The second team from the Omani stable, Oman Air, took the final race, to finish their debut regatta under skipper Stevie Morrison in fifth place, with the Australian crew on GAC Pindar who have been making quiet progress all week, finishing in sixth, despite sitting out four races on day two with a damaged bowsprit.

Beko Team Turx and Lino Sonego Team Italia may be the new teams on the block but they showed no intention of being bullied out on the track, with both taking their share of race wins over the regatta, as did the local entry Team Aberdeen, supported by Host Venue Partner Aberdeen Asset Management. The last word went to Team Aberdeen skipper Nick Moloney, a man who knows the Series better than most. “It’s always a pleasure to compete in this fleet – it is an elite group. Stevie (Morrison) was fantastic this weekend, and there’s a lot of new additions to the fleet which is really exciting. The Extreme Sailing Series is always the place to be. There’s a whole lot going on in the sailing world across the board but they don’t compare. It’s an absolute pleasure to be here.”

Next stop – Muscat Oman, 11-14 March.

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Crew details confirmed for the Extreme Sailing Series 2015 curtain raiser

Posted on 30 January 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Nine teams with 45 world-class sailors from 10 nations will lock horns from the 5 to the 8 of February, under the gaze of the towering downtown city skyline with the support of Host Venue Partner Aberdeen Asset Management. With just one week to go, here’s a lowdown on the teams and their line-ups.

GAC Pindar (GBR)
Skipper Seve Jarvin returns for his second season on the circuit, this year sharing duties with four-times World Match Racing champion Ian Williams. Aussies James Wierzbowski and Tyson Lymond both return to the GAC Pindar line-up, and the team welcomes Aussie 18-foot skiff champions Jack Macartney and Marcus Ashley-Jones.
Skipper/Helm: Seve Jarvin (AUS)
Tactician: Jack Macartney (AUS)
Mainsail Trimmer: James Wierzbowski (AUS)
Headsail Trimmers: Marcus Ashley-Jones (AUS)
Bowman: Tyson Lamond (AUS)

Gazprom Team Russia (RUS)
Russia’s 2014 Olympic Laser sailor Igor Lisovenko leads the team flying his home flag in his second season, this time with three Russians onboard including newcomer Alexander Bozhko. Kiwi match racing supremo Phil Robertson will remain at the helm, with his Waka Racing teammate Garth Ellingham continuing as the teams Trimmer.
Skipper/Tactician: Igor Lisovenko (RUS)
Helm: Phil Robertson (NZL)
Mainsail Trimmer: Garth Ellingham (NZL)
Headsail Trimmer: Alexander Bozhko (RUS)
Bowman: Aleksey Kulakov (RUS)

Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA)
A new syndicate for 2015, the Italian team is led by Lorenzo Bressani, who has twice been nominated as ISAF World Sailor of the Year. Bressani and the Italian crew of Enrico Zennaro and Gabriele Olivo have an impressive combined CV that includes 20 World Championship titles across numerous classes, while Adam Kay and Tom Buggy from the UK will provide valuable Extreme 40 class insight in Singapore.
Skipper/Helm: Lorenzo Bressani (ITA)
Mainsail Trimmer: Enrico Zennaro (ITA)
Headsail Trimmer: Gabriele Olivo (ITA)
Bowman: Tom Buggy (GBR)
Floater: Adam Kay (GBR)

Oman Air (OMA)
Another new face to the tour is 49er World Champion Stevie Morrison, who will take the reigns of Oman Air and will be joined by his Team GB teammates Ed Powys and Nic Asher. Ted Hackney and Ali Al Balashi return for their second year with the Omani syndicate bringing their knowledge from the previous season.
Skipper/Helm: Stevie Morrison (GBR)
Tactician: Nic Asher (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Ed Powys (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Ted Hackney (AUS)
Bowmen: Ali Al Balashi (OMA)

Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Red Bull Sailing Team will bring in some fresh blood with Red Bull Youth America’s Cup sailor Jason Waterhouse as skipper. The team will continue to be spearheaded by the Austrian double Olympic gold medal-winning duo Hagara and Steinacher, with New Zealand’s Stewart Dodson and the UK’s Shaun Mason both now in their second year on the circuit.
Skipper: Jason Waterhouse (AUS)
Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)
Tactician: Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Trimmer: Stewart Dodson (NZL)
Bowman: Shaun Mason (GBR)

SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
The Danish-run SAP Extreme Sailing Team are back for their fourth year on the circuit, with co-skippers Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Køstner. Brad Farrand and Thierry Douillard will continue their tenure, with Mads Emil Stephensen, a silver medallist at the 49er Worlds, adding to the line up.
Co-Skipper/Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Mainsail Trimmer: Mads Emil Stephensen (DEN)
Headsail Trimmer: Thierry Douillard (FRA)
Bowman: Brad Farrand (NZL)

Team Aberdeen (SIN)
The local entry supported by Aberdeen Asset Management includes some of the hottest international sailing talent. Skipper Nick Moloney is joined by America’s Cup and accomplished dinghy sailor Adam Beashel; experienced Extreme 40 trimmer and a former Team GB sailor Tom Dawson; UK high-performance dinghy sailor Freddie White and Asian Games gold medallist Justin Wong.
Skipper / Helm: Nick Moloney (AUS)
Tactician: Adam Beashel (AUS)
Mainsail Trimmer: Tom Dawson (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Freddie White (GBR)
Bowman: Justin Wong (SIN)

Team Turx (TUR)
A brand new syndicate for 2015, Extreme 40 veteran and class co-creator Mitch Booth and world-class multihull sailor Edhem Dirvana will share skipper duties. Turkey’s national sailing team members Selim Kakış and Anıl Berk Baki and Portugal’s Diogo Cayolla will all embark on their first full Extreme 40 season.
Co-Skipper/Helm: Mitch Booth (AUS)
Co-Skipper/Floater: Edhem Dirvana (TUR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Selim Kakış (TUR)
Headsail Trimmer: Diogo Cayolla (POR)
Bowman: Anıl Berk Baki (TUR)

The Wave, Muscat (OMA)
The team from Oman are two-time overall Series winners and 2014 runners up, led by British Olympian Leigh McMillan. McMillan will field the same crew as 2014, with British Extreme 40 heavyweight Pete Greenhalgh, double Olympic gold medallist and the only female in the circuit Sarah Ayton, America’s Cup sailor Ed Smyth and Omani national Nasser Al Mashari as the team look to reclaim their title, with McMillan vowing to settle “unfinished business”.
Skipper/Helm: Leigh McMillan (GBR)
Tactician: Sarah Ayton (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Ed Smyth (NZL/AUS)
Bowman: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)

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Extreme Sailing Series™ 9th year to kick off soon!

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series™] 2015 heralds the 9th year of stadium racing circuit that visits eight iconic venues, including a return to Germany for the first time since 2010: a world tour spanning three continents. Once again, another full 8-team grid, representing 7 nations will line up in a few weeks time.

The Extreme 40 skippers and sailors presented today to the media and public at the Düsseldorf Boat Show confirm once again the high calibre of competitors for the season ahead. “The Series is now firmly established in the arena of world class professional sailing, and we have built that reputation by continually attracting some of the very best sailors in the world, supported by global brands, in iconic and attractive venues – competing annually and on a global scale,” commented Mark Turner, Executive Chairman of OC Sport. “And whilst the event has never changed its core DNA – racing in a stadium environment where exciting sailing is brought right to the audience – there remains a great deal to do. We must continue to innovate, to break new ground, change people’s perceptions of our sport, find new ways to share it and engage with new audiences around the world. That’s our ongoing challenge.”

The award-winning and ‘ISAF Special Event’ world tour is only made possible by the continued support of its partners, host venues and teams. Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director commented: “Racing in the Extreme Sailing Series is fast and furious and watching some of the best sailors in the world battling it out in such challenging environments makes for a fantastic spectacle. The boats are quick and tough, just like our vehicles and must perform whatever the conditions. We look forward to watching the inevitable high octane thrills and spills of the 2015 series with great anticipation.”

The 2015 skippers were announced at Boot Düsseldorf today in Germany.

The 2015 skippers were announced at Boot Düsseldorf today in Germany.

Eight Teams Representing Seven Nations
The 2015 season will see some new blood coming in, and be more open than ever before as Alinghi –reigning champions and two-time winners– step back after five seasons from the circuit to pursue other interests, offering up the tantalizing prospect of existing and new teams making their way on to the podium for the first time.

2014 helm Seve Jarvin of Australia and Britain’s Ian Williams will share driving duties on GAC Pindar and Roman Hagara will compete in his sixth Extreme Sailing Series at the helm of Red Bull Sailing Team – his goal is quite simple: “Our objective is to win the Series!”

SAP Extreme Sailing Team headed up by Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Kostner from Denmark will be looking forward to their fourth season with the ambition of improving their performance in the overall standings this year: “Both myself and Jes Gram-Hansen return after a tough year in 2014 knowing we can perform better,” commented Rasmus Kostner. “We have high expectations to become a podium team, that focus hasn’t changed. We are coming back with an energised crew and an intense training schedule to prime us to fight for every point.”

The Series will see an Italian entry: Lino Sonego Team Italia, fronted by multiple world champion Lorenzo Bressani; Gazprom Team Russia will return for a second season led by Igor Lisovenko and Oman Air will be back, at the helm Stevie Morrison from the UK. From the same stable, two-time overall Series champions and 2014 runners-up, The Wave Muscat, with Leigh McMillan once again at the helm.

Having ‘tested the water’ at the Istanbul Act in 2014, Team Turx skippered by Edhem Dirvana will be on the starting line for 2015: “We are finally achieving this great honour of being the first Turkish sailing team to compete at this level,” said Dirvana. “The Extreme Sailing Series has been developing every year and it is one of the most difficult races to win. Over the years this circuit has pushed sailing to be real high performance sport. To become a part of it is every sailor’s dream.”

For Act 1 in Singapore supported by Aberdeen Asset Management, Team Aberdeen will be racing for their country as the ‘home’ team skippered by Nick Moloney, who first competed on this circuit in its inaugural year in 2007.
An 11-Month World Tour.

For the third successive year, Singapore supported by venue partner, Aberdeen Asset Management, will host the opening Act starting on 5 February. It will be the fourth time the Extreme 40s have raced in Singapore, racing within the confines of the ultimate city-centre stadium on the world-famous Marina Bay. Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman, will host Act 2 and China’s ‘Olympic Sailing City’ Qingdao, Act 3 – both these venues have been long-term supporters of the circuit, hosting an Extreme 40 Act since 2011. The UK Act will, once again, be staged in Cardiff moving to an earlier calendar slot in June before the fleet head to 2015’s new venue: Hamburg, Germany. It has been five years since the Extreme 40s have raced in Germany – and the first time in Hamburg – but with a nation of sailing lovers, the event will prove popular. From Germany, it’s on to St Petersburg, Russia’s cultural capital for the second successive season, then Turkey before the final Act in Australia in December.

Extreme Sailing Series ™ 2015 Host Venues:
Act 1: Singapore, 5-8 February
Act 2: Muscat, Oman 11-14 March
Act 3: Qingdao, China 1-4 May
Act 4: Cardiff, UK 18-21 June
Act 5: Hamburg, Germany 23-26 July
Act 6: Saint Petersburg, Russia 20-23 August
Act 7: Istanbul, Turkey 1-4 October
Act 8: Australia 10-13 December
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2015 Teams and skippers:
Team / Skipper

  • GAC Pindar (AUS/GBR) – Seve Jarvin (AUS) / Ian Williams (GBR)
  • Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) – Igor Lisovenko (RUS)
  • Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA)- Lorenzo Bressani (ITA)
  • Oman Air (OMA) – Stevie Morrison (GBR)
  • Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) – Roman Hagara (AUT)
  • SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) – Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN) /Rasmus Kostner (DEN)
  • Team Turx (TUR) – Edhem Dirvana (TUR)
  • The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – Leigh McMillan (GBR)
  • Act 1 home team: Team Aberdeen (SIN) – Nick Moloney (AUS)

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Alinghi crowned 2014 & Sydney champions in the best day’s racing of the year

Posted on 14 December 2014 by Reporter

[Source:Extreme Sailing Series™] It is mission accomplished for Ernesto Bertarelli’s Swiss team Alinghi, as Morgan Larson and the team grabbed victory with both hands at Act 8 Sydney, presented by Land Rover, and with it the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series™ title – and Larson’s words say it all: “We’ve had an amazing season with an amazing team. To win the season and the Act on the last day in the conditions we had here in Sydney, which is the best sailing venue in the world, is a special moment that’s going to take a long time to sink in. The level of confidence that we have on our boat just made me realise I can win anything with these guys. This is the best feeling I’ve had all year and probably in the whole of my sailing career, so I’m going to cherish it.”

With the breeze cranking around Sydney Harbour at 15 knots and the brilliant Aussie sun beating down, racing was as good as it gets and the thousands of spectators witnessed not only the best racing of the year, but also a capsize for their home team GAC Pindar in the sixth race of the day, when damage to their rudders following a collision caused them to lose control of their Extreme 40. Coming into the Act, Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey and Anna Tunnicliffe, were the hot favourites to win the Series – with four Act wins already under their belts and having never finished worse than third – they just had to play it safe and finish sixth or above.

Locals watch Alinghi take both the Act and Series win on the final day of racing in the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series in Sydney Harbour, Australia. LloydImages

Locals watch Alinghi take both the Act and Series win on the final day of racing in the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series in Sydney Harbour, Australia. LloydImages

Comfortable going into the final double points race of the Series victory, winning the Act was the challenge, and Leigh McMillan and his team on The Wave, Muscat came into battle determined, flexing their muscles and giving it their all. Solid boat handling throughout the day meant the Act was almost theirs, denied only by the final double pointer, and the two-times Series winning skipper picking up second in Sydney, and in 2014. “It didn’t go how we wanted, but it’s been a great season and a fantastic effort by the whole team – the shore team, our coach and the crew. It hasn’t been easy, we had to dig deep on many occasion this year and Alinghi were just to good for us. They are relentless and were more consistent. Focused on this event, it’s been fantastic. It’s great to be part of it and beating a lot of the best guys in the sport. We’ll be back next year, and absolutely fighting for the win. He got the jump this year, we will try and take it back next year.”

In their second year on the circuit, Realteam have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with, and today’s battle for third in Sydney was between them, J.P. Morgan BAR and Oman Air. Tagged the ‘light air specialists’, Jerome Clerc and his team proved they are much more than that, and four race wins in Sydney and a consistent set of results secured them not only third place Down Under – but third place in 2014. “It has been an incredible season for us. What we have achieved this year is huge. We were the rookies of the circuit and this result just shows what an amazing year we have had. It has been great to sail on this racecourse in Sydney, the conditions were perfect and this podium just makes all our hard work worth while.”

The Wave, Muscat gave it their all on the final day taking two races wins, but settled for second position on the Act and Series leaderboards. LloydImages

The Wave, Muscat gave it their all on the final day taking two races wins, but settled for second position on the Act and Series leaderboards. LloydImages

Sailing with the confidence of a man who has been racing in the circuit for years, Tom Slingsby was unstoppable today. An extraordinary performance by him and the team on Oman Air saw them clock up 70 points from a possible 90 today, and they were the fastest average team on the water according to the SAP Sailing analytics, helping them on their way to fourth place in Sydney – no doubt turning a few heads amongst the more experienced fleet as well as receiving the biggest cheers from their home crowd.

For Slingsby’s fellow country man and Olympic champion Nathan Wilmot, their regatta was cut short following a collision with Realteam as the Aussies tried to cross in front of the Swiss, misjudged it and got their port rudder knocked off, leaving them without steering and no control of the boat, resulting in the capsize. Wilmot, who won Olympic gold in 2008 in the 470 class was disappointed to have his event cut short. “We were hit hard, with the impact just ripping off the rudder and then the capsize was imminent but everyone is fine. It’s a disappointing end to the week for us but it’s been incredible sailing on Sydney Harbour and we’ve enjoyed all the support from our home fans”.
Sydney joins a list of spectacular and iconic locations as an Extreme Sailing Series Host Venue, that this year has included a whirlwind tour of the globe taking in Singapore, Muscat (Oman), Qingdao (China), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Cardiff (UK), Istanbul (Turkey) and Nice on the French Riviera. 11 top international teams have battled in one of the most hard-fought Series to date, with five of them claiming podium positions throughout the year.

GAC Pindar capsized their Extreme 40 in race 24 on their home waters in Sydney, Australia. LloydImage

GAC Pindar capsized their Extreme 40 in race 24 on their home waters in Sydney, Australia. LloydImage

The eighth season of the Extreme Sailing Series comes to a close after 231 races, with the 2015 global tour confirmed to kick start in just over seven weeks, in Singapore – the first of eight Host Venues for this pioneering Stadium Racing circuit, that gets better ever year.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8 Sydney presented by Land Rover standings after Day 4, 26 races (14.12.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand,Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 189 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 177 points.
3rd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wasem 168 points.
4th Oman Air (OMA) Tom Slingsby, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Joey Newton, Ali Al Balashi 157 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 156 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 151 points.
7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 145 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 143 points.
9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Tanguy Cariou, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Hervé Cunningham 124 points.
10th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Seve Jarvin, Matt Mitchell, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski 90 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) 85 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 75 points.
3rd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 61 points.
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 49 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 49 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 40 points.
7th Oman Air (OMA) 38 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 36 points.
9th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 30 points.
10th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 26 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 13 points.

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Advantage Alinghi – but Sydney & Series podium places still open

Posted on 13 December 2014 by Reporter

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] It was an action-packed, full pressure day on Sydney Harbour for the Extreme 40s at the penultimate day’s racing of the 2014 global tour, where the grudge match between Alinghi and The Wave, Muscat was rife. Two race wins for the Swiss to the Omanis one, means it’s advantage Alinghi as they head into tomorrow’s final day – with their fellow countrymen Realteam in second place and The Wave, Muscat just two points back in third. Cool as ever, Larson commented: “We came out fighting and feel like we got hold of the event again. There’s still one more day to go and I think history has proven that things can get shaken up pretty quick so we’ve got to keep the focus on the win. It’s the end of the season, it’s been a long year, but now’s the time to sail at the highest level we can.”

The double-defending champions on The Wave, Muscat have to win in Sydney and Alinghi has to be sixth or worse for the British Olympian McMillan and his team to make it a hatrick of Series wins – a tough but not impossible ask. The team’s tactician Sarah Ayton, who sailed at the Sydney Olympic Games as a training partner before going onto compete and win gold at the 2004 and 2008 Games, commented: “If there was an opportunity to make it difficult for Alinghi today then you would take it, but there’s a lot of racing and you still very much have to do your own thing, and that’s what we were doing. We have a lot to do, and we’ll almost have to put the pressure on to Alinghi tomorrow and let them make the mistakes.”

Alinghi charge across the Sydney racecourse on the second day in Australia. LloydImages

Alinghi charge across the Sydney racecourse on the second day in Australia. LloydImages

Every podium place is still open at Act 8 Sydney presented by Land Rover – but with 20 points up for the taking for the Act win, the implications on the Series leaderboard are huge. Ben Ainslie and J.P. Morgan BAR will be hoping they can mount a late charge and clinch a podium place – in their way are Realteam, in pursuit of their first ever Act win to secure their position. For skipper Jerome Clerc, the team’s performance so far this year has exceeded his expectations: “It would be great for the team to finish on the podium. This was not our main target at the beginning of the year; we just wanted to get a podium on one of the venues. But if we are on the podium on Sunday, it would be a great victory. We have come a long way but I think now we are now sailing at our best.”

The Wave, Muscat on 13th Dec in Sydney. LloydImages

The Wave, Muscat on 13th Dec in Sydney. LloydImages


Softening but no less testing conditions caused a shuffle on the leaderboard, with five different teams claiming maximum points (10) in the eight races sailed. J.P Morgan BAR started the day on the back foot, when Realteam slammed into their back beam during the tight windward mark rounding, knocking out their rudders and the team out of the following three races. A points redress for the team limited the damage ahead of tomorrow’s final day and the Brits are five points ahead of a seemingly revitalized SAP Extreme Sailing Team. The Danes found some of their best form of the season with an impressive four second place finishes elevating the team to fourth from seventh place at the beginning of the day. Co-skipper Jes Gram Hansen is looking to finish the season on a high. “Our speed is good, the crew handling is good, it’s a tricky place to sail but overall the day was pretty good for us. We hope we can finish the season with a good regatta here in Sydney. It’s been a difficult year for us, that’s no secret. So it will mean a lot for our progression for next year if we sail well here.”

It was also an impressive day by GAC Pindar, whose skipper Nathan Wilmot also celebrated his 35th birthday today. Two race wins from the boys from Down Under was impressive, but not as impressive as his former Australian Olympic team mate Tom Slingsby on Oman Air, who was rarely out of the top three. The Omani team finish the day in seventh place, four points ahead of Phil Robertson and Gazprom Team Russia, who lead GAC Pindar by another four points, with Groupama sailing team languishing in tenth.

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Racing cancelled at Extreme Sailing Series™ in Sydney

Posted on 11 December 2014 by Reporter

[Source:Extreme Sailing Series™] Wet, wild and windy conditions forced Race Management to cancel the first day of racing on Sydney Harbour at the Extreme Sailing Series™ presented by Land Rover, with the city’s famous ‘Southerly Buster’ playing havoc on the racecourse before the fleet even left the dock. It is only third time in this history of the Series mother nature has forced the organisers to cancel racing, and the first day of racing missed this year. The 10 elite level teams will have to wait another day before the final showdown of the 2014 season begins.

As Race Director Phil Lawrence explained, the unmanageable conditions coincided with the anticipated start of racing and the strong wind showed no signs of abating. “Unfortunately the weather forecast was very accurate. As predicted the breeze built to over 30 knots at the scheduled start time. The very experienced Extreme 40 sailor Mitch Booth was on the water with the Land Rover Extreme 40 beforehand, and he confirmed it was quickly building and too gusty for the boats to race safely. Tomorrow the conditions look lighter, so hopefully we can get this show on the road.”

With the breeze building to 45 knots along the coast, Australia’s 2008 Olympic champion in the 470 class and GAC Pindar skipper Nathan Wilmot agreed with the decision: “I think it’s the right decision; it would have carnage had we gone out. It’s a bit of a shame not to get out on the first day but it is only the first day of the regatta so we would all look a bit silly if we went out there and capsized, broke masts and no one was able to go out tomorrow”. Looking to the week ahead, Nathan continued: “We’re going to try and get around the course as safe as possible, be up there and mix it up with the top guys and hopefully hit towards the top of the leaderboard by the end of the regatta.”

Three more days of racing remain at the Extreme Sailing Series in Sydney, and three more days of the 2014 season, and with the conditions expected to subside enough tomorrow to begin racing, the teams are gearing up for plenty of action.

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Morgan Larson has one hand on the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series trophy after Alinghi snatch victory in Nice

Posted on 06 October 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Morgan Larson and the Swiss team Alinghi snatched victory from the hands of their fellow countrymen Realteam in the final race at the Extreme Sailing Series in Nice, to take victory on French waters in front of thousands of spectators – and with that they now have one hand firmly placed on the 2014 Series trophy. With only one Act to go this year, Alinghi have extended their lead at the top of the Series leaderboard to eight points over The Wave, Muscat, but with 20 points up for the taking in Sydney, and five teams capable of a podium position, it’s not over until it’s over, and as Larson commented, it is just getting harder and harder to win races. “We were confident at the start of the year that we had a little bit of an edge, but now the rest of the field are showing some real force. I think now you are seeing the future. More than half the fleet have the ability to win an event, and that’s exactly what we’re going to see going into Sydney. That event is going to be worth double points, and if we go out with a bad performance and The Wave, Muscat or Emirates Team New Zealand come in with a strong one – we’re going to lose. So we’ve got to go out and try and get back on the podium.”

Alinghi’s biggest Series rivals The Wave, Muscat needed to pull something special out of the bag today after starting in eleventh. The team showed early signs of recovery, winning two of the first four races, but Leigh McMillan and the teams hopes were dashed when a penalty took him from third to last in race five, from which they never recovered, to finish the regatta in eighth. “We said we would push hard, we did and we won some races. We’ve really learnt from these lessons”, commented a pragmatic McMillan. “We’ve had a pretty good run for the last two and a half years and it’s only a matter of time before you slip up and make mistakes. You learn from those, and we’ll be going into Sydney very much looking to win.”

Alinghi are one step closer to the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series championship title. Nice, 5 October 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

Realteam, who led for the first two days in Nice, have been impressive on the French Riviera but couldn’t quite hold off the more experienced Alinghi. The Swiss team, who has improved Act by Act this year, took second overall, matching their season best from Act 3, Qingdao, which skipper Jerome Clerc was satisfied with. “We are really happy to finish second on this Act. We sailed very well today but unfortunately we did very badly on the last race which counts double and is key to win. But this is part of the game; we are a young team compared to Alinghi which has a strong experience on this kind of Stadium Racing. Everything remains open for the last Act of Sydney where points count for double, so I am sure it will be a fierce battle.”

J.P. Morgan BAR had their strategy sussed today, using the same tactics in every race start to come off the pin end of the line, and their persistence paid dividends. The Brits, led by four-times Olympic champion Ben Ainslie, scored two race wins and fifth place in the final race of the day was enough to finish in third overall – their second podium position of the year. “It was another really tough day here, as they all have been, with the winds changing a lot and the tough competition. But we seemed to find our feet a little bit more and get a good solid set of results together and finish on the podium so we are really happy with that”, said Ainslie. “It’s been challenging for all the teams but for us it’s been really good in a number of ways, we have worked on a different areas and we are happy with how we developed through the week.”

Seven races were sailed on the final day, with 29 in total over four days, and the threatening thunderstorm played havoc with the breeze, causing big shifts that meant mistakes were punished hard. The Austrians on Red Bull Sailing Team were unphased, and had great upwind speed today, which propelled them up the leaderboard from eighth at the start of the day to fourth overall, just missing out on their first podium position of the year by one point. Summing up the team’s week, the teams skipper Roman Hagara commented: “It’s very good for the team. We were improving over the last couple of days so I think it’s good motivation for the last event, and we know we can do it, which is really good. It was a tough start for us, we had our heads down on the first and second day and we just thought: this is not how we want to perform here. On the first day we struggled in the light winds, so we changed tactics each day and it just got better and better and in the end it worked out really well for us. It’s just little improvements but it really helps.”

Emirates Team New Zealand came home a respectable fifth place, which has secured them third on the overall Series rankings place heading to Sydney, while GAC Pindar secured their best result of the year, finishing in sixth place.

In seventh was SAP Extreme Sailing Team, who have steadily improved as the week has progressed to finish in seventh, with the home favourite Groupama sailing team finishing in ninth, and tied with The Wave, Muscat. Rob Greenhalgh’s Oman Air finished in tenth, with Phil Robertson and Gazprom Team Russia bringing up the rear, who struggled to replicate their early regatta form.

Only four days of racing are left this year with mathematically five teams: Alinghi, The Wave, Muscat, Emirates Team New Zealand, Realteam and J.P. Morgan BAR, capable of a podium position as the fleet head Down Under to Sydney, Australia for the final Act of the year. The fleet will race on one of the world’s most famous waterfronts in the heart of Sydney, with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge providing the iconic backdrop. Over 30 races are left to decide the 2014 Series champion and only one thing is for sure; it is going to go down to the wire!

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 7 Nice standings after Day 4, 29 races (5.10.14)
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 183 points.
2nd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wasem 171 points.
3rd J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 161 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Thomas Cjakgak, Stewart Dodson 160 points.
5th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Peter Burling, Glenn Ashby, Blair Tuke, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 156 points.
6th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Seve Jarvin, Hugh Styles, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski 146 points.
7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 145 points.
8th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 143 points.
9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Tanguy Cariou, Valentin Bellet, Arnaud Jarlegan, Devan Le Bihan 143 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 138 points.
11th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 133 points.

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A day to forget for The Wave, Muscat in Nice

Posted on 04 October 2014 by Reporter

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] The third day of racing on the French Riviera for the Extreme 40s could prove to be one of the most defining days of the whole 2014 season, with the leaderboard well and truly blown open. There were plenty of movers and shakers in the rankings, but the most significant moves came from Alinghi, who came to Nice with a slender one-point lead in the Series rankings, between them and the team challenging them for the season title, The Wave, Muscat. The Swiss took an impressive 54 points from a possible 70, while the Omanis could only add 21 to their tally, and the result: Alinghi lead, The Wave, Muscat last going into tomorrow’s final showdown, leaving The Wave, Muscat now planning their damage limitation strategy.

Explaining what worked for them today, Morgan Larson commented: “Sometimes in the light air, if you just focus on your positioning, your tactics and your starts and ignore the other boats – it works. That was our strategy this morning; ignore the other boats. I know I keep my loose eye on The Wave, Muscat all the time, and the team remind me to just sail the boat well, and we did that – which in turn will put the pressure on them. It’s working, but there’s still a lot of races to go.”

For the defending champions from Oman it was a day of sailing they will want to forget. But while the team are down, they are by no means out and when the pressure is on, Leigh McMillan has more then enough ability to rise to the challenge and bounce back, which the team’s tactician Sarah Ayton was positive about: “It was a really tough day – the conditions were such that if you had a good start then you could lead either into the left or into the right and that’s were the gains were. As a team we are solid, our roles, routines, the synergy on the boat is good – so we’ll just take a bit of time to reflect on our performance and have another go tomorrow.”

Realteam, who have led the regatta since day one, did well to maintain their podium position and head into tomorrow in second place, just 10 points behind Alinghi, and three ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, somewhat to the relief of Skipper Jérôme Clerc. “It was a tough day for us, we are surprised by the overall standings because we didn’t think we had a good day. The plan of attack for tomorrow is to continue to navigate as we did the first few days, it is quite regular and strategy work. The mindset will also play a role tomorrow because it is going to be complicated; everyone will want to attack and be on the podium.”

Seven races were sailed, and with so much at stake, the teams took plenty of risks in the light conditions, often rolling the dice and trying to break away from the pack to make gains. On the tight and congested racetrack, mistakes were punished hard; misjudge the start and there was no coming back, find yourself stuck in a hole in the wind and sufferer the consequences. Those who could minimise mistakes and stay out of trouble rose to the top, and it was a great day of racing for Rob Greenhalgh and the team from the Sultanate of Oman, Oman Air, scoring two race wins to upgrade their overnight position from eighth to fourth at the close of play. “It was a difficult day, we didn’t start off brilliantly but then we had a string of reasonable results all the way through,” said Greenhalgh “We were good downwind and made some good decisions. We will go out tomorrow and do the best we can – the team has made excellent progress and we hope to continue to.”

Behind them is J.P. Morgan BAR who had a consistently inconsistent day like much of the fleet, currently in fifth place and leading the middle of the pack. Just one point behind are the new boys from Down Under on GAC Pindar, and while it has been a steep learning curve this season the team are getting better Act by Act, as skipper Nathan Wilmot explained: “I think we’ve learnt a lot over the last couple of regattas. Generally we are being more consistent although we had a couple of bad races today. I think we are learning a lot and up there fighting at the top of the fleet in a lot of the races, so we’ve just got to try and keep it up and hopefully we’ll keep doing it come Sydney.”

Gazprom Team Russia tumbled a few places on the leaderboard, and finish the day tied on points with Red Bull Sailing Team in seventh place. Roman Hagara and his crew had a much better day, making the right sort of waves to move up from eleventh to eighth at the close of play and their double Olympic champion skipper Roman Hagara explained what was different: “We sat down as a team yesterday and tried to analyse all of the things we did that were both bad and good, and then came up with a plan for today. So we’ve continuously improved over the last three days, and that’s what we’ll try and do tomorrow.”

As is the way in Extreme Sailing Series, the final double points race can be a shoot-out that always has twists and turns, and expect tomorrow to be no different, with any team mathematically capable of a top three finish at the close of play.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 7 Nice standings after Day 3, 22 races (4.10.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) 135 points.
2nd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 125 points.
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 122 points.
4th Oman Air (OMA) 120 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 110 points.
6th GAC Pindar (AUS) 109 points.
7th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 106 points.
8th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 106 points.
9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 105 points.
10th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 98 points.
11th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 95 points.

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