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Friday, December 19, 2014

Nicho Returns To Mauritius To Salvage Boat - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Team Vestas Wind skipper Chris Nicholson (AUS) has flown back to a remote Indian Ocean reef to help oversee a complicated operation to retrieve his stranded boat after it was grounded there during Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race nearly three weeks ago.
Photo: Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind/Volvo Ocean Race
The 45-year-old flew in to Mauritius last night (December 17) to join the team’s shore chief Neil Cox, a fellow Australian, who is leading the process.
Photo: Marc Bow/Volvo Ocean Race
Cox is one of the most experienced men in the business but the challenge to free the stricken Volvo Ocean 65 vessel from the grip of the reef in the Cargados Carajos Shoals (St Brandon), is a new one, even for him.
Photo: Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind/Volvo Ocean Race
It has been there since the afternoon of November 29, when the boat ran on to the rocks at around 19 knots (35 kph), and forced Nicholson and the eight other men on board to abandon ship. The skipper eventually led his crew to safety.

“The ultimate plan, the gold-medal prize we’re reaching for, is to get the boat buoyant enough to float across the lagoon to get it into more protected water,” Cox told www.volvooceanrace.com.

“That would stop it disintegrating out on the reef, and, at the same time, once we get to the other side of the reef, gives us the chance to set it up in a controlled fashion to either be able to tow the boat back to Mauritius, or to use the derrick of the Maersk Line ship coming here on Monday to get it on board.”

Cox, who has worked with Nicholson on two previous Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, added: “The race has taken me through some pretty bizarre scenarios, but I would say that this one is unique.”

Nicholson and Cox set up the recovery operation in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis, liaising with local resources, chartering a boat they will use as a mother ship, getting all the necessary tools through customs and the permits to go back to the archipelago 430km away where the boat lies.

“We’ll base ourselves on this mother ship, on the inside of the lagoon. It’s on the leeward side of the reef and two and half miles away from the boat. The ship has the facilities for us to live onboard, because there is no way for us to stay on the island. We’ve also chartered local fishing boats to cross the lagoon everyday.

“It’s a case of how structurally sound the boat is, and what we can utilise to get it buoyant again. And anything that floats, float tanks, buoyancy bags, you name it, is coming out with us.”

He continued: “We want to bring as much of the boat back as possible. If anything can be recycled or used for a potential new boat, we have to do everything in our power to make that happen.

“The reality is, it’s a very dangerous workplace we’re going to. It doesn’t have all the nice things we have in the stopovers. It’s in the middle of the ocean. We’re on our own. And, while I’d avoid the cheap shark headlines, yes, there is a lot more activity (of sharks) on the reef at nighttime.”

Cox has seen much in his career but the saga still continues to astound him.

“Every now and then I feel like I’ll wake up and it’ll all just be a crazy dream, and I’d say, 'wahoo, wasn’t that the worst dream I’ve had in a long while?’ ”

Volvo Ocean Race Media

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Alinghi Wins Act 8 in Sydney and 2014 Extreme Sailing Series Title

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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“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,” Larson said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“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 occasions 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,” Larson said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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’, Jérôme 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. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“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.”
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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. 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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“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," Wilmot said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
What the sailors said:

“We did as well as we could have done today, and the points worked out well. The atmosphere out there was great, with all the spectator boats, the people on the shore cheering as you went passed was pretty amazing. After coming last in day one to come back and win the next two days to get fourth overall is fantastic – I wish I had adapted to these boats one day earlier! It was tricky the first day, I felt I was out of my league,” said Tom Slingsby, Oman Air:

“Sydney is without a doubt the best venue the Extreme Sailing Series has ever been to. You can’t beat the backdrop, you can’t beat the breeze, the locals… the whole package is perfect Extreme Sailing Series conditions,” said Paul Campbell-James, J.P. Morgan BAR

“The last few events have been good for us and we’ve definitely improved as a team. We keep getting stronger and stronger and we had a pretty good event here in Sydney. We had a really strong day today, so that’s a great way to end the season, and hopefully we can carry it on into next year. It was awesome conditions here, lots of wind and today was just perfect especially with that sea breeze direction, we couldn’t have asked for more,” said Phil Robertson, Gazprom Team Russia.

“Our highlight of the year was Nice and we had a really good battle with the top guys and we were close behind J.P. Morgan BAR. The final Act in Sydney was definitely another highlight, coming back to the place where we won our Olympic gold medal. We had quite a good start to the season and then in Qingdao we had a big crash with Alinghi and we dropped from fourth place to ninth I think, and after that it didn’t work out so well for us. I think it was still in our heads and we weren’t aggressive enough. Towards the end of the season everything worked out a little bit better, but still we weren’t where we should have been.” said Roman Hagara, Red Bull Sailing Team.

“It has been a though year for us, that’s no secret. We had some good regattas but also some though ones, that’s the way it is. We have a strong team, there are a lot of good sailors in the team and I am sure we can come back stronger, that’s definitely our goal,” said Jes Gram-Hansen, SAP Extreme Sailing Team.

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, Garth Ellingham, 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.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Lumix Wins 18ft Skiffs Syd. Barnett Memorial Trophy - Sydney Harbour

18ft Skiffs Syd. Barnett Memorial Trophy
Sunday 14 December 2014, Sydney Harbour

Ash Rooklyn replaced Jonathan Whitty on Lumix and scored his first 18ft Skiff win as a skipper when he teamed with Aron Everett and Daniel Nixon to win the Syd. Barnett Memorial Trophy race on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Lumix grabbed the lead after rounding the first set of windward marks and was never in any real danger of defeat as the team sailed faultlessly around the North-East course.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane, Tom Anderson, Paul Montague) was 33 seconds behind the winner, in second place, with Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York, Greg Dixon, Matt Stenta) a further 1m25s back in thid place.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
From the scratch start, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) led narrowly over a group of challengers including Smeg (David Witt), De’Longhi (Simon Nearn), Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) and Appliancesonline.com.au.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Mojo Wine, skippered by Australian 16 Footer champion Lee Knapton, was also well placed at the start but a gear problem forced last week’s winner back to the tail of the fleet.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Smeg was the first skiff to its windward mark (blue) but Lumix took advantage of a red buoy mark rounding to grab a narrow lead as spinnakers were set for the run to the wing mark off Shark Island. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers had to travel further to the white buoy, which allowed Appliancesonline.com.au and Compassmarkets.com to slip inside.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Rooklyn and his young team showed their class as they sailed a perfect course to open up a clear break over De’Longhi, Appliancesonline, Compassmarkets, Smeg, Fisher & Paykel (Rob Flanagan) and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
These placings remained unchanged at the bottom mark (end of first lap) where Lumix held a 45s margin over De’Longhi.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
At the second set of windward marks, Lumix lead had blown out to 1m10s over Appliancesonline and Compassmarkets which were only secs. Apart. Smeg was fourth and clearly ahead of a large group on the second spinnaker run.Over the final lap of the course, the top four positions remained unchanged.

The Kitchen Maker (John Sweeny) finished in fifth place, ahead of Fisher & Paykel, De’Longhi and Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones).Gotta Love It 7 didn’t start in today’s race as Seve Jarvin and his crew were involved in the final of the Extreme Sailing Series off the Opera House.
Frank Quealey

Dutch Victory With An Aussie Twist - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Bouwe Bekking (NED) and Team Brunel found a very timely change of gear to sweep past Dongfeng Race Team and edge to a 16-minute victory in an incident-packed Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
The wily Dutch campaigner, competing in a record-equalling seventh race, looked likely to have lost out in a thrilling sprint to the finish in the 5,200 nautical mile second stage with some five hours to go.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
Suddenly, Team Brunel found an extra surge of wind pressure to sweep past Charles Caudrelier’s (FRA) men even though the boats were only a couple of hundred metres apart and before long they were a mile clear.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
Bouwe and his equally experienced navigator, Andrew Cape (AUS), have too much know-how to let an advantage like that slip and for the second leg running, the Chinese boat was forced to settle for runners-up spot.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
In the first leg from Alicante to Cape Town, they were pipped by 12 minutes by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR). This time it was 16 minutes, an agonisingly small distance after more than three weeks at sea. Team Brunel's final elapsed time was 23 days 16 hours 25 minutes and 20 seconds.

The leg may always be remembered for the grounding of the Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) boat on a reef in the middle of the Indian Ocean on November 29, 10 days after the departure from Cape Town, which forced their abandonment from the stage, but this grandstand finish will also stay long in the memory.

Certainly, Bekking will not forget it in a hurry. The big Dutch skipper, 51, who took part in his first Whitbread Round the World Race back in 1985-86, showed off his trademark wide smile as he cruised from the finish to a packed dock in Abu Dhabi on a flawless, sun-drenched morning.

"It is a good feeling," he beamed. "I’ve always said, it’s better to be lucky than good but we’ve been good this leg as well so it’s so nice to win this one because it could have been an easy leg to finish last. It’s just really nice to get the scores but the team did a fantastic job, we sailed the boat much better than in the first leg."

Caudrelier could not conceal his disappointment in a pre-finish call to Race HQ:

“Brunel have been much faster than us since a few days and we don’t know why. We’re a bit disappointed because we did a good job to pass them, but they keep passing us. You have to do well, but you also have to be fast. If you’re not fast, it’s difficult to win a leg.

“We’re not so happy (about second). We always want to improve, but for sure it’s good news for Dongfeng. We try to do the leg and try to improve it every leg. We showed that we can play the match with the best, and we’re proud of that.”

There is consolation, though, for Caudrelier and his crew. Their second runners-up spot leaves them equal on points at the top of the standings with Team Brunel and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, who were easing in for third place.

They all have four points but Team Brunel and Ian Walker’s (GBR) men are ranked above Dongfeng Race Team because of victories each has already achieved.

The Dutch boat get the highest placing because they have the most recent victory but after the successive second super-tight finish one thing is for sure: there’s all to play for with seven legs to go before the race finale in Gothenburg on June 27.

Volvo Ocean Race Media 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Alinghi Keep The Dream Alive - Extreme Sailing Series, Sydney

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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“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,” said Alinghi Skipper Chris Larson.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“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 have to put the pressure on to Alinghi tomorrow and let them make the mistakes,” said The Wave, Muscat's tactician, Sarah Ayton.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Every podium place is still open at Act 8 Sydney but with 20 points up for grabs 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. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“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 at 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,” said Realteam's Skipper Jérôme Clerc.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“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,” said Co-Skipper Jes Gram-Hansen
Photo: © Lloyd Images
It was also an impressive day by GAC Pindar, whose skipper Nathan Wilmot also celebrated his 35th birthday. 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. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8 Sydney presented by Land Rover standings after Day 3, 18 races 

Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 127 points.
2nd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wasem 125 points.
3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 120 points.
4th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 108 points.
5th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 103 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 100 points.
7th Oman Air (OMA) Tom Slingsby, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Joey Newton, Ali Al Balashi 87 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 83 points.
9th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Seve Jarvin, Matt Mitchell, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski 79 points.
10th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Tanguy Cariou, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Hervé Cunningham 73 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Wave, Muscat Leads After Massive Day on Sydney Harbour - Extreme Sailing Series

The fleet might have lost yesterday’s racing because of 45 knot gusts on Sydney Harbour, but today the city delivered in style and the sailors patience was rewarded with some of the best racing of the season so far, at the final Act of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series™ presented by Land Rover.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
A physically exhausting 10 races were sailed, with all the teams pulling some big punches out of the water that resulted in seven different race winners. Oman’s The Wave, Muscat blasted round the tight course and despite a huge nose dive in the first race that almost saw the team lose control, racked up two race wins and two second places putting Leigh McMillan’s team at the top of the rankings at the end of the day.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It was a pretty feisty day to be honest – full on. There were big gusts and it was massively shifty so it was pretty hard to be consistent. We had to make quick decisions,” McMillan said. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
With only two days left this season, McMillan’s attentions quickly shifted to the bigger prize: “We know we have a lot to do and Morgan’s (Larson, Alinghi) not far behind on the leaderboard, but he had a better day than we had hoped today to be honest. We could have done with him being further back but we’ll keep working away at it tomorrow and give ourselves the best possible position we can.”
Photo: © Lloyd Images
With 18 knots of breeze and gusts up to 24 knots that blasted across the course like bullets from the surrounding city skyscrapers, the fleet had it all on to remain in control of their over-powered catamarans, against the backdrop of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the Royal Botanical Gardens. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Reaching starts and incredibly tight mark roundings had the trimmers working in overdrive as they powered around the track trying to capitalise on the pressure points and avoid the lulls in the breeze. 
The Swiss Realteam were impressive, with two race wins helping to secure them second place, and getting their campaign for the Series podium off to a flying start – literally, as the fastest average boat on the water – while one win for Morgan Larson and Alinghi sees them in a comfortable third place at the end of play.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It was a good effort by the guys and they muscled the boat around. Every point counts and it’s going to come down to one or two points I know, so it’s good to know we didn’t get any last place finishes. We know what we have to do tomorrow. Now it’s time to get more aggressive and go after it, but being too aggressive on a new course, in a tight zone with winds gusting between 15 and 25 knots could really get you in trouble,” Larson said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
One duo who know their way around Sydney Harbour better than most is Roman Hagara and his right-hand man Hans Peter Steinacher of Red Bull Sailing Team, who picked up their first of two Olympic gold medals here in 2000. The team put their knowledge to great use, sailing a slick course and executing the fewest manoeuvres according to the SAP analytics, and a race win coupled with two second places leaves them tied on points with J.P. Morgan BAR in fourth.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We know Sydney well, and it’s great to be back and see how much interest there is in sailing here. There were lots of spectators supporting the racing today from the Botanical Gardens, which is incredible to see. The racing was good for us – we did some really nice starts and had some really nice crew work – we are pleased with the race win so we are happy with the first day,” Hagara said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
One team who took it too close to the rocks was Gazprom Team Russia, and the sound of carbon crunching could be heard from the shore as the team run aground. However, two race wins for the Russian meant it was a mixed day.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It was really close and difficult out there. There are massive shifts and big puffs so it was pretty hard getting off the line. It’s a hard one to read but it was fantastic down by the windward mark. We were pushing it a little too close, but that’s what you do when you’re racing at this level – you’re trying for every inch. It’s an awesome spot and a great viewing point for the spectators,” said skipper Phil Robertson.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
It was a tough day in the office for the two skippers from Down Under, Nathan Wilmot and Tom Slingsby, whose local knowledge was no match for the more experienced Extreme 40 fleet. It’s a big ask for any sailor to step into this fleet at this stage in the season, and even Slingsby whose enviable CV boasts five Laser World Championship titles as well as an Olympic gold, struggled with some boat handling errors as the new skipper of Oman Air. But a win in the final race of the day made it clear we will see a lot more of this team over the weekend.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Tomorrow is the penultimate day of the season, and it is all about clocking up those valuable points on the Act 8 Sydney presented by Land Rover leaderboard with every team wanting to finish on a high. Extreme Sailing Series commentator David Carr has predicted one more twist in the season this year, and with a lighter breeze and glorious sunshine on the forecast for the coming days, it’s not over until it’s over.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8 Sydney Standings after Day 2, 10 races (12.12.14)
Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 75 points.
2nd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wasem 74 points.
3rd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 70 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 61 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 61 points.
6th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 49 points.
7th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Tanguy Cariou, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Hervé Cunningham 49 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 41 points.
9th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Seve Jarvin, Matt Mitchell, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski 40 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Tom Slingsby, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Joey Newton, Ali Al Balashi 30 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media