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Monday, August 25, 2014

The Wave, Muscat Win Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 in Cardiff

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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The leaders pressured 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 to close in on Alinghi in the overall 2014 Series leaderboard rankings.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“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,” The Wave, Muscat's skipper Leigh McMillan said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We were waiting for Leigh (McMillan) 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,” Alinghi’s Olympic champion tactician Anna Tunnicliffe said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
"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,” Ainslie said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“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,” Red Bull Sailing Team's skipper Roman Hagara said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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 Jerôme Clerc and his Swiss team leapfrog up the Series leaderboard, to third place.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
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.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5 Cardiff, standings after Day 4, 33 races
Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 210 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 205 points.
3rd J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 203 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 186 points.
5th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem 182 points.
6th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 175 points.
7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Jonas Hviid-Nielsen, Brad Farrand, Nicolai Sehested 174 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 154 points.
9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Romain Motteau, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 154 points.
10th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Hugh Styles, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, James Wierzbowski 153 points.
11th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Ray Davies, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 151 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Wave Muscat in Pole Position - Extreme Sailing Series Cardiff - Day 3

What a difference a day makes. If yesterday’s Extreme 40 racing on Cardiff Bay was all about power, today was about tactics and finesse, with light breeze dancing across the bay, at Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Just five point scoring races were added to the tally – but five all important leaderboard changing races – with the pressure piling on the teams to lay down a strong performance ahead of tomorrow’s final day. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
One team with huge pressure on their shoulders in Cardiff is The Wave, Muscat, who need an Act win here to keep in touch with the top of the overall Series leaderboard and skipper Leigh McMillan more than rose to the challenge, adding 33 points to their score to overhaul Alinghi, and lead the pack for the first time, heading into tomorrow’s racing. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It’s very important for us to win tomorrow. We’ve been on the back foot with Alinghi this season so far and it will be good to get one back on them, that’s for sure. We’re solid as a team, everyone’s working really hard together so we are looking forward to closing this one out” McMillan said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The forecast was for eight to 10 knots, but three races in it looked like a complete shut down with just light zephyrs of breeze across the track. The teams thought it was all over, before the breeze filled in quashing those fears, and their patience was rewarded with eight knots and two final races, allowing the fleet to brush away their frustrations and really stretch their legs. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“You just have to keep focused and be ready for a race to come in late, which I think we were. We knew what we were fighting for but we didn’t execute it too well. It will be full ontomorrow, we are ready to fight until the end and really want to step up our game from today,” said SAP Extreme Sailing Team’s co-skipper Rasmus Kostner.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
It temporarily looked like the wheels had fallen off the Swiss campaign today and we saw Morgan Larson and the team on Alinghi rattled for the first time this year, unable to touch the top half of the pack in the opening three races. But the team used the delay in racing to their advantage, digging deep, debriefing, and regrouping, to finish the day on a high with a fourth and second place. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It went quite badly, we couldn’t really do much worse. I didn’t come out on form, my head wasn’t clear and I wasn’t making clear decisions and lost us a lot of points, which we didn’t need. So it was disappointing, but the crew stayed tough and everyone was focused and we finished with some keepers. Luckily there is another day,” Larson said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
For the first three races the top of leaderboard was changing with every finish. First McMillan overhauling Larson, then Ben Ainslie taking advantage of a penalty for Alinghi to temporarily overhaul the Swiss before Alinghi’s late surge secured them second place. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
J.P. Morgan BAR are now seven points shy of Alinghi, but with a fairly comfortable – but by no means untouchable – 20 point cushion over fourth placed Realteam. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We need to sail thinking about the team rather than focusing on the podium. We managed to stay consistent and climbed one place in the ranking to fourth position, which is good. We are sailing well but we still have potential to improve. We will need to stay focused tomorrow and avoid big mistakes if we want to be within the top three. We have been on the podium twice this year so it would be amazing to show the consistency of our team, which is far from being among the favourites of the circuit,” said  Realteam's Swiss skipper Jerôme Clerc.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The battle mid leaderboard is also raging, with SAP Extreme Sailing Team only three points behind Realteam with Oman Air a further six points back and Red Bull Sailing Team three points behind them in seventh place. And with 20 points up for grabs in tomorrow’s final double points race, the podium is not an insurmountable challenge for any of those teams. There is frustration in the Emirates Team New Zealand camp, who have finished on the podium for the last three Acts, but tomorrow it will be a big ask, with a 26 point deficit to Red Bull Sailing Team.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
GAC Pindar are a further four points back but were the form team of the day clocking up more points then any other in what was their best day of the season.

“I think windward-leeward courses suited us today, we tried to stay clean and away from the main pack, get good starts and it seemed to work. The first three races we had really good starts, good positioning and got away. The aim was to keep our noses clean and get away in good shape,” said skipper Nathan Wilmot after racing.

Tomorrow will call with a shift in mindset, with a big weather front on the way, bringing with it 25 knots of breeze and thunderstorms to round out what has so far been a spectacular event as the headline Act of the Cardiff Harbour Festival. Watch the final races live from 1530 BST, where you can bet it is going to go down to the wire.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5 Cardiff, standings after Day 3, 25 races (24.08.14)
Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 172 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 165 points.
3rd J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 158 points.
4th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem 138 points.
5th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Jonas Hviid-Nielsen, Brad Farrand, Nicolai Sehested 135 points.
6th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 129 points.
7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 126 points.
8th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Ray Davies, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 110 points.
9th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Hugh Styles, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, James Wierzbowski 106 points.
10th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 105 points.
11th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Romain Motteau, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 99 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gusty Conditions and Drama Aplenty at Extreme Sailing Series in Cardiff - Day 2

The grudge match on Cardiff Bay continued today, where there was no quarter given and no margin for error as a colossal 10 races were sailed, plus a knock out round at Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ presented by Land Rover.
Alinghi Photo: © Lloyd Images
With an average of 10 knots of breeze and gusts up to 18 knots rolling across the course, the fleet tore around the tight track travelling at up to 24 knots, and Morgan Larson and Alinghi kept it cool under the pressure, with two race wins enough to elevate themselves to the top of the leaderboard – despite missing out on the gold final in the knock out round. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
 “We have figured out a good strategy that works for us, which means keeping it clean and consistent, staying out of trouble and doing what we want to do. Today it was crazy and we had to be full on with the boat handling. Personally, Cardiff is one of my favourite venues for sailing. It keeps us on our toes all the time,” explained the team’s Olympic champion tactician, Anna Tunnicliffe.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
With races lasting just six minutes, manouvres had to be executed quickly and with precision, with rapid deploys of the gennakers, before gybing and furling all in less than 20 seconds. As the breeze built throughout the day, Leigh McMillan and the team on The Wave, Muscat looked relaxed and in control, slowly chipping away at the leaderboard throughout the day, with two race wins enough to upgrade their overnight position from fourth to second. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“I like pacing myself and it takes time to get everything clicking. For us it’s about getting details right. It’s largely down to the starts still but towards the end of the day we were getting it right. We are on the up and hopefully that gave other people something to worry about,” McMillan said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
It was a mixed day for both J.P. Morgan BAR and SAP Extreme Sailing team, who were first and second respectively coming into today. Neither could quite follow up on their storming first day, the Brits now in third and the Danish in fourth – but still very much in contact with the lead. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It was a tricky day today, we were really punching off the start line. Yesterday we were controlling things from the front but today was pretty different, we weren’t really performing as well on the starts which means that you are fighting your way within the pack but the mood is still pretty good on the boat. We are still moving forwards in the fleet whether we are at the front or the back; it is all pretty encouraging,” said Paul Campbell-James, who is sailing with Ben Ainslie for the first time this week.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The Wave, Muscat’s stablemates on Oman Air were also impressive today, as were Realteam, both slowly clocking up the points, and making this a real six horse race halfway through the Act. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We had a bunch of good races and had some good starts. We are finally getting some time in the boat with the same people and its really making a difference. The communication and split second decisions are critical. It’s very competitive out on the start and everyone is fighting for every inch. The decision you make two minutes from the start has a big impact on the whole race. It’s about fighting boat on boat,” Oman Air’s skipper Rob Greenhalgh said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
With the boats hitting top speeds of 24 knots, and with a racecourse just 300 metres wide in places, the fleet went shoulder-to-shoulder on the congested startline and even closer during the mark roundings. Emirates Team New Zealand found out just how tight the course was in the fifth race of the day when SAP Extreme Sailing team careered into the back of them. The incident knocked out their rudders and left the Kiwis without any steering. Dean Barker and crew headed for the beach and were out of the following two races while the on water repairs were made. The jury will decide tomorrow if a redress is applicable.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Red Bull Sailing Team showed a marked improvement today, with two much needed race wins giving the team a boost up the leaderboard to seventh place, as well as morale. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We had some good starts, and tried not to make any mistakes around the racetrack. If you can get ahead of the fleet then you’re in a good position. It’s really important to get good starts, and today we managed a few, but we still have to work on them. It’s always good racing here in Cardiff with lots of spectators to watch the racing,” Red Bull Sailing Team's skipper Roman Hagara said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Gazprom Team Russia also had a better day today with a string of results in the top half of the fleet – despite being a little trigger happy off the start.

“We had a really good day off the line today. We kept it as consistent as we could to keep the routine going and it worked, so we stuck with it and it paid off most of the time. I pulled the trigger a little early in some races and we had three races over the line. We were possibly pushing the starts really hard and that’s the result: you either get in front and get a great start or you are over the line and you have to drop back. The start is everything.” said helmsman Phil Robertson.

Groupama sailing team were unable to make the overnight repairs needed following yesterday's collision with GAC Pindar, but will be back on the water for tomorrow and will be awarded average points for the races they have missed, making it a full fleet of 11 boats for the penultimate day’s racing at the Cardiff Harbour Festival.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5 Cardiff standings after Day 2, 20 races (23.08.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 141 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 139 points.
3rd J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 131 points.
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Jonas Hviid-Nielsen, Brad Farrand, Nicolai Sehested 120 points.
5th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem 113 points.
6th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 106 points.
7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 91 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 87 points.
9th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Ray Davies, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 75 points.
10th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Hugh Styles, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, James Wierzbowski 67 points.
11th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Romain Motteau, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 33 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Carnage on First Day of Extreme Sailing Series in Cardiff

The towering masts of the Extreme Sailing Series fleet dominated the Cardiff Bay skyline today, as the best of the sailing world took to the water under bright skies and tactically demanding winds, that ended with the home team J.P. Morgan BAR in pole position – but a night of repairs in the pitlane for three teams, ahead of the event officially opening to the public tomorrow as part of the Cardiff Harbour Festival.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Today’s series of nine races came in thick and fast, each lasting less than 10 minutes, leaving the sailors muscling the huge sails at the front of the boat physically exhausted, and the tacticians and helms at back mentally drained. The new combination on J.P. Morgan BAR of Paul Campbell-James and Ben Ainslie were unstoppable, timing the starts perfectly as the fastest boat off the startline according to the SAP sailing analytics, leaving the rest of the fleet in their wake.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It was a very physical day for our guys and we have been working very hard on the fitness and it is beginning to pay off. We love racing in front of the home fans, we don’t often get the opportunity in the UK to race at home, and this is a great venue, so it is very special. It is a tricky course. You really need to get a good start with the shifty conditions,” Ainslie said.  
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“The goal is more of the same tomorrow. It is one day at a time, a lot happens at times during this Series, it is very tight racing; all the teams are very strong so we just need to keep our heads down and keep working hard to be in the mix for the final day,” he added.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
By the ninth and final race of the day, the breeze was up and Race Management made the decision to remove guest sailors. Shortly after at the top of the track, GAC Pindar couldn’t hold back the pace during a tight mark rounding to keep clear of Groupama sailing team, careering into the side of the French boat on port, going from 10 knots to a standstill in seconds as shown by the SAPanalytics, leaving both with a long night ahead. 

“There was a group of around five boats coming into the top mark, we tried to go around Groupama sailing team with a few boats to leeward of us and we didn’t quite get far enough and we went through the side of them. We have a little damage to our port bow and snapped our pole, so not too bad: just a little bit of a repair to get done. Groupama sailing team had half a bow in the side of their boat so they’ve got a little more on than us unfortunately,” explained GACPindar helmsman Nathan Wilmot

“When we realised that GAC Pindar was trying to pass behind us bearing away, we knew that they were going to crash into us. The damage on the boat is quite substantial, which is a real shame. We are going to do our best to fix the boat on time but we are not sure whether we will be able to race tomorrow,” said Groupama sailing team's skipper Franck Cammas.

Nine races saw six different race winners, two of which went to SAP Extreme Sailing Team who were the model of consistency, having perhaps their best day of the year so far and showing the return to form expected from the Danish, to finish the day in second place, eight points behind the Brits. 

“We had a good day and we managed to read the pre-start very nicely and came off the line in a good spot. It becomes very difficult if you don’t get that part right as it’s so difficult to overtake in this racecourse. You just go from one manoeuvre to the next, so everything worked really well for us today,” said SAP Extreme Sailing Team's co-skipper Rasmus Kostner

The Danish are one point ahead of current Series leaders Alinghi, in third place, who showed a momentary uncharacteristic chink in their amour today with three race finishes at the bottom half of the pack.

The Wave, Muscat are a further two points back, with Realteam in fifth place, but with a night of repairs to a delaminated hull, after a scrap with Gazprom Team Russia. Oman Air, who came out of the blocks scoring a bullet in the opening race in Cardiff, are just behind the Swiss Realteam in sixth place with 44 points.

With a start line just 300 metres wide and set just off the shore, the pre-start strategy was essential, with 11 boats jostling to find the best spot, hunt out clean air and trying to stay clear of the dog fight mid fleet. Emirates Team New Zealand found themselves deeper in the pack then they would have wanted for most of the day, but a late surge and a race win in race seven salvaged some valuable points. 

“It was tough today and I felt a little rusty as I haven’t raced in the Series since Oman so I can see some of the other teams are at a really high level”, admitted skipper Dean Barker. 

“As a team we’ve got to eliminate some of the mistakes. We didn’t get off of the start line as well as we’d have liked in a couple of the races, and just made a few little mistakes around the course which adds up at the end of the day. We found ourselves as a bit of a deficit to the leading group but it’s early days so there’s still a lot of opportunity to gain back,” Barker added.

With gusts of up to 20 knots forecast for tomorrow’s racing, the Extreme 40 teams and are bracing themselves for an action-packed, hull flyer of a day, with plenty more races to be sailed, and plenty more work to do.

Cardiff Harbour Festival hosts Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5 Cardiff, presented by Land Rover standings after Day 1, 9 races (22.08.14)
Position / Team / Points

1st J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 70 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Jonas Hviid-Nielsen, Brad Farrand, Nicolai Sehested 62 points.
3rd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 61 points.
4th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 58 points.
5th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem 56 points.
6th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 44 points.
7th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Ray Davies, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 37 points.
8th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 33 points.
9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Romain Motteau, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 33 points.
10th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 26 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Hugh Styles, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, James Wierzbowski 21 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bronenosec Sailing Team Crowned RC44 Marstrand World Champion

After four action packed days of match racing and fleet racing, near gale force winds and substantial breaking waves on the race course caused the final races of the 2014 RC44 Marstrand World Championship to be cancelled.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
Principal Race Officer Peter ‘Luigi’ Reggio explained: “The wind was over our normal limit of 26-28 knots at 2-3m, so at the top of the rigs it would have been 28-30. We were anticipating it dying down, but unfortunately the sea state wouldn’t die with it. So ultimately it was down to the sea state. You know the seas are rough when you have to pick the waves you turn the power boat around in and with occasional 3-3.5m swells there is no way the committee boat would have held.”
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
After nine races Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team has been crowned the RC44 Marstrand World Champion, finishing six points clear of Nico Poons’ Charisma, in turn four points ahead of Chris Bake’s Team Aqua in third place.

“I am very happy,” said Liubomirov, who is Commodore of the St Petersburg Yacht Club in Russia. “What is very symbolic for me is that my first experience with the RC44 was here in Marstrand one year ago. Michele (Ivaldi) was the coach for our team then, because we didn’t know this boat. This season he has become our tactician and I think this is really his victory, because he is our teacher, along with Cameron Dunn.”

This is Liubomirov’s second World Championship victory in as many weeks, coming to Sweden directly from winning the Gazprom Swan 60 Worlds in Palma last week.

Italian Tactician Michele Ivaldi was especially satisfied with the result as this is his second consecutive RC44 World Championship title having won as tactician for Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF in 2013. “Coming out top on the podium was unexpected, but we worked hard for it and we had the tools to do it. For sure it is great success,” he said.

As to the secret of winning back to back World Championships, he confided: “It’s down to the group. We started with a good group and after the first regatta I suggested some changes, bringing some of the core trimmers from last year, people I have been sailing with for the last two years in the class.” Specifically this was mainsail trimmer Paul Westlake and jib trimmer Maciel Cicchetti. “They are the real engine of the boat. They make the boat so fast, and speed always makes a tactician look smart! So we had good starts all week and being fast upwind we could always make the first shift.”

With three races scheduled today mathematically nine teams still could have won the World title if racing had proceeded. Realistically the competition was down to the top six with 14 points separating Bronenosec from local host Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing, up to sixth place after winning two of yesterday’s races.

The 34th America’s Cup winning strategist Tom Slingsby, tactician on Nico Poons’ second placed Charisma, felt that Peter Reggio had made the right call. “It is the sea state more than the wind. It is a shame because we were only six points away, plus we feel we are better in the strong conditions, so we were hoping to get out there. It’s disappointing because we finished on a bad race yesterday and we thought we had a chance to get it back today. Personally I wanted to win this one, but as a result for a new team – this is only our third regatta together – to beat Team Aqua and teams like that, who have been at it for a long time, is very good for Nico [Poons] and the team.”

Team Nika’s Vladimir Prosikhin also felt cancelling correct, particularly remembering what had occurred in the marginally better conditions on the final day here last year: “Our boat was taking on water – we had to hide behind the island to bail water out! Today it is quite rough outside and I believe it is the owners’ opinion that it is better to stay safe. We have had an excellent regatta, nothing’s broken, no one has been injured and that is very important.”

Peter Reggio concluded: “We have got nine really fair races in and you really don’t want to screw that up. If they had gone out today it would have been survival. It would not have been racing.”

For Chris Bake, a third place finish at this World Championship, along with a discard coming in for the overall 2014 series, has put his Team Aqua back on top of the leaderboard, reclaiming the coveted ‘golden wheels’ from John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum.

RC44 Marstrand World Championship Overall Ranking after nine races

1. Bronenosec Sailing Team 6 9 3 2 1 3 6 4 2 – 36
2. Charisma 4 2 2 8 7 2 4 2 11 – 42
3. Team Aqua 2 4 5 3 5 4 10 10 3 – 46
4. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team 3 11 4 10 2 1 3 12 1 – 47
5. Team Nika 1 3 8 5 6 11 2 6 5 – 47
6. Artemis Racing 9 5 6 6 9 7 1 1 6 – 50
7. Katusha 13DNF 7 1 11 3 9 7 7 4 – 62
8. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge 5 13DNF 11 1 12 10 5 3 8 – 68
9. Bombarda Racing 7 8 10 9 4 5 11 5 9 – 68
10. Artemis Racing Youth 11 6 7 4 10 6 8 11 12 – 75
11. Synergy Russian Sailing Team 8 1 9 12 11 12 9 8 7 – 77
12. MAG Racing 10 10 12 7 8 8 12 9 10 – 86

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