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Friday, December 9, 2011

Competition Heating Up at Extreme Sailing Series

The battle is intensifying at Act 9 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore which is also the season finale to decide the 2011 championship.

Marina Bay proved demanding today as unstable wind conditions in both pressure and direction together with lightning-packed thunderstorms forced organisers to suspended racing for a short time.
Photo: Lloyd Images
 Racing was intense with five different winners in five races. While Team TILT, Luna Rossa, Red Bull Sailing Team, Team GAC Pindar and The Wave, Muscat all got a taste of victory, it was the day's final race that produced the most drama.

The French team Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and the Italian team Luna Rossa (ITA) became locked in their own private battle from start to finish. Max Sirena’s team looked to have the advantage but it all went pear shaped at the final mark.
Photo: Lloyd Images
“We were in second or third with Gitana and we were trying to give them a bit of grief,” explained helmsman Paul Campbell-James. “Basically, it backfired on us and we got a penalty and ended up finishing last.”

Their handy lead over Groupe Edmond de Rothschild quickly vanishing as the French team went on to finish the race in 2nd putting them within 8 points of Luna Rossa in the Act 9 standings.
Photo: Lloyd Images
“That’s the way it is sometimes and you’ve got to know when to back down,” said Campbell-James. “With a 20-point lead, it’s probably the time to be a little bit passive. But we’re not good at being passive, we like being aggressive all the time and that was our downfall today. We’ve had lots of incidents with Gitana this week already and usually we’re come off better. It’s an absolute fight in every race but we’ve got to know when to back down which we didn’t do today.”
Photo: Lloyd Images
The Italian team may be playing it cool but it was an important psychological result for the French team skippered by Pierre Pennec with just two days left in Act 9.

“It was a great to finish the day on a high note and good for the team’s morale,” said Pennec. “We still have work to do and we must raise our game to be able to beat Luna Rossa and take this championship.”
Photo: Lloyd Images
Chris Draper and the crew of Oman Air, eager for their first win in Singapore and looked to have the final race of the day in the bag. However, their glory was dashed when they copped a penalty from an on-water umpire and saw four other teams pass them as they performed their turns.

A battle continues to rage among those teams in the middle of the leader board. Oman Air, The Wave Muscat, Alinghi and Team GAC Pindar are all strong contenders in their own right and with Team Extreme – the first club™ and Team TILT both locked on 52 points they are plenty of points still left to fight for during the next two days.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 9 Final, Singapore standings after 14 races (9.12.11)
Position / Team / Points

1st Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 96 points
2nd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 93 points
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 91 points
4th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 85 points
5th Oman Air (OMA), Chris Draper / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 80 points
6th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 78 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 75 points
8th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Bulkeley / Andrew Walsh / Matt Cornwell 68 points
9th Team Extreme – the first club™ (FRA), Sébastien Col / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Franck Citeau / Christophe André 52 points
10th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Charles Favre / Arnaud Psarofaghis / Nicolas Heintz 52 points

Lulu Roseman

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