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

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