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

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