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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Witty Finishes Strong On 18 Foot Skiff Before Preparing For Sydney-Hobart

18ft Skiffs, Sydd. Barnett Jr. Memorail Trophy
Sunday, 13 December 2015, Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The Appliancesonline.com.au 18ft Skiff crew gave an outstanding performance in the 20-knot Nor'East wind to score an all the way win in the Syd. Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy race on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
David Witt (skipper), Tom Clout (sheet) and Tom Anderson (for’ard) quickly established a lead on the first windward leg and dominated the fleet for the entire course.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Appliancesonline.com.au crossed the finish line one minute and 19 seconds ahead of Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, James Dorron, Darren McKavanagh), with Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Stu Wells, Joel Castle) a further one minute and four seconds back in third place.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Pure Blonde (Nick Daly) was well placed all through the race and finished fourth, ahead of Smeg (Lee Knapton), Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) and De’Longhi (Simon Nearn).
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Today’s winning skipper David Witt will now exchange the tiller of an 18ft Skiff for the wheel of the 100ft Maxi Ragamuffin in the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, which starts in Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day. Fellow Appliancesonline.com.au crewman Tom Clout will join Dave Witt on Ragamuffin as will Jack Macartney, who skippered Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel into third place today.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Appliancesonline.com.au’s domination began soon after the start and her lead was more than 30secs at the first set of 3-Buoys windward marks. Nick Daly had Pure Blonde in second position ahead of Asko Appliances and Smeg, Compassmarkets.com, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and De’Longhi all bunched just a few secs. back.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Conditions were perfect for an action-packed spinnaker run into Rose Bay and the teams didn’t disappoint spectators as they raced past the spectator ferry with centreboards clearly visible.With Appliancesonline holding a big lead for nearly the entire course, most spectator interest centred on the battle for the minor placings.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The strong Asko Appliances team won out in a fierce battle to take second placing ahead of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel and Pure Blonde. David Witt is renowned for his fearless racing in heavy winds and his performance today brought back memories of his outstanding first day performance in the 18s as a 17-year-old in 1988.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
For all the latest 18ft Skiff news go to www.18footers.com. There is Livestream race coverage of every race on www.18footers.com.au/sailing

Frank Quealey
Australian 18 Footers League

McMillan Racks Up Another Championship - Extreme Sailing Series - Day 4 - Sydney Harbour

British multihull racer Leigh McMillan was officially crowned the most successful skipper in the nine-year history of the Extreme Sailing Series in Sydney today when he clinched an unprecedented third championship title.
Photo: © Lloyd Images;
McMillan and and his crew on The Wave, Muscat completed his hat-trick in superb style with yet another convincing Act win on a breezy Sydney Harbour and against the stunning backdrop of the Sydney Opera House in front of thousands of spectators who lined the waterfront.
Leigh McMillan Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We live for days like today, it was absolutely awesome,” said an elated McMillan after picking up the Land Rover Above an Beyond Award for man of the match. “It means so much to me, I just feel so chuffed about the way it’s gone. Sailing with the team and building those relationships has been incredible.”
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The key to The Wave, Muscat’s success not only lies in McMillan’s experience on the helm but in the consistent performance of his outstanding crew.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
These include British double Olympic gold medallist and current ISAF World Sailor of the Year Sarah Ayton, America’s Cup sailors Pete Greenhalgh and Ed Smyth and Omani sailor Nasser Al Mashari.
Photo: Lavana Dancer
With the Act and 2015 Series crown decided by mid-afternoon, the battle raged for the remaining podium positions.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Second-placed SAP Extreme Sailing Team almost lost it all to Red Bull Sailing Team in the closing moments of the final, double-points race, after a collision with Gazprom Team Russia disabled the Danish team’s steering system knocking them out of the race.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Having worked hard all week, their second place in Sydney – and more importantly the coveted runner’s-up spot on the 2015 Series leaderboard – was at stake.The Danish co-skippers Rasmus Kostner and Jes Gram Hansen could do nothing but watch as Red Bull Sailing Team raced on, taking as many valuable points as possible from the Danes.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
However, despite a gallant effort from Red Bull Sailing Team, third place in the final race just wasn’t enough for helm Roman Hagara to bridge the points gap and the Austrian team finish in Sydney and the 2015 Series podium in third.

“It was horrible. Just after the collision we didn’t know how it would go with the points. But to finally get the result we wanted after all our hard work feels fantastic. We are so proud of the journey we have been on over four years with SAP, starting as rookies and now second on the circuit is just fantastic," explained a relieved Gram-Hansen.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Sydney Harbour produced superb conditions for racing this week and today was no exception, with a number of near-misses and with GAC Pindar, Lino Sonego Team Italia and Oman Air all coming close to capsizing, much to the delight of the crowds watching from Mrs Macquaries Point.

Leading the chasing pack in Sydney, Oman Air, Team Turx and Gazprom Team Russia finished the Act in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. But perhaps the biggest cheers of the week went to the final three boats, Lino Sonego Team Italia, GAC Pindar and Australian wild card team 33 South Racing, as they hurtled around the racetrack.
Photo: Lavana Dancer
The Sydney Act and the end of the 2015 season sees the Extreme Sailing Series bid a fond farewell to the Extreme 40 catamarans as Series originators and organisers OC Sport usher in a new era with the GC23 hydro-foiling catamaran as the weapon of choice from the start of 2016.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2015 final results

Position / Team / Points

1.  The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 87 points.
2.  SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 74 points.
3.  Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 70 points.
4.  Oman Air (OMA) 58 points.
5.  Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 51 points.
6. Team Turx (TUR) 44 points.
7. GAC Pindar (GBR) 43 points.
8. Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) 42 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Sydney presented by Land Rover standings after Day 4, 28 races (13.12.15)
Position / Team / Points

1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 213 points.
2.  SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 198 points.
3.  Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Lionel Vaucher, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 196 points.
4.  Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 174 points.
5.  Team Turx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakis, Diogo Cayolla, Pedro Andrade 160 points.
6t. Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Pavel Kalinichev, Pavel Karachi, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 143 points.
7.  Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Enrico Zennaro, Pierre Pennec, Nevio Sabadin, Stefano Rizzi,Tom Buggy 125 points.
8. GAC Pindar (GBR) Adam Minoprio, Seve Jarvin, Jeremy Lomas, James Wierzbowski, Tyson Lamond 122 points.
9. 33 South Racing (AUS) Katie Spithill, Matthew Chew, Stacey Jackson, Henry Kernot, Luke Payne 97 points.
Extreme Sailing Series Media 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Serious Business For Extreme Sailing Series Leaders - Day 3 - Sydney Harbour

After two physical, full-on days of racing on Sydney Harbour, the penultimate day was all about the points at the Extreme Sailing Series Act 8, Sydney presented by Land Rover – the final stop on the 2015 global tour.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
With their end game in sight, The Wave, Muscat and British helm Leigh McMillan sailed today in defensive-attack.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Careful not to engage with his competitors on the racetrack, time and time again the crowds watched as McMillan tactically crossed the start line, split from the pack and created his own opportunities to sail through the fleet, to take six podium positions from eight races.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The Wave, Muscat’s relentless but reserved tactics puts the team at the top of the leaderboard going into the final day on 147-points – and a step closer for McMillan to make history as the only ever skipper to win three Extreme Sailing Series championship titles.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
But while McMillan played it safe, the battle heated up for second and third, in both Sydney and on the overall Series leaderboard, as Danes, SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Austrians, Red Bull Sailing Team both gunned for glory.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Adding four podiums to their scoreline, the Danes finished the day in second place with just a four-point gap to bridge to the top spot.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
However, the performance of the day goes Red Bull Sailing Team, the fastest team on the water and quickest off the start line according to SAP Analytics. Skipper double Olympic gold medallist Roman Hagara sailed a smart day, and race after race cashed in, adding 60-points to their score line and finishing the day in third.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“The goal is to win this Act, it’s so important to finish on a high. It would be perfect to stand on the podium in the number one spot. We just have to get everything together tomorrow and make sure our starts are spot on,” said Hagara after racing.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Oman Air drop down to fourth but with only five points separating them from third, it wouldn’t take much for underdog skipper Stevie Morrison to get back on the podium in tomorrow’s final. Crowd pleasers Team Turx took two race wins to finish the day in fifth with Lino Sonego Team Italia bouncing back from their capsize yesterday, climbing the rankings to sixth place.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Gazprom Team Russia and GAC Pindar round up the overnight standings in seventh and eighth, with Australian wild card entry 33 South Racing in ninth after missing a day due to a crash on the first day.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We want more days to race! We can see the improvements and we are really excited for tomorrow – we are after our first podium. We love the home crowd. It is so cool to hear them cheering as on,”commented Aussie skipper Katie Spithill.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Extreme Sailing Series Act 8, Sydney presented by Land Rover standings after Day 3, 20 races (12.12.15)
Position / Team / Points

1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 147 points.
2. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 144 points.
3. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Lionel Vaucher, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 131 points.
4. Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 126 points.
5. Team Turx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakis, Diogo Cayolla, Pedro Andrade 123 points.
6. Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Enrico Zennaro, Pierre Pennec, Nevio Sabadin, Stefano Rizzi,Tom Buggy 87 points.
7. Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Pavel Kalinichev, Pavel Karachi, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 87 points.
8. GAC Pindar (GBR) Adam Minoprio, Seve Jarvin, Jeremy Lomas, James Wierzbowski, Tyson Lamond 75 points.
9. 33 South Racing (AUS) Katie Spithill, Matthew Chew, Stacey Jackson, Henry Kernot, Luke Payne 71 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Friday, December 11, 2015

Plenty Of Johnny Drama For Sizzling Hot Extremes - Extreme Sailing Series, Sydney - Day 2

With an ominous wind forecast at the morning race briefing, day two of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 8, Sydney presented by Land Rover didn’t disappoint.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Battling punishing gusts of 30-knots that belted through the skyscrapers lining Farm Cove, Lino Sonego Team Italia were caught off-guard by a big gust of wind coming off the Sydney Opera House, resulting in a dramatic capsize in front of the crowds for the Italian team.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“As we tacked on the first beat I saw Red Bull Sailing Team out of the corner of my eye, we tried to avoid them but had no space and by then we were already at 90 degrees. That’s when we went in, Enrico (Zennaro) flew past my head as he fell from the tramp, but I was lucky enough to cling on to the boat.” explained bowman Tom Buggy.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
With no injuries to the crew, the safety team were immediately on site to provide assistance for the team that includes Italians Enrico Zennaro, Nevio Sabadin and Stefano Rizzi as well as French helm and Olympic sailor Pierre Pennec and British sailor Tom Buggy.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Remarkably 30 minutes later the Italian team were upright and incredibly shook off the nerves to make it back onto the racecourse for the next race.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Not one to shy away from the thrilling conditions, Race Director Phil Lawrence was racing the fleet six boats at a time to allow more space on the compact race track as a safety precaution. Four short sharp races were completed before racing was abandoned for the day.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We continued to race as long as possible but the forecast was for the wind to go further to the south, which meant it would have come straight through the city resulting in vertical gusts which the sailors wouldn’t be able to see. We decided to suspend racing at that point and have a good forecast for tomorrow and even better for Sunday’s final,” reflected Lawrence.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Today’s unpredictable conditions have seen a lead change on the podium, with The Wave, Muscat leapfrogging from third to first, tied on points with second placed SAP Extreme Sailing Team. Oman Air are just three points adrift in third.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We haven’t been exceptional, but we haven’t been disastrous either. Today’s gusts were so aggressive you couldn’t really keep in control. It was nerve racking at times and pretty full on. Hopefully conditions get a little more normal tomorrow so we can smash in some good races,” said The Wave, Muscat’s helmsman Leigh McMillan.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Leading the mid-fleet charge is Red Bull Sailing Team and Team Turx in fourth and fifth respectively just one point apart. But the performance of the day went to sixth placed Gazprom Team Russia who took their first race win after changing to a full Russian crew in the last Act.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
And finally back on the water Australian wild card team 33 South Racing will be raring to go tomorrow after missing a days racing as they repaired a significant hole in the hull of the boat sustained during yesterday’s opening day.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Sydney presented by Land Rover standings after Day 2, 12 races (11.12.15)
Position / Team / Points

1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 83 points.
2. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 83 points.
3.  Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 80 points.
4. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Lionel Vaucher, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 71 points.
5. Team Turx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakis, Diogo Cayolla, Pedro Andrade 70 points.
6. Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Pavel Kalinichev, Pavel Karachi, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 57 points.
7. GAC Pindar (GBR) Adam Minoprio, Seve Jarvin, Jeremy Lomas, James Wierzbowski, Tyson Lamond 42 points.
8. 33 South Racing (AUS) Katie Spithill, Matthew Chew, Stacey Jackson, Henry Kernot, Luke Payne 41 points.
9. Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Enrico Zennaro, Pierre Pennec, Nevio Sabadin, Stefano Rizzi,Tom Buggy 39 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Extreme 40 Catamaran Capsizes at Extreme Sailing Series on Sydney Harbour

In race number two on the second day of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Sydney, Australia, Lino Sonego Team Italia capsized when a big gust of wind coming off the Sydney Opera House caught the Italian team off guard.
Photo: © Lloyd Images,
The Safety Team were immediately on site to provide assistance and all the crew, which includes Italians Enrico Zennaro, Nevio Sabadin and Stefano Rizzi as well as French helm and Olympic sailor Pierre Pennec and Britsh sailor Tom Buggy, were confirmed safe.
Photo: © Lloyd Images,
The fleet were already split so there were only six boats racing at the time as a safety precaution and all boats had reefs in their sails. The Safety Team did a fantastic job of righting the boat within 30 minutes of incident happening and the Italian team incredibly made it back onto the racecourse for the next race.

There are still two days left of racing on Sydney Harbour at the final Act of the 2015 global tour which finishes on Sunday 12th December, which over the last 11 months has taken in eight iconic venues around the globe, bringing it’s unique and pioneering Stadium Racing format to thousands of spectators. The racing will be streamed live online on the official event website

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Boom Crash Opera...Carnage On Sydney Harbour - Extreme Sailing Series - Day 1

With everything to play for, the Extreme 40s came out all-guns-blazing on Sydney Harbour today, for the much-anticipated final Act of the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series™ championship.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
On a day of costly penalties for some crews, and race-ending collisions that reduced the fleet of nine boats to just six, it was SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Oman Air that shone through finishing the day first and second respectively.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
In the morning press conference Oman Air’s skipper Stevie Morrison threw down the gauntlet, saying his aim for the week was to give The Wave, Muscat a “run for their money” and, with three race wins and two second place finishes, Morrison certainly held his word.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We came out of the blocks and we were fast, it’s been an absolutely great day on the harbour. It’s our last event in an Extreme 40 so we are certainly going to try and give it everything we’ve got to go out with a decent result – and of course try to stop The Wave catching a few cheap points on us,” a delighted Morrison said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
But others weren’t so lucky. First to fall foul of the full-contact racing was Australian wild card 33 South Racing, who were T-boned on the startline of race three by Lino Sonego Team Italia.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Despite the gaping hole in the back of her boat, skipper Katie Spithill heroically finished the race in a respectable fifth place, before limping back to the dock for overnight repairs.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“The Italians tried to duck us and misjudged it. We finished the race thinking we could tape up the hole but it turns out it’s a lot bigger than that. It’s really frustrating but our results so far are promising. Today we just wanted to stay upright and not cause any issues. But what can I say – we’re competitive,” Spithill said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The Italian team soon got their just deserts as GAC Pindar, in another collision, damaged their steering mechanism at the back of the boat in race seven, resulting in both teams retiring from the day.

But probably the most significant incident of a hectic day – and maybe even the year – involved Red Bull Sailing Team. A coming together with Gazprom Team Russia seemed at first to be just a scrape, but on further inspection after racing it was found that the damage covered 30% of the boat’s structure.

A repair can be made and the team will be on the water tomorrow, but for a crew gunning for the championship title anything less then 100% could be costly.

In the overnight standings SAP Extreme Sailing Team top the leaderboard on 67 points. A confident start for the Danish crew who need the Act win to challenge for the overall Series title.

“The only thing we can do over the next couple of days is try and put as many points on the table as possible,” said co-skipper Rasmus Kostner after racing.

In second place Oman Air is on 63 points joint with Extreme 40 heavyweights The Wave, Muscat in third. Team Turx, in fourth, had an outstanding day with local hero Mitch Booth on the helm posting six podiums out of a possible eight.

Extreme Sailing Series Media