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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Alinghi Takes The Lead at Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 - Qingdao

Extreme Sailing Series stalwarts Alinghi returned to their winning ways today as they shot to the top of the Act 2 leaderboard. Co-skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis and his Swiss crew put on a second-day masterclass in tricky, light winds after two days of action in Qingdao, China’s Olympic Sailing City.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
Alinghi, who boast two Extreme Sailing Series titles from wins in 2008 and 2014, started slowly finishing fifth in the first race of the day, held in five to seven knots of breeze. But by the close of play they had notched up three podium finishes including two wins from the five tight races held on Qingdao’s stadium course.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
The impressive results put the team in first place but Series newcomers Sail Portugal are snapping at their heels in second after registering three second place finishes today. The two crews actually share the same points tally at the halfway mark of Act 2 but a bullet in the last race of the day for Alinghi, competing in their sixth Extreme Sailing Series, hands them the overnight lead.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
“We’re really happy with today. We started slowly but it ended up well for us. We tried to stay clear of the other boats and just concentrate on keeping our speed up. It paid off," said helmsman Psarofaghis.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
“For two days now the forecast has been for lots of wind but it hasn’t happened so we don’t really know what tomorrow holds. We’re at the top of the leaderboard right now but there are still two more days to go so nothing is decided. We will just sail every race like it’s the only race and try not to make too many mistakes.”
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
The eight crews faced a light, flaky breeze blowing through Fushan Bay that created a patchy race course and resulted in numerous lead changes over the five races. Consistency was key to success and Sail Portugal, competing on the Extreme Sailing Series for the first time, showed just what they’re capable of in light airs.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
Diogo Cayolla’s men followed up their second place finish in yesterday’s only race with three more seconds, making them serious contenders at only their second outing on the global Stadium Racing tour.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
“It was a very, very good day for us. It was very tricky conditions, we had some good starts and some very bad starts but we managed to find where the wind was. We don’t struggle as much when we’re racing in non-foiling conditions. The team worked well and the communication was really good, so we’re really happy with the day,” former Olympic sailor Cayolla said.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
Former Alinghi skipper Morgan Larson goes into day three in third place with his Oman Air crew, two points ahead of Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Sailing Team who in turn lead Land Rover BAR Academy, Team Turx and SAP Extreme Sailing Team.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
A tough day on the water for Chinese crew One, skippered by US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield, saw them come ashore in a disappointing eighth place. One started strongly finishing third in the first race but they got caught out by Qingdao’s fickle breeze several times.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
Their frustration culminated in being denied any points in the fourth race of the day for sailing outside of the permitted racing area. With two days of racing left, however, there is still plenty of time for any one of the eight teams to stake their claim to a spot on the podium.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 2, Qingdao standings after Day 2, 6 races (30.04.16)
Position / Team / Points

1. Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 61 points.
2. Sail Portugal (POR) Diogo Cayolla, Bernardo Freitas, Javier de la Plaza, Luís Brito, João Matos Rosa 61 points.
3.Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 53 points.
4. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Brad Farrand 51 points.
5. Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Bleddyn Môn, Leigh McMillan, Michael Barnes, Adam Kay, Neil Hunter 49 points.
6. Team Turx (TUR) Stevie Morrison, Tom Dawson, Tom Buggy, Martin Evans, Brad Funk 48 points.
7. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi De Felice, Renato Conde 42 points.
8. One (CHN) Taylor Canfield, Chris Steele, Shane Diviney, Hayden Goodrick, Luke Payne, Liu Xue 38 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

McMillan Gains An Early Lead in Act 2 Opener - Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 - Qingdao

Qingdao today lived up to its reputation as one of the trickiest venues on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit as light winds limited action to just one race on the opening day of Act 2. The Chinese city, hosting the Extreme Sailing Series for the sixth time, is well known for its ability to catch sailors off guard with a fickle breeze that can go from next to nothing to gale force in a matter of minutes.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
The eight-strong fleet took to the water for the first day of Act 2 expecting a brisk 20 knots of wind – plenty to get the GC32 catamarans ‘flying’ on their foils and enough to make controlling the cutting edge boats a challenge. But in typical Qingdao style the weather gods took a day off, and instead the crews were left trying to squeeze every last bit of boat speed from the gentle puffs of just a few knots floating in across Fushan Bay.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
The first and only race of the day saw defending Extreme Sailing Series champion Leigh McMillan steer his Land Rover BAR Academy crew to victory after pulling off an impressive mid-race comeback. McMillan, who represented Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics held in Qingdao, started way back in the fleet but called on his vast experience of the fickle venue to reel in rivals Alinghi, passing them on the second lap to take the lead and the win.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
A second race was started but abandoned when the wind dropped to one knot, handing Land Rover BAR Academy the upper hand going into day two. However, tomorrow sees the race course move inside Qingdao harbour where the predicted 12 knots of wind will present an altogether different challenge to the crews, who are still learning to tame their super-quick catamarans.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
“Light shifty winds in Qingdao? We’ve been here before. We’re obviously disappointed not to get more racing in but we’re looking forward to the next few days," McMillan said.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
“Qingdao is known for its fickle weather and you can never let your guard drop – one moment it is five knots and the next it’s blowing 20, and that could have been the case today. You always have to be prepared for anything in Qingdao and tomorrow the forecast is for much more breeze so bring it on.”
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
Oman Air, the regatta favourites after taking victory in Act 1, could only muster a seventh place finish in race one but skipper Morgan Larson remained upbeat at this early stage.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
“We expected it to be light today so we were mentally prepared but there was still a race which was challenging in its own right with lots of lead changes. Once again Leigh McMillan did nice work – I think he learned a lot over the years sailing on this course and he just read his notes this morning better than we did," Larson said.
Photo: © Aitor Alcalde Colomer
“If we look back at what was successful last year the same applied today – and if we had just followed that plan we’d have been fine. Tomorrow is another day. Who knows what could happen? It could be wild with waves inside the harbour if the wind swings enough to the south.”

Team Turx skipper Stevie Morrison said with more breeze forecast tomorrow his crew were conscious of not getting lulled into a false sense of security by today’s lighter conditions.

“If you get it wrong it could be a pretty high tariff,” he said. “We have to be realistic, and safety is our first concern. Three of our guys are new to the boat and so our job is to finish first, and to do that first you must finish,” Morrison said.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 2, Qingdao standings after Day 1, 1 race (29.04.16)

Position / Team / Points

1. Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Bleddyn Môn, Leigh McMillan, Michael Barnes, Adam Kay, Neil Hunter 12 points.
2. Sail Portugal (POR) Diogo Cayolla, Bernardo Freitas, Javier de la Plaza, Luís Brito, João Matos Rosa 11 points.
3. Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 10 points.
4. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Brad Farrand 9 points.
5. Team Turx (TUR) Stevie Morrison, Tom Dawson, Tom Buggy, Martin Evans, Brad Funk 8 points.
6th One (CHN) Taylor Canfield, Chris Steele, Shane Diviney, Hayden Goodrick, Luke Payne, Liu Xue 7 points.
7. Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 6 points.
8.SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi De Felice, Renato Conde 5 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Australian Update - Men's 49er - 47 Trofeo S.A.R Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR 2016 - Palma de Mallorca

Australia was the only country with three men’s 49er teams qualifying for medal round spots at the 47 Trofeo S.A.R Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR 2016  in Palma.
Photo: Beau Outerbridge / AST 
Australian Olympic Team and gold medallists at the London Games, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, again saved the best for last, storming into second overall thanks to four top five results yesterday. Will and Sam Phillips move through in sixth and David Gilmour and Lewis Brake in eighth.
Photo: Beau Outerbridge / AST 
“We are 15 points behind our training partners, the Irish who also had a good day and have maintained their lead going into the medal race tomorrow, and 13 points ahead of third. We are excited for tomorrow and looking forward to securing our first podium for the year. It’s looking like we will get a sea breeze, so back to normal. This should make it good conditions for the medal race,” Outteridge said back at the dock.
Photo: Beau Outerbridge / AST 
Outteridge and Jensen are taking advantage of a natural break in the America's Cup cycle to step up their training for the Rio Olympics in .
Photo: Beau Outerbridge / AST 
"Of course doing the Cup is a massive compromise on our Olympic sailing. The lack of downtime is the real problem. Whereas you had time to recover before, now that recovery time seems to be on planes. Artemis is very supportive; they know that June, July and August are mainly committed to the Games. That was the deal when we joined Artemis," Outteridge said earlier in the week.

Lulu Roseman