Sunday, December 11, 2016

Alinghi Fly The Swiss Flag In Sydney andTake Out Third Extreme Sailing Series Title

The Swiss team Alinghi were crowned 2016 Extreme Sailing Series champions today after an epic final-day shoot-out at the season finale in Sydney.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
In a nail-biting showdown that went right down to the wire, Arnaud Psarofaghis' men saw off a last-ditch attempt from arch rivals Oman Air to complete their ascendancy to the top of the 2016 rankings.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
It's the third time Alinghi have won the Extreme Sailing Series following victories in 2008 and 2014 but the first time they've done so 'flying' on the new lightning fast GC32 catamarans.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
Morgan Larson's Oman Air started the eighth and final Act of the season with the upper hand taking a narrow two-point lead overall onto the iconic waters of Sydney Harbour, but Alinghi knew that if they could defeat Larson's crew they would claim the Series crown for themselves.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
Alinghi started the final day in charge with a 19-point buffer on Oman Air and opened their scorecards on trademark form with two seconds as Sydney Harbour delivered champagne sailing under bright blue skies and with winds of 13 to 20 knots.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
However, a wobble halfway through the afternoon gave hope to Oman Air and they answered by notching up a podium finish of their own to narrow the gap once more. Desperate to force Alinghi into making a mistake that could allow them back into contention, Larson pulled out every trick in his book but time and time again the Swiss crew clawed back into the action.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
Alinghi's season victory was only guaranteed following the 24th and penultimate race of the Act, their fourth place ahead of Oman Air in fifth finally pushing glory beyond Larson's reach.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
"We're really happy, and pretty relieved too. It was a really intense day – we started really well then had a few bad starts. Then we got into a game with Oman Air that we didn't really want to play," co-skipper and helmsman Psarofaghis said.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
"Halfway through the day Oman Air were still able to come back but then we started to sail simply again. When we sailed our own race away from the pack we were really fast and that was the key for us."
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
Oman Air's dominance over the first half of 2016 saw Alinghi playing catch-up but as the season went on the Swiss crew became known as the kings of consistency, winning just over a quarter of the 169 races held this year and the last four Acts outright.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
Despite giving it everything Oman Air had to settle for third place in Act 8 behind Danish team SAP Extreme Sailing Team, and second on the overall standings.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
"It was a great day of sailing but unfortunately we had too big a deficit to make up, and Alinghi were two notches better. We threw a few things at them and gave them some penalties but they battled back as they do," Larson said.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
"We should have come to this event with Alinghi needing to put a couple of boats between us to win, but instead we came in basically tied and it should never have come to that really. But we can't be too disappointed – any time you're on the podium in this event it's a good thing."
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
Red Bull Sailing Team dominated the penultimate day in Sydney but couldn't keep the momentum going, slipping off the Act podium but retaining third place overall. Land Rover BAR Academy recovered from a spectacular capsize on day one and a broken mainsail yesterday to score three podium finishes from eight races today, finishing fifth both in Act 8 and overall.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
Kiwi wildcard crew RNZYS Lautrec Racing just pipped Visit Madeira into sixth with home crew Team Australia rounding off the leaderboard in eighth.
Photo: Jesus Renedo / Lloyd Images
Act 8 marked the end of a momentous year for the Extreme Sailing Series as it celebrated its tenth year with a change from the Extreme 40 boat to the GC32 foiling catamaran.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Sydney standings after Day 4, 25 races (11.12.16)
Position / Team / Points
1. Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 238 points.
2. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi De Felice, Renato Conde 226 points.
3. Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 215 points.
4. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Brad Farrand 215 points.
5. Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Neil Hunter, Chris Taylor, Will Alloway, Sam Batten, Adam Kay 193 points.
6. RNZYS Lautrec Racing (NZL) Chris Steele, Graeme Sutherland, Luca Hyatt Brown, Harry Hull, Logan Dunning Beck 178 points.
7. Visit Madeira (POR) Diogo Cayolla, Frederico Mello, Gilberto Conde, Luís Brito, Tom Buggy 177 points.
8. Team Australia (AUS) Sean Langman, Seve Jarvin, Marcus Ashley-Jones, Gerard Smith, Rhys Mara 132 points.

Extreme Sailing Series 2016 overall standings Position / Team / Points

1.Alinghi (SUI) 101 points.
2. Oman Air (OMA) 99 points.
3. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 91 points.
4. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 83 points.
5. Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 70 points.
6. Visit Madeira (POR) 63 points.
7. CHINA One (CHN) 29 points.
8. Team Turx (TUR) 11 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Medoa

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