The Extreme Sailing Series has come to the Madeira Islands for the first time, though the truly glorious setting provided everything but a breeze today. Only one race could be run before the Race Committee called time, but Alinghi can be pleased with securing a second place finish in it. It was the team’s choice to go out to sea on the beat that meant they recovered from being fourth at the mark and also at the bottom gate to finish behind Redbull, but two places above Series’ rivals Oman Air. Other than this one race, the day’s other excitement was the fleet witnessing Cunard Line’s magnificent Queen Elizabeth sail out of Marina Funchal – truly a great sight. Let’s hope for big winds tomorrow!
The last day of Act 5 in 2016’s Extreme Sailing Series delivered tension, drama and a win for Alinghi in some of the most exciting of racing that the year has seen thus far. Heading into this final day, the team had a buffer of four points over their rivals, Oman Air. But with this small, tight course and with a final race that counted for double-points, things were far from certain for the Swiss. As it turned out, it was a real nail-biting finale. Four races were sailed and Alinghi got off to a flyer, winning the first. However, Oman Air pegged the team back, winning the second and third races. That meant that the last race double-pointer would be a classic match race, as the two teams were level on points. Whoever finished ahead of the other would take the Act. Arnaud Psarofaghis and the team sailed a brilliant race, finding the breeze when it mattered to secure the points and the Act. With the victory, Alinghi have narrowed the gap between them and Oman in the overall Series leaderboard to five points. Next up, the beautiful Madeira Islands, where Alinghi will be trying to repeat what was a great four days of competition. Before then, the team will, next weekend (9th – 11th September), be doing battle in the GP Alinghi in Crans-près-Céligny on Ernesto Bertarelli's Decision 35.
Three wins on the first day in St Petersburg, two on the second day and one today, the penultimate day of racing in Russia. And yet the team's highly impressive consistency across the other six races, including two second place finished in the last two races, meant that the Swiss have leapfrogged their rivals from Oman into first place on the leaderboard, with a cushion of four points. That's exactly where they want to be ahead of the finale tomorrow and today's performance will give them a lot of confidence. Perhaps it was a pre-racing meeting with the Swiss Consul in St Petersburg that inspired the team today, but whatever the reason Alinghi took full advantage of a penalty for Oman Air in Race 17 to secure a win, with their rivals back in seventh. That result moved the team to the top of the leaderboard and it was there they stayed, even extending the gap by a further two points. So, all very much in play for tomorrow.
Matching the performance of yesterday’s opener to Act 5 in St Petersburg, in which Alinghi notched three wins, was always going to be challenging, but the team gave it a good shot, recording two victories out of the day’s seven races. Those two maximums, couple with a second place in race two meant that they retained their overnight position of second overall, albeit now behind leaders Oman Air, with SAP Extreme slipping back to third place. It might have been even better for the Swiss had they not broken their jib sheet in the final race, meaning that they had to settle for sixth, and that only after having passed the Sail Portugal team in a tight final mark rounding. With two days of racing left only five points separate Alinghi from first place and so there will be plenty of interest for the spectators on the Neva river over the weekend. Join us for live updates. Allez Alinghi!
Light wind conditions delayed racing in the last and decisive day. Only one regatta could be launched. Alinghi having to finish four places ahead of Oman to win this 4th Act. When crossing the line in 3rd position, everyone hold his breath, Oman was in the last position, four places behind. It's only in the last jibes that they managed to pass BAR to take the event a single point ahead of Alinghi. Well done team for this second place!
Today was Alinghi's Day! Starting with three wins in a row, the team seemed unstoppable! But the prohibition to use spinnakers in race 13 of this Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Hamburg, disrupted the team's frenetic pace of wins. In race 14, the gennakers were flying again and the team won all remaining races of the day. As a result , Alinghi is now seven points only behind the leader. Everything is still open for tomorrow and let's bet that the team will give it all! Go Alinghi! Photo Credit: Lloyd Images
Today was a good day for Alinghi. With two victories out of seven races, the team has managed to climb into the second place of the provisional ranking of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 4. The public who came in droves has been filled by the show, thanks to the proximity of the action but also by the wind conditions that have proven significantly better than the previous day. Photo Credit: Lloyd Images
Despite light and tricky wind conditions, the race committee managed to launch three races on the first day of Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Hamburg, but unfortunately the third one had to be abandoned, the wind having totally disappeared. Alinghi picked a fourth and a third place in the two races of the day, standing on the third place of the leaderboard behind usual rivals Oman in first and Red Bull in second. With three more days of sailing to go and better wind forecast announced, no doubt that the crew will try it best to climb back to the top of the leaderboard! Photo Credit: Lloyd Images
Heading into the final day of Act 2 of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series in Qingdao, China, Alinghi held a slender lead over their rivals for top spot, Oman Air. After a pulsating day of racing in Fushan Bay, the Swiss team cemented its position and secured their first victory for this year, in the process moving Ernesto Bertarelli's syndicate up to second place overall in the championship. The team knew it would have to come out firing in order to keep Oman at bay and the first race reinforced the point. Eight to ten knots of wind meant that the GC32s could get up on their foils around the stadium course. However, a poor start meant that Alinghi could only manage seventh, while their rivals took the win. An immediate response was required and it was delivered. Race 2 saw the exact inverse of the opener. Alinghi took the front straight from the start and held it to record the first of three wins with Oman back in seventh. By the time the Committee called time on racing because of thick fog, Alinghi's lead was such that even Oman's victory in the double-pointer last race was not enough to overhaul the Swiss. Afterwards, a delighted Arnaud Psarofaghis said: "The team did a fantastic job - they made it easy for me to just helm the boat and be fast. We had a real battle with Oman Air on points. We had a good race, they had a good one, we had a bad one, so did they. Every race was a new race for us. We looked to get the best start possible not think too much about the points. To get up on the foils was great - we made some good gains while flying. We're going to push to be even faster in Cardiff."
Going into day three of Act 2 in Qingdao, Alinghi were defending an overall lead and the team's experience on Lac Leman told. Light wind conditions meant for challenging racing and the team can be delighted to have registered two victories from the six races. After, co-skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis said: “We’re planning on starting well tomorrow and seeing what happens. We just want to stay clear of everyone else and stay fast.” Alinghi's lead at the top of the Act leaderboard is four points from Oman Air. Tomorrow's finale means there is all to play for... Photo Credit: Lloyd Images