Alinghi’s awesome day – when they won six out eight races on Friday – ultimately secured this victory in the Sailing Cup Kiel, the team’s first overall victory on the 2015 Bullitt GC32 circuit. But the team were consistent throughout and secured the win in the final day’s penultimate race, which they took amid the variable winds that had characterised Sunday’s racing and, indeed, which had delayed the start of Sunday’s competition in the first place. Given the events on the first day, Morgan Larson had every right to be delighted: “I haven’t forgotten about that practice race on Thursday where we capsized and almost broke the boat on the rocks and somehow escaped it all. I’d say about half way through that capsize, I said a very bad word, and that was because I knew about all the work that went into getting here, and that we probably weren’t going to be in the race. We’re lucky even to have been racing here. To win is a massive bonus.” This result in Germany has some repercussions for the GC32 tour because, after three events, the team’s performance has seen Alinghi move within just a point of Oman, who lead the overall rankings. With the team full of confidence and breathing down the leader’s neck, who can wait for the next run in Rome, starting on the 27thAugust? Pictures credit: Sander van der Borch/Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour
It would always be impossible to top – or even match – yesterday’s stellar performance and so it proved, but it was still a great day for Alinghi, who remain out in front at the top of the leaderboard ahead of tomorrow’s final day in the Kiel Cup. Honours were much more evenly spread today. With two victories Spindrift took the day, but with Oman and Armin Strom also winning races it meant that all teams have now tasted victory in the regatta. Six races were run in the Kieler Fjord under blue skies with a moderate northerly breeze. Each race saw places being swapped multiple times, especially as the wind picked up in the afternoon. Alinghi’s lead going into the final day is 11 points. With racing due to start at 11:00AM tomorrow, it looks like being an exciting finale! Pictures credit: Sander van der Borch/Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour
Was it their experience in the Extreme Sailing Series that provided the edge? Or was it just Alinghi’s day…? Either way, it’s hard to recall another occasion in recent memory when the team have performed as they did today in Kiel, dominating virtually from start to finish. After yesterday’s sailing had to be cancelled because of the adverse weather conditions, eight races were run on the imposing and tight Kieler Fjord. Somewhat incredibly, Alinghi won six of them, and even took a second and third place in the other two. This awesome performance has left Alinghi way out at the top of the leaderboard, but the team know that, with two days sailing to go, there is a long way to go. With that in mind, they are taking nothing for granted. Alinghi’s performance could be put down to a number of factors: the team working as one, expert reading of the gusts and lulls inside the Fjord, even a bit of luck. But if there was to be one defining element then perhaps it was how Alinghi – tactically – deployed and then got up on the foils. Waiting always and only for the opportune moment as they saw it, this sometimes saw Alinghi the last to deploy, but patience told. Roll on tomorrow! Pictures credit: Sander van der Borch/Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour
Big, big winds and even bigger gusts put paid to today’s first day of racing in the Kiel Cup. And it was one of those gusts that saw Alinghi in the drink, with a wildly shifting breeze causing a capsize during the media sailing session – as these spectacular photos attest. Thankfully all onboard were fine and Morgan Larson and the team returned their boat to the vertical with only a minimum of damage, though the team is hoping for a new mast head unit to arrive tomorrow, as that was one of the boat’s components that did take a hit. Following a quick break, the crew returned to the water to check that everything else was in working order and to prepare for tomorrow. We expect firm winds again, which should make for great racing. Pictures credit: Sander van der Borch/Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour
The 2015 Bullitt GC32 is heading north for its third leg, with the fleet travelling to Kiel on Germany’s Baltic Coast. A sailing hotspot, the port of Kiel – or Kieler Förde – will provide a tighter course than the GC32s have been used to so far, meaning a different sort of challenge over the four days of racing, which will start tomorrow (Thursday 30th) and conclude on Sunday. In theory – though, as we all know, theory can be very different from practice – this should favour the teams that have sailed in the Extreme Sailing Series. Alinghi, of course, are one such team and Morgan Larson had this to say about racing in the heart of the city: “I think it will make it more boat-handling intensive. It will push us for sure, but that is a good thing. The people in Kiel are really enthusiastic about sailing, so I think we’ll have quite a few checking it out. You are going to have a lot of people coming down just to see us foiling.” Typically, the GC32 tour courses are in the modern ‘America’s Cup’ style, with reaching starts and finishes, and two windward-leeward laps in between. For this event – dubbed Sailing Cup Kiel– the boats will instead sail three laps, or, occasionally, courses containing longer reaching legs. There might even be a slalom course. What is certain, however, is that bringing these foiling machines to such a unique and relatively confined arena – and one that is a real hub for sailing nuts – will make for adrenaline-fuelled entertainment. Alinghi’s team for the Sailing Cup Kiel is: Morgan Larson, Nicolas Charbonnier, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey and Arnaud Psarofaghis Check back here every day to see how they get on!