With a win in the last ESS Act in the Madeira Islands, coupled with a victory in last weekend’s D35 Grand Prix on Lake Geneva, Alinghi have been flying high of late and their good form continued today in Portugal on the opening day of Act 7 of the Extreme Sailing Series. It could not have started better for Arnaud Psarofaghis and the team. A win in the opener was followed by victory in race two, having got inside and past Series rivals Oman Air at the upper gate. There were to be no more wins in the day’s next three races, but the team’s consistency – two second place finishes in races four and five – mean that they top the leaderboard heading into tomorrow, two points above Series newcomers and wildcard Norauto, and five above Oman in third. Photo credit: Lloyd Images
After yesterday’s drama, which saw Alinghi’s mast slowly descend following a collision with Red Bull, the shore team had a mammoth task on their hands to get the GC32 race-ready for Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in the Madeira Islands, all the more important a task because the team were topping the leaderboard . All credit to them, because the team were able to sail and repaid their colleagues’ efforts by nailing the two races that today’s conditions allowed . Two wins meant the Act was Alinghi’s, a fantastic result. Up next is Lisbon and it’s all getting tight at the top! Next is Lisbon from the 6th to the 9th of October but before that, the team will be back on its home waters at Société Nautique de Genève for the final GP of the D35 Trophy on September 30 & October 1. See you there!
Alinghi’s third day in the Madeira Islands ended after race three. A dramatic collision with Red Bull off the start line saw the team lose their mast and forced to retire. It was symptomatic of how closely the teams were pushing each other, but thankfully nobody was hurt and Alinghi will be working all night to get the GC32 back on the water tomorrow, especially because they top the leaderboard going into the final day. The crash happened with Red Bull just that little bit too close to Alinghi as they made a fast start, their rear clipping the Swiss’s front. The impact was critical for Alinghi’s rigging and, ultimately, the mast. The Race Committee awarded Alinghi redress for the incident, meaning that they retain their lead overall. However, it’s a race against time to get the boat ready for the final day tomorrow. Arnaud Psarofaghis, explained: “During the third start we were sandwiched between Red Bull Sailing Team and Sail Portugal. Red Bull Sailing Team popped up onto their foils then came down on us, and we couldn’t really avoid them. This all happened really quickly and unfortunately they hit us and we lost the rig, but no-one was hurt and that’s the main thing. Photo Credit: Lloyd Images “We need to assess the damage and see if we will be able to sail tomorrow. It’s going to be a long night for us but we have the greatest shore crew and they will do everything they can to get us back on the water.”
Consistency was key for Alinghi on the second day in the Extreme Sailing Series in the Maderia Islands. They, and the rest of the fleet, had trouble keeping up with Red Bull, whose two victories today made it three out of five overall, propelling them up the leaderboard, where they share top spot with Alinghi. Despite not recording a win of their own, Arnaud Psarofaghis and the team can be very pleased with their performance indeed. The team finished in the top three in every race, meaning they share the overnight spoils. More of the same over the weekend will be just what’s called for.
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