It was four days of extremely competitive and tight racing, in conditions that ranged from light to strong winds, for Act II of Extreme Sailing Series 2014 in Muscat, Oman. Having led the fleet heading into the final day, Alinghi ended up finishing 3rd behind ‘home’ team The Wave, Muscat and Emirates Team New Zealand. The final result was perhaps harsh on Alinghi as the team were caught up in ‘traffic’ at critical times, though no one could doubt the skill with which the defending champions handled the tough course on the final day of racing.
During the majority of the Act, Alinghi had handled the light wind conditions wonderfully, particularly at the start line, and were leading heading into the final day. Then, however, conditions changed completely, with steady winds of 20 knots supplemented by gusts of 26. That meant that power and brute force became the order of the day, with teams hurtling to the windward mark before unfurling gennakers and powering downwind.
For the crowds watching, it undoubtedly made for a great spectacle, but it also made for crowded and high-octane racing and Alinghi were unlucky to be caught-up on a number of occasions.
Nonetheless, heading into the double-pointer final race, the team were very much still in the hunt, alongside three others: The Wave, Emirates Team New Zealand and SAP Extreme Sailing Team. Indeed, only four points separated the rivals and 20 were up for grabs. Unfortunately, it was not to be for Ernesto Bertarelli’s team, with a fourth place in the race putting pay to their hopes of replicating their victory in Act I.
Speaking after the race, helmsman Morgan Larson said:
“We should be pleased with the result in such a tough field but we were quite disappointed with how we sailed today. We need to do a better job staying out of the fray and we didn’t achieve that today and The Wave, Muscat did and you’ve got to hand it to them, they earned the win. It’s a long season ahead and if we can keep on the podium this year we’ll have a shot at the title at the end of the year, this will be our objective”.
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 2, Muscat standings after Day 4, 29 races (22.03.14):
Position / Team / Points
- 1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 188 points.
- 2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 180 points.
- 3rd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 179 points.
- 4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 176 points.
- 5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 158 points.
- 6th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 153 points.
- 7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 145 points.
- 8th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 144 points.
- 9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 137 points.
- 10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 123 points.
- 11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour 94 points.
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings:
Position / Team / Points
- 1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 19 points.
- 2nd Alinghi (SUI) 18 points.
- 3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 16 points.
- 4th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 13 points.
- 5th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 9 points.
- 6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 9 points.
- 7th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 9 points.
- 8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 8 points.
- 9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 6 points.
- 10th Oman Air (OMA) 3 points.
- 11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 2 points.