Vital victory for Alinghi in thriller in Nice

6 October, 2014

It came down, as it so often has this season, to the final race. Tense, exciting and, above all, important, this was perhaps the most satisfying of wins for Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi. Conditions on the Med had varied over the course of the four days of racing, with light winds at the start proving testing for all of the teams. However, from a relatively slow start, Alinghi rallied in incredible fashion, stringing together performance after performance to put themselves in contention as the competition neared to a close. Heading into the final race – a double-pointer, of course – it was the team’s fellow countrymen, Realteam, who led the Act. To snatch victory, Alinghi had to finish a clear two places above their rivals. This they did, taking the spoils in front of the thousands of spectators. Given that this is the penultimate Act of the 2014 season, it was a vital win. With it, Alinghi have now extended their lead at the top of the Series leaderboard to eight points over The Wave, Muscat. However, with 20 points up for the taking in the final Act in Sydney, it is certainly not all over. Indeed, their are five teams capable of a podium position. A jubilant Morgan Larson, Alinghi’s helmsman, summed it up after the prize giving: “We were confident at the start of the year that we had a little bit of an edge, but now the rest of the field are showing some real force. I think now you are seeing the future. More than half the fleet have the ability to win an event, and that’s exactly what we’re going to see going into Sydney. That event is going to be worth double points, and if we go out with a bad performance and The Wave, Muscat or Emirates Team New Zealand come in with a strong one – we’re going to lose. So we’ve got to go out and try and get back on the podium.” The very fact that competition is fierce and that it is getting harder and harder to win races is certainly cause for caution when it comes to Sydney. But it also means that this performance in France is all the more important. And all the more impressive… Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 7 Nice standings after Day 4, 29 races (5.10.14): Position / Team / Points Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 183 points Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wasem 171 points J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 161 points Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Thomas Cjakgak, Stewart Dodson 160 points Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Peter Burling, Glenn Ashby, Blair Tuke, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 156 points GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Seve Jarvin, Hugh Styles, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski 146 points SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 145 points 8th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 143 points 9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Tanguy Cariou, Valentin Bellet, Arnaud Jarlegan, Devan Le Bihan 143 points Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 138 points Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 133 points Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings: Position / Team / Points Alinghi (SUI) 65 points The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 57 points Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 49 points Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 45 points J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 37 points Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 30 points SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 28 points Oman Air (OMA) 24 points Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 24 points Groupama sailing team (FRA) 22 points GAC Pindar (AUS) 11 points

Alinghi second in Nice

7 October, 2013

Photo credit: Lloyd Images It was an intense and exciting Act 7 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Nice. Over the four days of the event, the waters off the French Riviera served up hugely testing conditions that verged from one extreme to the other. Earlier in the Act, winds of 25 knots and swells of two metres saw the teams battling just to keep their catamarans upright; on Day 4, a gentle breeze provided an entirely different challenge for the Extreme 40s. Throughout it all, The Wave, Muscat continued their run of great form, setting a blistering pace to lead the act from first race to last. Given their performance, the Act became, to all intents and purposes, a battle for second place – indeed, The Wave had an unassailable lead going into the all-important double points final race. Alinghi, with Olympic champion Anna Tunnicliffe again on the team, had been consistent over the course of the event, finishing in the top half of the fleet time and time again. Nonetheless, Austrian team Red Bull Sailing had been pushing the team hard all weekend and going into the final race had a one point advantage over Ernesto Bertarelli’s team. That meant one thing – whoever finished in front of the other would claim second place overall. Having duelled with the Austrians around the course, it was ultimately Alinghi who gratefully accepted second spot on the podium, having finished fourth in the last double-pointer. Afterwards, helm Morgan Larson said: “We were behind so we didn’t feel like we had anything to lose, but we had everything to gain. It was all on. The Wave, Muscat were doing everything they could to make sure that Red Bull beat us, and also Realteam. So there was a lot happening and a lot of other races among that race – it was really exciting!” The fleet will now move to Florianopolis in Brazil, where from 14-17 November the winner of the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series will be decided. Alinghi are now two points behind The Wave, Muscat, so it is all to play for. Extreme Sailing Series™ 2013 Act 7, Nice presented by Land Rover standings after Day 4, 29 races (6.10.13) Position / Team / Points The Wave, Muscat (OMA): 237 Alinghi (SUI): 217 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): 216 Realteam (SUI): 213 ChinaSpirit (CHN): 183 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN): 175 The first club by ALL4ONE (FRA): 170 GAC Pindar (NZL): 130 Extreme Sailing Series™ 2013 overall standings after Act 7, Nice presented by Land Rover Position / Team / Points The Wave, Muscat (OMA): 56 Alinghi (SUI): 54 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): 45 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN): 41 Realteam (SUI): 35 GAC Pindar (NZL): 30 Team X Invitational: 26 Team Korea (KOR): 16