After its triumph on a monohull in the America's Cup and numerous victories on multihulls in the Decision 35 and Extreme 40 competitions, this week sees Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi try to add foiling catamarans to the list of boats on which they’ve won championships.
Starting next Thursday the 8th and running until Sunday the 11th Sydney will play host to the last Act of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ (ESS) with eight international teams doing battle in the iconic harbour between the Opera House and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. And at stake? A world-class sailing championship on the ‘flying’ GC32.
Alinghi, the form team
Timothé Lapauw, trimmer, comments: "Since September, we've had three wins in a row, so if anything the pressure is on our competitors in this last Act.” And if there is pressure rising as the start in Australia draw closer, then it’s one that Tim enjoys. "Once on the water, I'm focused solely on my job. There is so much to do in this fast-racing format that I do not have time to think about anything else!"
The skipper, Arnaud Psarofaghis, says: "I know that the pressure generated by what is at stake will help us to raise our level. The goal is clear for us all – win! We are eager to do battle and we are confident, but certainly don’t take anything for granted because our opponents are so strong and anything and everything can happen in this kind of racing.”
Podium secured, but where upon it is not…
The general classification for the 2016 Series currently reads:
1st - Oman Air (OMA): 79 points
2nd - Alinghi (SUI): 77
3rd - Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): 73
4th - SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN): 61
5th - Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR): 54
6th - Visit Madeira (POR): 49
This eighth and final stage of the 2016 circuit counts for double, meaning the points in play in Sydney are 24 for first place, 22 for second and so on. In the case of a tie, the team best placed in Sydney will take the Series.
At this stage of the competition, a place on the final podium is assured for Oman Air, Alinghi and Red Bull Sailing Team, but it of course remains to be seen in which order the leading trio will stand upon it finish.
To win this championship, Alinghi must finish in front of Oman Air and not finish more than a place behind Red Bull.