The Yacht Club of Geneva played host to 7th leg of the Vulcain Trophy 2014, the “Grand Prix Grange & Cie“, this weekend. The first day’s racing was marked by a beautiful weather of 25°C, but, unfortunately the sunny conditions were not matched by wind, meaning that spectators and crews waited until 3pm for the first race to get underway. When racing did start, however, Alinghi got off to a great start, taking the first race, which was shortened owing to the relative lack of wind. Conditions such as these present an entirely different challenge in themselves and Ernesto Bertarelli’s team were the one who managed their boat best. And it was the same story in race two! So, Alinghi head into Sunday’s racing in a great position, not just in the Grand Prix, but also in the Vulcain Trophy. The team will be looking to repeat their performance to secure victory. Check back here later to see how they do.
After a wonderful day on Saturday, conditions for the second day of the Open Nationale Suisse were similar, meaning that – happily – the organizers were able to get the first race off at 11.30am, though a relative lack of wind did mean that the course was shortened, with Alinghi claiming 5th place. The next race – number 7 of the event – was entirely different, with the wind picking up considerably to 12 knots. It was good news for Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi, who were like a rocket on both runs, claiming the race from Realstone and then Mobimo. This was followed up by a third place in Race 8 and a creditable fourth in Race 9, which was sailed in tricky and crowded conditions. The wind for the final race was simply all over the place, up and down in the most capricious of manners. Having rounded the top gate in second place behing Mobimo, Alinghi seize first after a gybe and lead at the bottom gate. And then…the wind changes again, completely dying to leave the organiser’s with little option but to abandon racing. That meant that, reflecting their consistency in challenging conditions over the two days, that Team Alinghi SUI1 is the winner of the 2014 Open Nationale Suisse in Versoix-2014! Joining them on the podium were Mobimo in second and Zen Too in third. Congratulations to the organisers and to all of the crews for a great weekend of exciting racing. And, allez Alinghi!
After the summer break, during which the team has excelled in the Extreme Sailing Series, the Vulcain Trophy has returned to Versoix for the Open Nationale Suisse. Alinghi, of course, were sitting pretty in 1st position…. It was a beautiful summer’s day today in Versoix and the wind conditions, varying as befits a classic regatta, made for some great racing. Ranking Day 1: Alinghi Mobimo Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing Zen Too Realstone Team Tilt Okalys Veltigroup Racing Django Ylliam – Comptoir Immobilier Oryx
Over the course of a bank holiday weekend in Cardiff, the weather ranged from blue skies to tempestuous clouds. These changing conditions, combined with a tight and challenging stadium racecourse, created some of the most exciting racing of the 2014 season so far. And the final race had it all… Having raced consistently well throughout the course of the weekend, Alinghi had it all to play for as the fleet lined up for the finale, with the team vying with old rivals The Wave, Muscat and J.P. Morgan BAR for top spot. With all three crews able to secure top spot the racing was tense, competitive and, above all, dramatic. With the teams fighting each other all the way as they tried to gain the upper hand, racing took place at even closer quarters than normal, resulting in a three-way collision as all three teams leaned hard on each other in the tussle for the top. It was The Wave who took advantage of the mayhem to secure Act 5, leaving Alinghi to do battle with Sir Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan BAR for second place. Happily, the team were able to see off their opponents, claiming the runner’s up position that their performance over the weekend more than merited. Commenting after the final race, Alinghi’s tactician Anna Tunnicliffe said: “We were waiting for Leigh to tack and he drove us right into the boats rounding the mark and boats started coming at us head first. We ended up above the mark so we couldn’t bear away and at the same time, Ben (Ainslie) was coming round into the side of us and it all turned into a mess. All three boats were tangled on each other. It’s very frustrating, but hopefully we can learn from our mistakes, we’re still on top which is good – the damage could have been worse. We need to move on to Istanbul and refocus for that event.” With Alinghi still leading the Series leaderboard – albeit by a slightly reduced margin – Act 6 (11-14 September) promises to be one not to miss… Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5 Cardiff, presented by Land Rover standings after Day 4, 33 races: 1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 210 points. 2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 205 points. 3rd J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 203 points. 4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 186 points. 5th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem 182 points. 6th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 175 points. 7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Jonas Hviid-Nielsen, Brad Farrand, Nicolai Sehested 174 points. 8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 154 points. 9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Romain Motteau, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 154 points. 10th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Hugh Styles, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, James Wierzbowski 153 points. 11th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Ray Davies, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 151 points. Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings: 1st Alinghi (SUI) 47 points. 2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 45 points. 3rd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 34 points. 4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 33 points. 5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 25 points. 6th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 22 points. 7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 20 points. 8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 18 points. 9th Oman Air (OMA) 16 points. 10th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 15 points. 11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 5 points.
After a two-month break, the Extreme Sailing Series returns this Friday (the 22nd) to Cardiff for four days of intense stadium racing. The venue makes for particularly tricky but exciting racing. Surrounded as it is by buildings, the winds can swirl unpredictably, providing a unique challenge. And as it’s a Bank Holiday, big crowds, once again, should create a great atmosphere. Ahead of the start of racing, the teams have arrived in Cardiff to begin fine-tuning their machines. Here are some photos showing exactly what these awesome boats look like in pre-race mode!
In a thrilling end to Act IV of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series Alinghi sealed victory in Saint Petersburg – the team’s third win of the season, which has cemented their place at the top of the overall leaderboard at the halfway mark of the competition. Though the triumph was not secured until the final double-pointer race on Day 4, in truth it was Alinghi’s awesome performance on Day 3 that was the key to victory. Three race wins on this penultimate day saw the team notch an astonishing 74 points to move to the top of the rankings. It was a day and a performance that helmsman Morgan Larson said was his best ever in his three years on the circuit. Six short, action-packed races were sailed on the final day, which provided the best conditions of the week – 10 knots of breeze and 15 knot gusts making for exciting sailing. This meant that the starts were particularly important, with those that got it right able to take full advantage. As has been the case for some time now Alinghi’s biggest rival for top-spot was The Wave. Despite their best efforts, however, the Omani team could not close the overnight points gap on Ernesto Bertarelli’s team. Heading into the final race they needed a gap of seven boats to overtake Alinghi. It was a task too far and the delighted Swiss easily confirmed their win. Afterwards, Morgan Larson said: “It’s nice to put a little stamp on our win and to let the guys know that we’re here to try and win the whole Series this time. The team is working well together and we finally feel confident that we can do it. Saying that, the heat is on, some teams are working really hard and we know that we’ll have to step up if we want to stay head.” It was the fleet’s first visit to Saint Petersburg and to Russia and it was a huge success. There can’t be many more beautiful settings in which to race. Conditions were fantastic, as were the crowds. And Alinghi will certainly have happy memories of the venue! Now, onto Cardiff… Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Saint Petersburg: 1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 160 points. 2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 148 points. 3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Peter Burling, Ray Davies, Blair Tuke, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 146 points. 4th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Phil Sparks, Matt Cornwell 120 points. 5th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Denis Girardet, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem 117 points. 6th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 113 points. 7th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 97 points. 8th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 96 points. 9th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 95 points. 10th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, James Wierzbowski 88 points. 11th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Romain Motteau, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 88 points. 12th RussianFirst (RUS) Georgy Shayduko, Sergey Dzhienbaev, Pavel Kalinchev, Leonid Kazinets, Pavel Karachov 40 points. Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings: 1st Alinghi (SUI) 38 points 2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 35 points 3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 32 points 4th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 28 points 5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 19 points 6th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 17 points 7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 14 points 8th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 13 points 9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 13 points 10th Oman Air (OMA) 11 points 11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 4 points
Photos from a furious day of racing in Saint Petersburg for Act IV of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. All photos copyright Lloyd Images
Ernesto Bertarelli’s team, Alinghi, bested the tough conditions on Day 1 of Act IV of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series, which has come to Russia for the first time. It is a tight stadium racecourse – just 300 metres wide at its narrowest point – and it was made all the more exciting by massive wind shifts that the crews had to battle, as well as contending with a four-knot current that runs across the racecourse. Alinghi, helmed by Morgan Larson were, as the ESS put it themseleves, the “pictures of consistency”. The team were the average fastest boat downwind and the quickest off the startline. That consistency has led to a nine point lead after the end of the first day. In second place are the longtime rivals The Wave, Muscat. Day 2 and the rest of the weekend promise to be a lot of fun on this exciting course… After the day of racing, Alinghi helm Morgan Larson said: “We were pretty terrible yesterday in the practice, so today we came out with a little different attitude. We had decent starts, we tried to stay on the opposite side of the racetrack to the rest of the boats so that every time we split from the group we had cleaner air and finally, a little bit of luck went our way and things worked out for us. It’s a challenging venue and it’s going to keep being challenging throughout the week.”
Sailed in a breezy North East wind (La Bise) the 76th, Bol d’Or was won by LadyCat powered by Spindrift racing, Dona Bertarelli and her crew adding a second victory of this mythic regatta to her successes. Alinghi took third, after battling hard for more than 5 hours and 40 minutes, Realstone completing the podium in second. Started with an already established medium to strong “bise”, the regatta was promising to be intense. All the D35 started with a reef in their mainsail to sail up-wind towards le Bouveret. But the “Bise”, as expected, didn’t blow all the way to the Valais part of Lake Leman and a tactical war started at the approach of Lausanne, forcing the tactician to climb the mast to find some patches of wind on the suddenly calm waters ahead of SUI-1. LadyCat managed to come back to the top of the fleet and passed the Bouveret mark ahead of her opponents. The battle down wind back towards Geneva was intense and many teams went bow down in the waves more than once, pushing their machines to their limits! Alinghi crossed the finish line in 3rd position after 5 hours 42 minutes of an exciting race from the start to the end and stays in the lead of the Vulcain Trophy before the season’s summer break.