Four in a row secures the championship At the mid-seasons stage the task of overcoming their rival, Oman Air, would require no less than four wins from the last four Acts, a mammoth task. After winning in St Petersburg, Madeira and Lisbon, the Swiss team arrived at the grand finale in Sydney with the job nearly done, but with one last hurdle to overcome – the eighth and last stage in Sydney harbour. Having won this in Australia this weekend, Alinghi have done it – they are the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series Champions! Following on from previous victories in this Series aboard the Extreme 40s in 2008 and 2014, this win marks the first for Ernesto Bertarelli's team on the flying GC32s, making it three overall on this prestigious international circuit. Commenting, he said: "I am really delighted and proud of the team, whose season has been just immense." Arnaud Psarofaghis said: "This victory means a lot to me. I do not think I have fully taken it in! I feel very lucky, happy and privileged to be racing with an amazing team, the best there is. The guys did a very good job on board, as did David and Joao preparing the boat, not to mention Pierre-Yves, our coach. I would also like to thank Ernesto Bertarelli for giving me the opportunity to break my duck in the GC32 this season." Nicolas Charbonnier said: "I'm really happy today because the battle to get ahead of Oman and Red Bull was really very tough. It's fantastic to sail with this team, but more importantly a lot of fun. I hope that we will continue this momentum next year and compete for more championships." "Happy, fresh and available for another 10 races", laughed Yves Detrey, who had just finished a grueling day of sailing. "I'm so pleased with our win. It is the result of a job well done and a reward for all of our hard work." Tim Lapauw said: "It was really cool! I'm very happy! Great day, great regatta, great season. I am delighted to be part of this team." "We came to win: mission accomplished! Thanks to our partners: HYT, Swiss, Manotel and Marinepool for their support and to our supporters for their encouragement throughout the year. It is always with pride that we sail knowing that we have you all behind us", said Nils Frei. "That's it, we won! I am as happy as happy can be", said João Cabeçadas. David Nikles elaborated: "The sailors gave everything and stayed focused until the end to end this season. They deserve it." The final word belongs to the team's coach, Pierre-Yves Jorand: "A fantastic season, truly. The boys navigated perfectly and managed their races superbly in these latter events. Congratulations also to Joao and David, who make up our technical team, and thanks to our fans all over the world. It is always fun and rewarding to see a Swiss flag flying high when we are racing." Eight races sailed today, in winds varying from nine to 18 knots. The season has closed and Alinghi has met its objective, adding the first foiling Championship to its previous achievements. Overall ranking in Sydney after 25 races (four of which were in the split-fleet format): 1st - Alinghi (SUI): 238 points 2nd - SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN): 226 points 3rd - Oman Air (OMA): 215 points Overall ranking of the 2016 championship after eight Acts: 1st - Alinghi (SUI): 101 points 2nd - Oman Air (OMA): 99 points 3rd - Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): 91 points Find all of the results in detail at http://www.extremesailingseries.com/results A Recap What: Grand final of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™, which has seen eight Acts in eight host cities, on three continents. Who: Eight international teams, each made up of a crew of five Where: Sydney Harbor (Australia), between the Opera House and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron When: Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th December How: Teams compete in short, fast races in front of the public on a 32-ft foiling catamaran, the GC32 Crew Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI) Headsail trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI) Headsail trimmer and foil adjuster: Timothé Lapauw (FRA) Tactician and mainsail trimmer: Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA) Helm, co-skipper: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI) Technical Team and Coach João Cabeçadas (POR) David Nikles (SUI) Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI) #GoAlinghiGo Photos Credit : Jesús Renedo / Lloyd Images
For the five Alinghi teammates and the other seven teams in the running, this penultimate day of competition was synonymous with action and endurance. In wind of 13 to 20 knots, the race director Phil Lawrence launched eight races, each consisting of three laps of the course. It must be admitted that the weather and conditions can be quite magical in Sydney Bay: the setting is sublime and the wind has allowed for a flying spectacle, sometimes epic, on each of the 17 races launched since Thursday. Arnaud Psarofaghis, Alinghi's helm said: "With an average start on the first race of the day, we could only manage a 6th place. But we improved straightaway, picking up two 3rd places, two second and three wins. That meant we had the best of it out of all the fleet with 85 points added to our total. Red Bull also had a great day and moved ahead of Oman in the overall standings. It is difficult to point out what really makes the difference between the teams, since we're all so close - indeed, five out eight have won in Sydney. For our part, we seek to navigate in a simple way, execute nice manoeuvres and concentrate on just running the boat. It seems that the strategy is paying off, in any case. Anyway, it's been a great day and we have the satisfaction of a job well done. Tomorrow we will continue in the same spirit." After three days of racing, Alinghi is now six points ahead of Red Bull Sailing Team and 19 ahead of Oman Air. Not enough, however, to mean that the deal is done, given how radically things can change with one or two bad races. Especially since the last race of tomorrow will count for double points. Nicolas Charbonnier, tactician said: "To prepare for the final day of racing, we will first try to rest to recover from a very physical day. We will do a debriefing session tomorrow morning to identify a few small improvements and then we will continue to methodically apply our strategy without focusing too much on our two main opponents, because the races come thick and fast, as does the distribution of points for doing well in them! If there is pressure, it just pushes us to give the best of ourselves." The 2016 season will be settled this Sunday between 14:00 and 17:00 (local time, UTC + 11) Prize-giving scheduled for 17:45 (local time, UTC + 11) The general standings after 17 races (four of which were in the split-fleet format) are: 1st - Alinghi (SUI): 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 1st, 1st: 152 points 2nd - Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): 1st, 6th, 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 4th, 5th: 146 points 3rd - Oman Air (OMA ): 3rd, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 7th, 6th, 4th: 133 points Find all of the results in detail at http://www.extremesailingseries.com/results/2016-Sydney
Six races overall, four for each team (with the fleet sailing in two groups in the afternoon), about twenty laps around the course's buoys, and as many turns and gybes by each boat, and all in a wind that varied from eight to 22 knots and under the beautiful Australian sun. Such were the ingredients for Day 2 of the final Act of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ in Sydney. Pierre-Yves Jorand explains the decision to split the fleet in two: "One of the peculiarities and attractions of this Series is that the spectators can get close to the boats as they race, much the same as you would from the stands in Formula 1. Given the strong and unstable wind we had today, shifting in force and direction, the Race Director had no choice but to split the fleet to launch the early races in a confined area close to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron." Sailing in this configuration, Alinghi won both of the runs, having made good starts, maintained good speed and made good manoeuvres. Nils Frei takes up the story of the rest of the day: "A change in the direction of the wind meant that the course could be reconfigured and the whole fleet could race as one. With eight boats on this narrow course you can quickly find yourself in traffic if you don't take a risk at the start. Some teams certainly took this approach to try and find clear water. That can pay off, but it can also go the other way, for example going across the line too soon or executing the start poorly. Given where we stand, we went for conservative starts, which is why we recorded 4th and 5th place finishes. We can be happy with our day, because with this kind of race format anything can happen." In terms of the battle for the Series podium, all three contenders scored a similar amount of points on Day 2. Although Alinghi relinquish one point to Oman Air, the Swiss team still lead the standings at the halfway point of this grand final of the 2016 season. After seven races for each team (two per team were in the split fleet format, meaning Sydney Harbour has seen nine races overall) the general standings read: 1st – Alinghi (SUI): 2nd,1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 4th, 5th – 67 points 2nd – Oman Air (OMA): 3rd, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd – 65 points 3rd – Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): 1st, 6th, 4rd, 4rd, 1st, 3rd, 4th: 62 points Find all of the results in detail at http://www.extremesailingseries.com/results/2016-Sydney Follow the action With up to eight races on each of the four days, there will be plenty of sport to enjoy, though do watch out for the time difference: UTC + 11, i.e. + 10 hours compared to Swiss time. Online, via the Alinghi homepage (www.alinghi.com) - Races modeled in 3D from December 8 to 11 - 90 minutes of live pictures on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th afternoon (from 3.30pm to 5pm local time) - Replay available at the end of the races On Twitter @alinghiteam: - Updates after each race On Facebook @teamalinghi: - Pictures and video interviews throughout the regatta - Live broadcast of the awards ceremony - Sunday 11 December from 17.45 local time (= 7.45 in Switzerland)
"The conditions were pretty wild today in Sydney harbour. With such strong winds, our focus was on keeping control of the boat. We could foil, but we avoided doing anything crazy! To be confident of our manoeuvres we were even on our hands and knees as we traversed the net during the turns and gybes". So said Yves Detrey, Alinghi’s bowman and one of the toughest sailors on the circuit. It was a hard day in this, the opening of the grand final of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™, with an average wind of 20 knots and gusts up to 28. With this the situation, Alignhi’s caution proved a good decision, providing two second-place finishes and a victory in the day’s three races. Their rival for the Series, Oman Air, also won a race, but finished third and fourth in the others. In the middle of the afternoon, the race committee asked the competitors to return to the dock. Tim Lapauw explains: "In the third round, two boats capsized (Portuguese Visit Madeira and English Land Rover BAR Academy). Thankfully, there were no injuries or damages to the boats, but, understandably, for safety reasons, the race director preferred to stop there. We sailed well and are happy with our day. We were just really watchful and respectful of the conditions." So far, so good for the team, who now look to continue where they left off tomorrow. The standings in Sydney after three races, with 12 points for first place, 11 for second and so on, are: 1st – Alinghi (SUI): 2nd, 1st, 2nd: 34 points 2nd – Oman Air (OMA): 3rd, 4th, 1st: 31 points 3rd – Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): 1st, 6th, 3rd: 29 points Find all of the results at http://www.extremesailingseries.com/results/2016-Sydney
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. A Recap What: Grand final of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™, which has seen eight Acts in eight host cities, on three continents. Who: Eight international teams, each made up of a crew of five Where: Sydney Harbor (Australia), between the Opera House and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron When: Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th December How: Teams compete in short, fast races in front of the public on a 32-ft foiling catamaran, the GC32 Follow the action With up to eight races on each of the four days, there will be plenty of sport to enjoy, though do watch out for the time difference: UTC + 11, i.e. + 10 hours compared to Swiss time. Online, via the Alinghi homepage (www.alinghi.com) - Races modeled in 3D from December 8 to 11 - 90 minutes of live pictures on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th afternoon (from 3.30pm to 5pm local time) - Replay available at the end of the races On Twitter @alinghiteam: - Updates after each race On Facebook @teamalinghi: - Pictures and video interviews throughout the regatta - Live broadcast of the awards ceremony - Sunday 11 December from 17.45 local time (= 7.45 in Switzerland) Crew Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI) Headsail trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI) Headsail trimmer and foil adjuster: Timothé Lapauw (FRA) Tactician and mainsail trimmer: Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA) Helm, co-skipper: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI) Technical Team and Coach João Cabeçadas (POR) David Nikles (SUI) Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
Setubal, in Portugal, is a European City of Sport for 2016 and Alinghi’s rigger, Joao Cabecadas, who hails from the town, was honoured to have been named its Ambassador for Sailing. During a recent trip to his hometown, Joao had the opportunity to address a primary school and a secondary school, as well as participate in a discussion with 200 students at the sports school in the Forum Luisa. Having been a key part of Alinghi’s America’s Cup campaigns and a central figure in the team’s exploits today, Joao had much to say about sailing and about his other ocean-based passions, such as kite surfing and windsurfing. Having answered questions about the Cup campaigns, the Extreme Sailing Series and more, Joao and his friend, Joao Rodriques (seven-time Olympic windsurfer), then took to the water to show off their skills. Every little bit helps in inspiring the next generation!
In recognition of his unique achievement of having created and led the team that returned the Auld Mug to Europe for the first time in its 150-year history – and the first to win on their debut – Alinghi’s Ernesto Bertarelli was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the historic New York Yacht Club, Friday 21stOctober. The Hall of Fame honours those individuals who have made “outstanding contributions to yachting’s most distinguished competition”. Also inducted was the Lord Dunraven, a family member of whom accepted the award in recognition of his exploits in the America’s Cup competitions of the late nineteenth century. Besides his team’s record-breaking victories, Ernesto was selected to join this exclusive group of Hall of Fame sailorsfor having produced the 32nd Cup in Valencia – “among the most successful events in the competition’s post-war history” – and for having a vision for the America’s Cup that “clearly broke boundaries”. The Selection Committee further concluded that, “alongside his achievements in other highly competitive circuits”, he has “demonstrated a depth of ability to build talented teams and a remarkable determination to win. He has created a new winning tradition in Swiss sailing and has both inspired and invested in the next generation of his nation’s sailors.” Speaking about joining the Hall of Fame, Ernesto said: “Having been introduced to sailing as a boy, I’ve always known that the America’s Cup is the holy grail of our sport, our Mount Everest. To think that I, even in a small way, could have shaped its history by being the first team to return the Auld Mug to Europe is a special and humbling honour, something I never thought would happen. “I want to thank the New York Yacht Club and the Hall of Fame selection committee. The journey that has brought me here was not a solo expedition, but rather one made possible – and shared – by the hundreds of people whose talent, passion and dedication were the DNA of the Alinghi Team. “To them all, I say, remember the mission that we set ourselves all those years ago: ‘We want to build a team to be proud of’. We did it!” Read more about the Hall of Fame, here, or about the New York Yacht Club, here
It has been a golden few days in Portugal for the Extreme Sailing Series, with a superb Lisbon setting matched by equally tremendous conditions. They combined to make for exciting and fast racing. So fast, in fact, that Alinghi nudged 40 knots on Day 3! Having put in some dominating performances over the first three days, not just in terms of race wins, but also in terms of consistent place-finishes, Alinghi had opened up a big gap at the top of the leaderboard heading into the final day. Though there were no race wins today, another excellent and consistent performance saw the team secure the Act victory, meaning that – ahead of the finale in Sydney at the end of the year – Alinghi now trail Oman Air by only two points thanks to three Act wins on the bounce. More of the same in Australia, please, when racing starts on the 8th of December! Photo credit: Lloyd Images
Conditions were just about perfect on Day 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Lisbon, so much so that a top speed by Alinghi of 32 knots in one race was bettered just a half an hour later with the team reaching 37!. The stadium course and the crowd there got to see the GC32s taken to their limits and it made for some thrilling and high-speed racing. Having recorded two wins on both of the Act’s previous days, Alinghi had set themselves a tough act to follow, but, again, they got off to a flyer, winning the first of the day’s seven races. There then followed a second place and a third, with a little interlude of a fifth, before another win and then two second-place finishes in the day’s last two races. For all of the victories, it has been the team’s great consistency that sees them way out front heading into tomorrow’s closing day. A full 19 points separates them from second-place Noruato, with Oman Air a further nine points back. Lisbon has been awesome fun and tomorrow’s racing can’t come soon enough!
Alinghi have been enjoying their time in Portugal, so much so that it’s hard to recall a better day than today’s for the team in their history in the Extreme Sailing Series. Just as yesterday, they started off with two wins from the day’s first two races, but – improving on yesterday – they then recorded three successive second place finishes. This super performance means that the team have extended their lead at the top of the Act leaderboard to 14 points over Norauto, with Oman Air a further ten back. It was all stadium racing today, with the coastal race having to be postponed because of wind, and the team have shown their mettle. Keep going like this and it will be a vital step in the attempt to claw back Oman’s in the overall Series. Follow tomorrow’s action live on the website. Photo credit: Lloyd Images