With a lack of breeze scuppering racing yesterday the fleet again had to wait for the wind today. When it did come it was light, which made it all the more challenging for the teams, but also a different kind of competition. Alinghi took the win in race 3 and their competitiveness across the rest of the races meant that they leave the field ahead of tomorrow. All to play for!
The wind, or lack of it, at Crans on Lake Geneva conspired against the D35 fleet on the first day of the Grand Prix Alinghi. The conditions meant that the teams could only get out for some practice sessions and a few aborted starts before the Committee called time, with all of the competitors hoping that tomorrow brings some breeze so that racing get going.
The last day of Act 5 in 2016’s Extreme Sailing Series delivered tension, drama and a win for Alinghi in some of the most exciting of racing that the year has seen thus far. Heading into this final day, the team had a buffer of four points over their rivals, Oman Air. But with this small, tight course and with a final race that counted for double-points, things were far from certain for the Swiss. As it turned out, it was a real nail-biting finale. Four races were sailed and Alinghi got off to a flyer, winning the first. However, Oman Air pegged the team back, winning the second and third races. That meant that the last race double-pointer would be a classic match race, as the two teams were level on points. Whoever finished ahead of the other would take the Act. Arnaud Psarofaghis and the team sailed a brilliant race, finding the breeze when it mattered to secure the points and the Act. With the victory, Alinghi have narrowed the gap between them and Oman in the overall Series leaderboard to five points. Next up, the beautiful Madeira Islands, where Alinghi will be trying to repeat what was a great four days of competition. Before then, the team will, next weekend (9th – 11th September), be doing battle in the GP Alinghi in Crans-près-Céligny on Ernesto Bertarelli's Decision 35.
Three wins on the first day in St Petersburg, two on the second day and one today, the penultimate day of racing in Russia. And yet the team's highly impressive consistency across the other six races, including two second place finished in the last two races, meant that the Swiss have leapfrogged their rivals from Oman into first place on the leaderboard, with a cushion of four points. That's exactly where they want to be ahead of the finale tomorrow and today's performance will give them a lot of confidence. Perhaps it was a pre-racing meeting with the Swiss Consul in St Petersburg that inspired the team today, but whatever the reason Alinghi took full advantage of a penalty for Oman Air in Race 17 to secure a win, with their rivals back in seventh. That result moved the team to the top of the leaderboard and it was there they stayed, even extending the gap by a further two points. So, all very much in play for tomorrow.
Matching the performance of yesterday’s opener to Act 5 in St Petersburg, in which Alinghi notched three wins, was always going to be challenging, but the team gave it a good shot, recording two victories out of the day’s seven races. Those two maximums, couple with a second place in race two meant that they retained their overnight position of second overall, albeit now behind leaders Oman Air, with SAP Extreme slipping back to third place. It might have been even better for the Swiss had they not broken their jib sheet in the final race, meaning that they had to settle for sixth, and that only after having passed the Sail Portugal team in a tight final mark rounding. With two days of racing left only five points separate Alinghi from first place and so there will be plenty of interest for the spectators on the Neva river over the weekend. Join us for live updates. Allez Alinghi!
Light wind conditions delayed racing in the last and decisive day. Only one regatta could be launched. Alinghi having to finish four places ahead of Oman to win this 4th Act. When crossing the line in 3rd position, everyone hold his breath, Oman was in the last position, four places behind. It's only in the last jibes that they managed to pass BAR to take the event a single point ahead of Alinghi. Well done team for this second place!
Today was Alinghi's Day! Starting with three wins in a row, the team seemed unstoppable! But the prohibition to use spinnakers in race 13 of this Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Hamburg, disrupted the team's frenetic pace of wins. In race 14, the gennakers were flying again and the team won all remaining races of the day. As a result , Alinghi is now seven points only behind the leader. Everything is still open for tomorrow and let's bet that the team will give it all! Go Alinghi! Photo Credit: Lloyd Images
Today was a good day for Alinghi. With two victories out of seven races, the team has managed to climb into the second place of the provisional ranking of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 4. The public who came in droves has been filled by the show, thanks to the proximity of the action but also by the wind conditions that have proven significantly better than the previous day. Photo Credit: Lloyd Images
Despite light and tricky wind conditions, the race committee managed to launch three races on the first day of Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Hamburg, but unfortunately the third one had to be abandoned, the wind having totally disappeared. Alinghi picked a fourth and a third place in the two races of the day, standing on the third place of the leaderboard behind usual rivals Oman in first and Red Bull in second. With three more days of sailing to go and better wind forecast announced, no doubt that the crew will try it best to climb back to the top of the leaderboard! Photo Credit: Lloyd Images
Two race victories in the final day in Cardiff amid challenging wind and intermittent rain showers gave the team much to cheer, but, ultimately, SAP's win in the final double-pointer race denied Alinghi a place on the Act 3 podium, with the Danish team securing the bonus points to pip the team to third. Oman Air deservedly took first place, reward for their dominance over the course of the four days of sailing, and a result that leaves them three points clear of Alinghi at the top of the series leaderboard. Act 4 in Hamburg, beginning on the 28th July, gives the team the first of the five remaining opportunities to make up the gap. Allez Alinghi!