Extreme Sailing Series 2014: Preview

20 February, 2014

The 2014 edition of the Extreme Sailing Series kicks off this weekend in Singapore and it is the most ambitious of the series to date. Having finished second last year – by the smallest of margins – Alinghi will be looking to go one better this year in a battle with old, and new, rivals. The Teams The fleet has grown for 2014, with eleven teams, including several newcomers, racing for the spoils. Perhaps the biggest news is that British Olympic hero Sir Ben Ainslie will be leading a team this year. Having competed for Oman Air in 2011, Sir Ben is this year fielding his own team – J.P. Morgan BAR. Talking about the ESS racing, he said: “I remember that it is crazy racing. Anyone who has seen the Series – or taken part in it – will tell you that the style of the courses, the speed of the boats and the number of boats on any side of the course at one time, means there is a lot of action and a lot of potential for crashes and incidents. So it makes for exciting racing and you really have to be on your toes.” Other teams not present last year include Emirates Team New Zealand – skippered by Dean Barker – Gazprom Team Russia, Groupama and Oman Air, the second team fielded from the Sultanate alongside reigning champions The Wave, Muscat. Alinghi, who will again be skippered by Ernesto Bertarelli, have opted for the same crew as that which came so close in 2014, including Morgan Larson as tactician. Speaking about the year of racing ahead, Ernesto said: “Finishing second last season, with the same number of points as the winner is a great motivation for the team to fight hard again in 2014! The Series’ combination of one-design boats, short racecourses and an improving selection of venues gives everyone – teams and sponsors – an exciting experience. 2014 is Alinghi’s fifth year and I look forward to the start of the sailing season”. Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Teams and skippers: Team / Skipper Alinghi (SUI) – Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI) Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) – Dean Barker (NZL) GAC Pindar (AUS) – Seve Jarvin (AUS) Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) – Igor Lisovenko (RUS) Groupama Team France (FRA) – Franck Cammas (FRA) J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) – Ben Ainslie (GBR) Oman Air (OMA) – Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) Realteam (SUI) – Jérôme Clerc (SUI) Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) – Roman Hagara (AUT) SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) – Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN) / Rasmus Køstner (DEN) The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – Leigh McMillan (GBR) The Circuit This year is the first that Singapore has hosted the opening Act of the Series, where the teams will be jostling for position in the world-famous Marina Bay. In March they will do battle in Oman, before returning to China’s Olympic Sailing City in Qingdao, in May. The next venue is a brand new one, with the teams heading to Saint Petersburg in June. From there it’s back to Cardiff for stadium racing in August, before the catamarans race on the Bosphorus in Istanbul. The penultimate Act will be at a venue to be confirmed in the Mediterranean in October, while the deciding Act will take place in Sydney – the first time that the fleet has raced in the Southern Hemisphere. Extreme Sailing Series ™ 2014 Host Venues: Act 1: Singapore, 20-23 February Act 2: Muscat, Oman 19-22 March Act 3: Qingdao, China 1-4 May Act 4: Saint Petersburg, Russia 26-29 June Act 5: Cardiff, UK 22-25 August Act 6: Istanbul, Turkey 11-14 September Act 7: Mediterranean 2-5 October Act 8: Sydney, Australia 11-14 December

Alinghi 1st in Brazil!

19 November, 2013

In a nail-biting finale to 2013’s Extreme Sailing Series Alinghi took a thrilling win in Act 8, In Florianopolis, Brazil. And Ernesto Bertarelli’s team’s stunning performance meant that they came within a hair’s breadth of taking the overall Series itself, finishing level on points at the top of the leaderboard with The Wave, Muscat. In the end, it was only Act Win Countback that denied Alinghi with what would have been a fitting end to a superlative season. Nonetheless, Alinghi have every reason to be delighted with their performance. Over the course of four days in Brazil the team and their rivals from Oman staged a private duel for the Series, going into match racing mode from the off, to the delight of the thousands of onlookers. Going into the final race – a double-pointer – it was The Wave who were leading the Act, but having got themselves in front Alinghi didn’t look back, securing second and the Act victory. Tantalisingly, The Wave crossed the finish line to secure enough points to justensure first place overall. Afterwards, The Wave’s skipper, Leigh McMillan, paid tribute to his rivals, saying: “We haven’t been able to shake Alinghi all year; they haven’t really put a foot wrong”. Indeed, with victory in Brazil Alinghi became the only team to finish on the podium at every Act during 2013 – a fitting testament to the team’s consistency. Morgan Larson, Alinghi’s helmsman, was equally fulsome in his praise for the team with whom he and his crew had just done battle: “It felt like from the very start of the season it would come right down to that last race and even after the first day of this event Leigh slipped ahead a little bit, and we knew we would have to fight and we could get it back! Leigh capitalised on some big wind shifts and he deserved his victory!” Going on to praise his crew, “This year has been an amazing team effort and I really enjoyed sailing with the Swiss team. The guys onboard really welcomed me in the team; I couldn’t dream of a better situation personally!” Highlight’s of 2013’s final Act here: [VIDEO::] ESS 2013 Act 8, Florianopolis Position / Team / Points Alinghi (SUI) 219 points The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 215 points Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 208 points ChinaSpirit (CHN) 184 points Realteam (SUI) 164 points GAC Pindar (NZL) 159 points SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 122 points Team Brazil Mapfre (BRA) 61 points Extreme Sailing Series™ 2013 Overall Standings Position / Team / Points The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 74 points Alinghi (SUI) 74 points Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 61 points SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 51 points Realteam (SUI) 49 points GAC Pindar (NZL) 42 points Team X Invitational 34 points Team Korea (KOR) 16 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