A very special year ended in suitably special fashion for Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi in Sydney, as they secured not just another Act win, but also wrapped up the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series title. Coming after the summer’s victory in the Vulcain Trophy, the performance in Australia caps what has been a hugely memorable 12 months for the Swiss team. Morgan Larson put it better than anyone after the racing: “We’ve had an amazing season with an amazing team. To win the season and the Act on the last day in the conditions we had here in Sydney, which is the best sailing venue in the world, is a special moment that’s going to take a long time to sink in. The level of confidence that we have on our boat just made me realise I can win anything with these guys. This is the best feeling I’ve had all year and probably in the whole of my sailing career, so I’m going to cherish it. “This victory was made possible by a superb team effort, by our spirit and by the unwavering and invaluable support of Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi’s heartbeat” In many ways, Sydney had saved the best for last, with big winds making for exciting racing. Indeed, so strong were the winds on the scheduled first day – up to 30 knots! – that racing had to be cancelled. However, from Day 2 onwards, the fleet was able to do battle on the city’s harbour, with thousands watching some fantastic duels as they played out on the water. Such had been the level of Alinghi’s performance throughout the season – four Act wins had already been secured – that the team only had to finish sixth to secure the overall title. However, playing it safe was never on the agenda, and the team went all out to win their fifth Act – a risk that is testament to the team’s competitive spirit. In the end, it all came to down the final double-pointer race, with Alinghi needing to finish ahead of their rivals,The Wave, Muscat. This they did, in triumphant fashion, holding their nerve to take second place in the race and the Act with it – a fitting end to what has been a remarkable season in which the team have been on the podium in every Act. This victory, of course, is the second circuit triumph of the season for Alinghi, after SUI1 helmed by Ernesto Bertarelli won the Vulcain Trophy – the other one-design multihill championship – on Lake Geneva, with an event to spare. Taken together, these two titles have confirmed a dominant year for the team, Well done to Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey and to Anna Tunnicliffe, Commenting on the victory in Sydney and on the season as a whole, Ernesto Bertarelli said: “This victory is testament to the spirit, unity, dedication and passion of Alinghi. Coming after our win in the Vulcain Trophy, it caps a remarkable season for us and for Swiss sailing, which is proving once again that it is a major force to be reckoned with. “I want to recognise the performance and achievements of the Alinghi crew, led so brilliantly by Morgan Larson. Their consistency and competitive drive has been unparalleled and this victory is so well deserved. I also want to pay tribute to all of the other teams that raced the Extreme Sailing Series who made this season so exciting. I think that, together, we have again shown that one-design sailing, with all teams able to do battle on an equal footing, not only brings about the most thrilling sport, but also the most inspiring example of sportsmanship, fair play and genuine competition. I hope that this title serves to inspire the next generation of sailors to take part in what is such a fantastic sport.” 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.
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::https://youtu.be/XF0bx-LII9Q::news] 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
Follow all of the action in the closing Act of 2013’s Extreme Sailing Series, live from Florianópolis in Brazil. With conditions looking good, it’s all set up for a fantastic finish, with five teams capable of a podium finish and Alinghi sitting pretty in second place, just two points behind the Series’ leaders. Racing will take place from the 14th-17th November, with live coverage available here from Friday through to the finale on Sunday: Friday 15th November: 1600-1700 BRST / 1800-1900 GMT [VIDEO::https://youtu.be/8WvhaGu02R0::news] Saturday 16th November: 1600-1700 BRST / 1800 – 1900 GMT [VIDEO::https://youtu.be/fmpOb48Mp54::news] Series Finale, Sunday 17th November: 1530-1630 BRST / 1730-1830 GMT [VIDEO::https://youtu.be/YQhvhPX11JY::news]
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