More tactical day
After the drama and action-packed first four days of Extreme Sailing Series at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, the breezy conditions that cart-wheeled the Extreme 40 Aberdeen Asset Management yesterday, eased off today at the halfway stage of the regatta.
It was also a day that many well-known faces from the world of sailing and sport dropped by to sail on board as a fifth man guest or just enjoy the atmosphere: Gavin Hastings, the best rugby player to come out of Scotland, and Scottish professional female golfers Carly Booth and Mhairi McKay joined British solo sailor Mike Golding; Ken Read, skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race entry Puma Ocean Racing; Vincent Riou, winner of the 2004/05 Vendée Globe; triple Solitaire du Figaro winner and one time Formula 40 multihull champion Jean Le Cam; round the world yachtswoman Samantha Davies; Sarah Gosling, double Olympic Gold medalist; and Red Bull’s wakeboarder Quentin Delefortrie, who impressed the crowds as he performed his wakeboarding skills off the back of the Red Bull Extreme Sailing Extreme 40 before racing started.
The British Aberdeen Asset Management team, headed up by Olympic 49er sailor John Pink, did a great job overnight to get their Extreme 40 ‘race ready’ for today, replacing the 62ft rig with a spare mast. The more benign northwesterly conditions allowed the full fleet (minus Artemis Racing who have been unable to repair the damage incurred in Sunday's collision) to race together on the stadium course set off Egypt Point, right along the shoreline in front of the crowds.
The racing started with a round of one-on-one speed duels before the 11 teams lined up to race as one fleet for the first time since day 1. It was a case of playing the shifts, finding the best patches of pressure out of the 6-8 knots of breeze, and keeping out of the adverse tide on the upwind legs, tacking as close into shore as they dared. For Sidney Gavignet’s Oman Air, they dared too much and went aground in the final race right in front of the Race Village. Crew man David (Freddie) Carr leapt into the water to manhandle the Extreme 40 off the beach.
After the seven races today, including five full-fleet races, it is The Wave, Muscat skippered by Leigh McMillan which has taken over the lead from his friend and rival Paul Campbell-James at the helm of Luna Rossa: “Today it opened up an opportunity to get some proper full fleet racing in with some light winds so we really wanted to take full advantage of that and I think we did a pretty good job… The tide was absolutely ripping and I think that caught a few people out in the beginning… It was so much more trickier conditions, more frustrating at times, but it was a good day for us.”
McMillan, who was born on the Isle of Wight, made the best use of his ‘home’ advantage, but only has a very slim lead ahead the French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Max Sirena’s Luna Rossa in third. “We are still very much in the game,” commented Pennec. “We have fought hard over the last three days to add one or two points over the competition…and I think that’s going to be the case until the end.”
The Swiss team headed up by Tanguy Cariou with two-times Series runner up Yann Guichard on the helm, had a stronger day winning the final race, elevating them to 4th overall, up two places in the standings from yesterday.
Britain’s Ian Williams on Team GAC Pindar will be annoyed to have dropped a place in the standings after scoring a win in the second fleet race, the team could do no better than 8th in the remaining races.
Roman Hagara’s team on Red Bull Extreme Sailing are lying in sixth place on 86 points, only three points ahead of Oman Air which enjoyed a second race win in the penultimate race today.
The Adam Beashel-led team on Emirates Team New Zealand is not having the regatta they would have hoped for so far. Snagging the top mark in the first fleet race of the day, relegated them to the back of the fleet by the time they freed the mark, and the Kiwis' best result of the day was a fifth place leaving them in ninth overall, 8 points behind the Italian team on Niceforyou.
The two 49er teams from Malta and the UK, provided some great racing over the last three days showcasing why this Olympic class is so popular
Results after 23 races
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 118 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 114.4 points*
3rd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 114 points
4th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 99 points
5th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemskerk / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 89 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Luke Cross 86 points
7th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 83 points
8th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele de Luca / Simone de Mari 66 points
9th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Richard Meacham / Andrew McLean / Chris Ward 58 points
10th Aberdeen Asset Management (GBR), John Pink / Rick Peacock / Greg Homann / John Gimson 58 points
11th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Benedikt Wenk / Dan Morris 48 points
12th Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange / Andy Fethers / Michele Ivaldi / Phil Jameson 21 points
Above: Vincent Riou
Jean le Cam
Sarah Gosling (nee Webb)