15 points separate the top six teams
One of the closest, if not the closest ever, finishes on the Extreme Sailing Series is on the cards as the ten Extreme 40s go into the final day of racing with just 15 points separating the top six teams. The overall lead changed three times over the nine races held on the penultimate day with seven of the teams claiming at least one race win. The Wave, Muscat led as racing got underway in a light westerly breeze; by the end of the third race, Alinghi, who led the championship here on the first two days, overhauled them; only for The Wave, Muscat to take back control with two races to go, Leigh McMillan’s team doing enough to lead going into the final day of racing in Trapani.
And Britain’s four-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie had an outstanding day, elevating Oman Air from fourth overall at the start of racing to second overall, just 4.5 points adrift of their Oman Sail stablemates. “It was good day. It was one of those days where you don’t really know how you are getting those results, but you are,” said Ainslie. “It’s good, we are still improving and we are hoping to get some more results tomorrow. The last two starts weren’t great but it’s going to happen in this fleet as there are lot of really good sailors. It’s the last day tomorrow and we are in the leading bunch so I think we all have a chance of winning.”
Pierre Pennec’s team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild played it right today posting a race win and two second places in the final two races of the day to move up to third overall: “Finishing in third today is good because since day one we have been improving every day and we still have the feeling that we can reach our peak,” said bowman Hervé Cunningham. “We would like to stay on the podium but we have some higher goals, and we want to win this event so that we are still in the fight for the overall championship. Our job is not done and we have a lot to do to tomorrow. The points are still so close and you can take 22 points in the very final race.”
Roman Hagara’s team on Red Bull Extreme Sailing had a champagne finish to the day, winning the last two races putting them in contention for the podium tomorrow: “It’s pretty tight on points now, we caught up well today although we had three false starts which hurt a little bit as well. You have to take every race they come and the decision will be made in the final race. If you are still there and within reach of the leaders then you have a chance.”
Max Sirena’s Luna Rossa struggled to find their form and a below par performance dropped the Italian team from third to fifth place. But no one would write off the ability for Sirena’s team to still claim the Extreme Sailing Series event in Trapani.
Right now, the game is wide open for the teams in the top half of the leaderboard, but with some big breeze forecast for tomorrow afternoon, it could be a very different picture by the end of play tomorrow.
Despite winning the second race of the day, the Italian team Niceforyou skippered by Alberto Barovier were overtaken by Britain’s World Match Racing Champion Ian Williams on Team GAC Pindar which now lies in 8th behind Emirates Team New Zealand in 7th.
Extreme Sailing Series Act 6 at Trapani supported by Telecom Italia - overall standings after 26 races
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 204 points
2nd Oman Air (OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 199.5 points
3rd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 193 points
4th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 192 points
5th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 191 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 189 points
7th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Jeremy Lomas / Richard Meacham / Rob Waddell 150.5 points
8th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Pierluigi De Felice / Andrew Walsh / Ed Smyth 138 points
9th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Lorenzo Mazza / Simone de Mari 118 points
10th Team Extreme ‘Sailing Seacily’ (EUR), Sebbe Godefroid / Patrick Demesmaeker / Jan Coppens / Vince Thery 111 points
From STUDIO BORLENGHI/Stefano Gattini