Oman Air clings on to the lead
The second day of Extreme Sailing Series racing in Almeria, Spain, was a mixed affair of four open water races staged outside the port of Almeria and a stadium race inside the harbour which led to some dream starts and some nightmare endings…
The wind gods were initially kind bringing six knots of sea breeze, although this died away to four knots, and as the 11 boat Extreme 40 fleet started the final stadium race it blew its last breath as the sailors did their best to complete the short course. The good news is that more breeze is on its way for tomorrow and Saturday which will bring alive the stadium action for the Spanish public.
For the Swiss team Alinghi, skippered by Tanguy Cariou, the start of the second day went like a dream winning three races in a row that temporarily elevated them to fourth in the rankings, from ninth yesterday: “Everything was perfect in the first three races, from the starts to tactics and boat speed, we couldn’t really dream of a better scenario,” said skipper Tanguy Cariou. “Unfortunately, the stadium race didn’t work as well for us. It seems difficult to find the right way to work as a team, to find our rhythm.” Alinghi ran out of time to complete the final stadium race, but Cariou remains optimistic: “In terms of wind, the worst is behind us. We should have good sailing conditions from tomorrow, which we are all looking forward to.”
Ben Ainslie’s team on Oman Air keep hold of the top spot after the five races today which is impressive considering this is all pretty new for the three-time Olympic gold medalist: “This is a massive learning curve for me,” said Ainslie. “It’s the first time I have sailed multihulls so I am learning something new each day which is very rewarding.” Emirates Team New Zealand, helmed by Adam Beashel, managed to keep in the mix all day and their hard work was rewarded as they climbed into second place, only three points behind Oman Air.
Leigh McMillan’s crew on The Wave, Muscat, also had a rewarding day claiming the final stadium race, their first race win since Trapani, and climbed four places on the leaderboard: “Finally, we got out of our rut that we have been in since the last event in Nice,” said McMillan. “We just put things back together today, and we are back on the right side of the pressure and it went our way. So it’s really nice to actually finish the day with some good results and be in the race for this event.” The Omani team is now in fourth place overall in the standings from 8th place yesterday, five points behind Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar gained one place on the leaderboard with their fifth place in the last race ahead of Max Sirena’s Luna Rossa who dropped to sixth place overall, despite winning the penultimate race.
Roman Hagara’s team on Red Bull Extreme Sailing had a bit of a nightmare day on the water with a 10th, 8th and like Luna Rossa ran out of time in the final race, and the team now find themselves lying in eighth place overall ahead of Team Extreme in ninth, who enjoyed their best race result in the regatta so far with a third place: “We will see how it goes with more wind, which is the forecast for tomorrow,” said Spanish trimmer Anton Paz. “These boats are big and the effort is titanic so we have had a bit of a truce with light breeze over the last couple of days. With more wind it will be non stop on board!”
The new Team Tilt is bottom of the leaderboard, not surprising in their class debut, but enjoyed a rewarding second place race result in the third race of the day.
With three days remaining at the Extreme Sailing Series in Almeria and more breeze forecast, there is plenty of action to come.
Extreme Sailing Series Almeria results after nine races
Position / Team / Points
1st Oman Air (OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 72 points
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Ray Davies / Jeremy Lomas / Derek Seward 69 points
3rd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 64 points
4th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 60 points
5th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemrskerk / Andrew Walsh / Brad Webb 55 points
6th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 54 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 52 points
8th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 48 points
9th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele De Luca / Simone de Mari 41 points
10th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Antón Paz / Tom Buggy 40 points
11th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Boet Brinkgreve / Charles Favre / Nicolas Heintz 32 points