2011 podium still up for grabs going into final day
The ten Extreme 40 teams racing in the final showdown for the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore, completed 11 short, sharp but punishing races today as more breezy, gusty conditions upped the tempo of the racing on the penultimate day of competition.
As the wind speed went into double digits for the first time during this regattaon Marina Bay, and with the teams all pushing hard in the confines of the Extreme Stadium, the risk of very close passes increased. In the eighth race of the day, i, with right of way, slammed into the back of Team GAC Pindar while trying to avoid the collision – and with enough force to throw bowman Craig Monk into the water.
Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Sailing Team would desperately love to finish on the podium here at the final event – they were last on the podium at the first Extreme Sailing Series event 11 months ago. But first, they have to fix their Extreme 40: “The collision was a classic port-starboard and I tried to avoid Ian Williams but it was too late,” explained Hagara afterwards. “We got a gust and we hit him on the back beam so our bow is destroyed with water coming in, but we managed to fix it for the races later on and luckily when Craig went overboard he wasn’t hurt and that’s the most important thing.”
However, the Austrian team will have to work late into the night to fix their bow, then have to fend off the challenge from a clutch of teams who are only separated by a few points.
The Italian team Luna Rossa, skippered by Max Sirena, look to be on an unstoppable roll – leading their French rivals Groupe Edmond de Rothschild by 56 points, a gap almost unseen this year between these teams after a consistent performance from the Italians and a string of disappointing scores for the French.
On the final day tomorrow, two racing sessions are scheduled with the potential for 10 or more races. In other words 110 points or more are up for grabs, including the final double points race, and everyone expects the French team to close the gap on their Italian rivals. So while the odds are stacked in favour of Luna Rossa with their British helmsman Paul Campbell-James, pulling off the ultimate victory, it is far from over. A win for Luna Rossa would make Paul Campbell-James the first helmsman to win the Extreme Sailing Series twice in its five year history.
“Today was perfect,” said Campbell-James. “We nailed the starts and we kept really safe. We had a dream day today but Gitana could do the same to us tomorrow, although they would have to have a dream day and we would have to have a bad day.”
Oman Air put in a strong performance today to move into third place, while Emirates Team New Zealand is fourth, Alinghi fifth and The Wave, Muscat 6th. “It would be great to be able to finish on the podium at the final event,” said Oman Air skipper, and 2009 Extreme Sailing Series Champion, Chris Draper. “I think we can do that and we are going to trust our guts a little more as we probably have been thinking about it too hard.”
Similarly, another tense battle will come into play for the third place on the 2011 overall podium with Emirates Team New Zealand, Alinghi and The Wave, Muscat only separated by 3 points.
The only certainty tomorrow is that either Luna Rossa or Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will win the 2011 Championship – the rest will unfold on the final day of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series tomorrow.
The NeilPryde Racing Series, featuring 20 windsurfers from Asia and UK, got off to a flying start today both during the day and in the dark, the competitors using LED night Tron sails for the first time. The waters were full this afternoon, also with foiling Moths and an Optimist event that included kids from Russia, Finland and of course Singapore.
GAC Pindar Awarded Three-Year Logistics Contract
GAC Pindar has been awarded a three-year contract from Extreme Sailing Series organisers OC ThirdPole to provide a complete logistics support package to their event. As Official Logistics Supplier for the series, GAC Pindar is responsible for every aspect of logistics provision, including transportation of all of the Extreme 40 boats that participate in the global series between the multiple locations on the event calendar. GAC Pindar is also responsible for transporting the supporting infrastructure, which includes onshore facilities such as the Extreme Race Village, media centre, race support centre and VIP area.
Results after 25 races
Position / Team / Points
1st Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 186 points
2nd Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 151 points
3rd Oman Air (OMA), Chris Draper / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 149 points
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 146 points
5th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 141.5 points
6th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 140 points
7th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 128 points
8th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Bulkeley / Andrew Walsh / Matt Cornwell 119 points
9th Team Extreme – the first club™ (FRA), Sébastien Col / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Franck Citeau / Christophe André 108 points
10th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Charles Favre / Arnaud Psarofaghis / Nicolas Heintz 103 points