Double victory for Luna Rossa
Max Sirena, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson and Manuel Modena, who have raced together on the Extreme 40 all season, hardly put a foot wrong over the 35 races here in Singapore. They went into the final day with a previously unheard of 56-point lead over their arch rivals for the 2011 title, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.
There was little Pierre Pennec’s team could do as Luna Rossa put in another strong performance and after ten races today, Luna Rossa topped the leaderboard with a 45-point margin over second placed The Wave, Muscat.
“I’m really happy! Now, finally!” said Sirena. “We close the season well and it wasn’t expected because we didn’t sail well in the last event. I don’t know what happened here but we sailed pretty well and started off the line always in the right position. Tactically and from a crew point of view we were sailing always at 100 per cent which is really good and I’m really proud of the guys. It’s great for our long-term future so we’re really, really happy.”
Despite six different winners throughout this year, coming into the final event, only the French and Italian teams could win the overall title.
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild took victory at the beginning of the year in Muscat, Oman while Max Sirena’s team shone in Qingdao, China. And while Pennec’s men enjoyed a ‘home’ victory in Nice, France it was Luna Rossa which had a 1-point advantage over the French coming into the final round.
After 11 months, nine venues and in total 301 races, Luna Rossa finally got to lift the Extreme Sailing Series trophy.
“We’re ecstatic right now,” said helmsman Paul Campbell-James, the first helmsman to win the Extreme Sailing Series twice. “The goal for the week was to beat Gitana and we had a 56 point lead this morning and at lunchtime we had 59 point lead. I was doing the maths in my head and I knew that if we finished every race in the afternoon we would still beat them and we just had to stay out of trouble.”
In the end, it was the second place on the podium that turned out to be the most closely contested, coming down to the final double points race. Going into the final race Leigh McMillan and his crew on The Wave, Muscat were only 1 point ahead of Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Sailing Team – the Austrian team putting in a strong performance leading here in Singapore for the first three days.
The two teams went into match racing mode, rounding the first mark in third and fourth. Locked in their own battle they effectively raced each other down the fleet allowing the other teams to get through and finish ahead. This included Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand which finished the race in second place as McMillan and Hagara ran out of time to finish within the time limit, scoring zero points.
The Wave, Muscat and Emirates Team New Zealand were tied on equal points, the tie broken by The Wave, Muscat’s scoring more first places. “It was a pretty dramatic finish to the event for us after a couple of bad events,” said skipper Leigh McMillan. “So it’s great to be back on the podium and finish the season that way.”
But that result for Dean Barker’s crew in the final race also secured the Kiwi team third place on the overall 2011 podium ahead of The Wave, Muscat. “It’s been a very tough event with Luna Rossa showing the way on how to sail in these conditions and it’s been a very tight battle for the remaining set of podium positions,” said Barker. “We had a good start to the year, leading the circuit after four events and then we had mixed fortunes during the middle of the year. We knew coming here we could only get third which we’ve done.” Unfortunately for Roman Hagara’s team their hopes of finishing on the podium here in Singapore were over.
The fifth season of the Extreme Sailing Series comes to a close in Singapore after 301 races staged across the nine global venues spanning three continents that started in Muscat, Oman in February. This game-changing professional sailing circuit has attracted 287,000 on site spectators with its unique blend of ‘stadium’ short-course racing, including all the various disciplines and courses used already from fleet racing to match racing and straight line duels, while maintaining its high-level of competition which was borne out by producing six different winners from the nine events, all of which, bar one, were only decided in the final race on the final day.
11 top international teams competed in the circuit with many of the world’s best sailors on board, plus wildcard entries from Aberdeen Asset Management (Cowes) and Team TILT (Almeria/Singapore). 2011 saw a big step up of the public entertainment, with an extended mix of attractions on the public days that including the Olympic 49er class racing, Moth demo sailing, the NeilPryde Windsurfing Series and kids Oppie racing, all combined with on shore family-orientated entertainment from kids activities, dance and music took place within the Extreme Race Village. Alongside this event formula, stood the premium VIP facilities that is a vital part of the Extreme Sailing Series offering, that includes the unique guest sailing experience onboard the Extreme 40s. The 2011 series, despite light airs for final few Acts of the year, also goes down in history in delivering the most capsizes and crashes within a season with every Act being decided in the final moments of the final day.
The 2012 calendar of events will be announced this Tuesday, 13 December on the opening day of the World Yacht Racing Forum in Estoril.
Singapore final results after 35 races
Position / Team / Points
1st Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 260 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 215 points
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 215 points
4th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 214 points
5th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 206.5
6th Oman Air (OMA), Chris Draper / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 205 points
7th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 179 points
8th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Bulkeley / Andrew Walsh / Matt Cornwell 167 points
9th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Charles Favre / Arnaud Psarofaghis / Nicolas Heintz 156 points
10th Team Extreme – the first club™ (FRA), Sébastien Col / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Franck Citeau / Christophe André 150 points
Extreme Sailing Series 2011 overall results
Position / Team / Points
1st Luna Rossa 80 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 73 points
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand 69 points
4th The Wave, Muscat 67 points
5th Alinghi 66 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing 61 points
7th Oman Air 53 points
8th Artemis Racing 48 points
9th Team GAC Pindar 33 points
10th Team Extreme 22 points
11th Niceforyou 17 points