SAP takes a tumble
After yesterday’s full-on conditions, today fickle winds and big gusts swept across the stadium racecourse, and it was in the seventh race when the SAP Extreme Sailing Team Extreme 40 was hit by the biggest gust of the day, causing the boat to trip over its bows and capsize.
The Danish Extreme 40, helmed by Jes Gram-Hansen was coming out of a gybe when the gust hit it, resulting in the capsize. Its mainsail trimmer Pete Cumming fell the the full height of the boat, landing on the boom and suffered some bruising to his ribs, but was back ashore quickly.
Co-skipper Rasmus Kostner explained: “It was pretty full-on. There were just a couple of seconds and then we realised we were going over. Things happened very quick from there and I think everyone handled the situation very well, everybody was safe, although Pete took a hit.”
The experienced Danish match racers quickly rallied round, craning their Extreme 40 out of the water within three hours of the incident occurring.
The team have been putting in an impressive performance this week, including a race win today before the capsize, and as one of four teams in the running for the overall 2013 Series podium position. Kostner is hoping the team will be down, but not out: “We need to see what is broken to see if we can go racing tomorrow. We need to look at the scoreboard and if we have a chance, or if it make sense for us to race then we’ll try and get the boat on the racecourse – there’s nowhere else we’d rather be than there! We might have a long night ahead of us!”
The Extreme 40 fleet took to the Florianopolis Stadium for the penultimate day’s racing of 2013 with the absence of the invited home nation representative, Team Brazil Mapfre which was unable to repair damage sustained to its bowsprit and traveller during yesterday’s racing.
Alinghi hit the throttle as they came off the blocks in the first race of the day, powering off the startline and storming around the track to take a win in the first race – the first of four for the Swiss America’s Cup winners with their crew working slickly together in the testing conditions. The team’s sterling performance leaves them just three points behind The Wave, Muscat ahead of tomorrow’s final, and you can be sure the crew and their helm Morgan Larson are going to give it all they have got.
Larson commented: “We knew we were going to have to push The Wave, Muscat a little bit harder. They’re a really talented team and they’re too good to make mistakes on their own so we had to put ourselves in a position to make it harder for them, and it worked out today. No matter what the conditions are out there tomorrow, we’re going to push the boat to the limit, and ourselves, and hopefully we can overcome two obstacles. One is passing The Wave, Muscat on the overall points and the other is pushing them far enough back to get Red Bull Sailing Team between us, and that’s what it’s going to take to win the overall title.”
For Leigh McMillan and his team on The Wave, Muscat winning in Florianópolis would guarantee them the 2013 championship title, making them not only the most successful team in the history of the Series, but British McMillan the only skipper to win the Series twice. With the pressure on, the British ex-Tornado Olympian is all the more determined to outwit his Swiss rivals: “Alinghi made it pretty clear from the start that they wanted to give us a hard time today. It’s a match race between us. They’re trying to put us behind Red Bull, they’re not just trying to beat us, they’re trying to push us back a position in the fleet so it does make it more difficult.”
It will be a busy night in pitlane to get SAP Extreme Sailing Team back racing tomorrow for the final day of 2013, when up to eight races will decide the 2013 Series champion. With both the event in Florianopolis and the final race worth double points, it is going down to the wire.
Will SAP Extreme Sailing Team make it back to the racecourse? Will the Austrian double Olympic medallists on Red Bull Sailing Team finally secure an elusive first ever Series podium position in their fourth year on the circuit? Can defending champions The Wave, Muscat win the Series two years in a row, or will Morgan Larson and Alinghi ruin their plans? The final races of the Series will be live at 1730GMT.
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Musab Al Hadi, Hashim Al Rashdi 156 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 153 points.
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Simon Cooke, Kinley Fowler 146 points.
4th ChinaSpirit (CHN) Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Brad Hooker, Louis Viat, Nick Catley 130 points.
5th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Pete Cumming, Mikkel Røssberg, Nicolai Sehested 122 points.
6th Realteam (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri, Jérôme Clerc 103 points.
7th GAC Pindar (NZL) Will Tiller, Matt Steven, Stewart Dodson, Tom Bentham, Shaun Mason 102 points.
8th Team Brazil Mapfre (BRA) Clínio de Freitas, André Mirsky, Daniel Santiago, André Chang, Bruno di Bernardi 28 points.