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12-12-2014, 09:41 AM
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10 short, sharp, exhaustingly fast paced races see seven different race winners emerge as the battle for the 2014 championship title begins.
- Champagne sailing conditions deliver some of the best racing of the year so far – 18 knots with gusts up to 24 as the fleet muscle their over-powered Extreme 40s around the tight course set against the world famous backdrop of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the Botanical Gardens.
- The data behind the results: Realteam is the fastest average boat, Red Bull Sailing Team execute the fewest manoeuvres and Groupama sailing team is the fastest upwind. Find out more with the SAP sailing analytics here.
- Video: The highs and lows of the season so far from the sailors point of view. Find out more here.
- Replay today’s epic Stadium Racing here and join us tomorrow for the penultimate day of the 2014 season, live online from 1530 local time (GMT+11).

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all images © Lloyd Images

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The fleet might have lost yesterday’s racing because of 45 knot gusts on Sydney Harbour, but today the city delivered in style and the sailors patience was rewarded with some of the best racing of the season so far, at the final Act of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series™ presented by Land Rover. A physically exhausting 10 races were sailed, with all the teams pulling some big punches out of the water that resulted in seven different race winners. Oman’s The Wave, Muscat blasted round the tight course and were slick in executing their manoeuvres – despite a huge nose dive in the first race that almost saw the team lose control – and two race wins and two second places put Leigh McMillan’s team at the top of the rankings at the end of the day.

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McMillan summed up after racing: “It was a pretty feisty day to be honest – full on. There were big gusts and it was massively shifty so it was pretty hard to be consistent. We had to make quick decisions.” With only two days left this season, McMillan’s attentions quickly shifted to the bigger prize: “We know we have a lot to do and Morgan’s not far behind on the leaderboard, but he had a better day than we had hoped today to be honest. We could have done with him being further back but we’ll keep working away at it tomorrow and give ourselves the best possible position we can.”

With 18 knots of breeze and gusts up to 24 knots that blasted across the course like bullets from the surrounding city skyscrapers, the fleet had it all on to remain in control of their over-powered catamarans, against the backdrop of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the Royal Botanical Gardens. Reaching starts and incredibly tight mark roundings had the trimmers working in overdrive as they powered around the track trying to capitalise on the pressure points and avoid the lulls in the breeze. The Swiss Realteam were impressive, with two race wins helping to secure them second place, and getting their campaign for the Series podium off to a flying start – literally, as the fastest average boat on the water – while one win for Morgan Larson and Alinghi sees them in a comfortable third place at the end of play. Not giving too much away, Larson commented: “It was a good effort by the guys and they muscled the boat around. Every point counts and it’s going to come down to one or two points I know, so it’s good to know we didn’t get any last place finishes. We know what we have to do tomorrow. Now it’s time to get more aggressive and go after it, but being too aggressive on a new course, in a tight zone with winds gusting between 15 and 25 knots could really get you in trouble.”

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One duo who know their way around Sydney Harbour better than most is Roman Hagara and his right-hand man Hans Peter Steinacher of Red Bull Sailing Team, who picked up their first of two Olympic gold medals here in 2000. The team put their knowledge to great use, sailing a slick course and executing the fewest manoeuvres according to the SAP analytics, and a race win coupled with two second places leaves them tied on points with J.P. Morgan BAR in fourth. Roman commented: “We know Sydney well, and it’s great to be back and see how much interest there is in sailing here. There were lots of spectators supporting the racing today from the Botanical Gardens, which is incredible to see. The racing was good for us – we did some really nice starts and had some really nice crew work – we are pleased with the race win so we are happy with the first day.”

With the windward mark literally metres from the shore, the elite level teams could hear the crowds cheering, while the public could hear the frenetic shouts from the boats during the high speed mark roundings. One team who took it too close to the rocks was Gazprom Team Russia, and the sound of carbon crunching could be heard from the shore as the team run aground. However, two race wins for the Russian meant it was a mixed day, and skipper Phil Robertson certainly showed the team’s intentions this week, commenting: “It was really close and difficult out there. There are massive shifts and big puffs so it was pretty hard getting off the line. It’s a hard one to read but it was fantastic down by the windward mark. We were pushing it a little too close, but that’s what you do when you’re racing at this level – you’re trying for every inch. It’s an awesome spot and a great viewing point for the spectators.”

It was a tough day in the office for the two skippers from Down Under, Nathan Wilmot and Tom Slingsby, whose local knowledge was no match for the more experienced Extreme 40 fleet. It’s a big ask for any sailor to step into this fleet at this stage in the season, and even Slingsby whose enviable CV boasts five Laser World Championship titles as well as an Olympic gold, struggled with some boat handling errors as the new skipper of Oman Air. But a win in the final race of the day made it clear we will see a lot more of this team over the weekend.

Tomorrow is the penultimate day of the season, and it is all about clocking up those valuable points on the Act 8 Sydney presented by Land Rover leaderboard with every team wanting to finish on a high. Extreme Sailing Series commentator David Carr has predicted one more twist in the season this year, and with a lighter breeze and glorious sunshine on the forecast for the coming days, it’s not over until it’s over.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8 Sydney presented by Land Rover standings after Day 2, 10 races (12.12.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 75 points.
2nd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wasem 74 points.
3rd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 70 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 61 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 61 points.
6th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 49 points.
7th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Tanguy Cariou, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Hervé Cunningham 49 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 41 points.
9th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Seve Jarvin, Matt Mitchell, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski 40 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Tom Slingsby, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Joey Newton, Ali Al Balashi 30 points.

Photoboy
12-14-2014, 08:33 PM
- Alinghi snatch Act victory in Sydney and with it become 2014 Extreme Sailing Series™ Champions after 231 races this year.
- Second place for The Wave, Muscat while Realteam take third in Sydney and in the Series.
- Capsize for GAC Pindar cuts their regatta following a collision with Realteam.
- Replay today’s edge of the seat final races from Act 8 Sydney presented by Land Rover here – you don’t want to miss it!
- Just over seven weeks until the 2015 global tour kicks off in Singapore, 5th February, including a full starting grid of top international teams!


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It is mission accomplished for Ernesto Bertarelli’s Swiss team Alinghi, as Morgan Larson and the team grabbed victory with both hands at Act 8 Sydney, presented by Land Rover, and with it the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series™ title – and Larson’s words say it all: “We’ve had an amazing season with an amazing team. To win the season and the Act on the last day in the conditions we had here in Sydney, which is the best sailing venue in the world, is a special moment that’s going to take a long time to sink in. The level of confidence that we have on our boat just made me realise I can win anything with these guys. This is the best feeling I’ve had all year and probably in the whole of my sailing career, so I’m going to cherish it.”



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all images © Lloyd Images

With the breeze cranking around Sydney Harbour at 15 knots and the brilliant Aussie sun beating down, racing was as good as it gets and the thousands of spectators witnessed not only the best racing of the year, but also a capsize for their home team GAC Pindar in the sixth race of the day, when damage to their rudders following a collision caused them to lose control of their Extreme 40. Coming into the Act, Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey and Anna Tunnicliffe, were the hot favourites to win the Series – with four Act wins already under their belts and having never finished worse than third - they just had to play it safe and finish sixth or above. Comfortable going into the final double points race of the Series victory, winning the Act was the challenge, and Leigh McMillan and his team on The Wave, Muscat came into battle determined, flexing their muscles and giving it their all. Solid boat handling throughout the day meant the Act was almost theirs, denied only by the final double pointer, and the two-times Series winning skipper picking up second in Sydney, and in 2014. “It didn’t go how we wanted, but it’s been a great season and a fantastic effort by the whole team – the shore team, our coach and the crew. It hasn’t been easy, we had to dig deep on many occasion this year and Alinghi were just to good for us. They are relentless and were more consistent. Focused on this event, it’s been fantastic. It’s great to be part of it and beating a lot of the best guys in the sport. We’ll be back next year, and absolutely fighting for the win. He got the jump this year, we will try and take it back next year.”




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In their second year on the circuit, Realteam have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with, and today’s battle for third in Sydney was between them, J.P. Morgan BAR and Oman Air. Tagged the ‘light air specialists’, Jerome Clerc and his team proved they are much more than that, and four race wins in Sydney and a consistent set of results secured them not only third place Down Under – but third place in 2014. “It has been an incredible season for us. What we have achieved this year is huge. We were the rookies of the circuit and this result just shows what an amazing year we have had. It has been great to sail on this racecourse in Sydney, the conditions were perfect and this podium just makes all our hard work worth while.”

Sailing with the confidence of a man who has been racing in the circuit for years, Tom Slingsby was unstoppable today. An extraordinary performance by him and the team on Oman Air saw them clock up 70 points from a possible 90 today, and they were the fastest average team on the water according to the SAP Sailing analytics, helping them on their way to fourth place in Sydney – no doubt turning a few heads amongst the more experienced fleet as well as receiving the biggest cheers from their home crowd.



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For Slingsby’s fellow country man and Olympic champion Nathan Wilmot, their regatta was cut short following a collision with Realteam as the Aussies tried to cross in front of the Swiss, misjudged it and got their port rudder knocked off, leaving them without steering and no control of the boat, resulting in the capsize. Wilmot, who won Olympic gold in 2008 in the 470 class was disappointed to have his event cut short. “We were hit hard, with the impact just ripping off the rudder and then the capsize was imminent but everyone is fine. It's a disappointing end to the week for us but it's been incredible sailing on Sydney Harbour and we've enjoyed all the support from our home fans".
Sydney joins a list of spectacular and iconic locations as an Extreme Sailing Series Host Venue, that this year has included a whirlwind tour of the globe taking in Singapore, Muscat (Oman), Qingdao (China), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Cardiff (UK), Istanbul (Turkey) and Nice on the French Riviera. 11 top international teams have battled in one of the most hard-fought Series to date, with five of them claiming podium positions throughout the year.
The eighth season of the Extreme Sailing Series comes to a close after 231 races, with the 2015 global tour confirmed to kick start in just over seven weeks, in Singapore - the first of eight Host Venues for this pioneering Stadium Racing circuit, that gets better ever year.



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What they Said:
Tom Slingsby, Oman Air:
“We did as well as we could have done today, and the points worked out well. The atmosphere out there was great, with all the spectator boats, the people on the shore cheering as you went passed was pretty amazing. After coming last in day one to come back and win the next two days to get fourth overall is fantastic – I wish I had adapted to these boats one day earlier! It was tricky the first day, I felt I was out of my league.”
Paul Campbell-James, J.P. Morgan BAR:
“Sydney is without a doubt the best venue the Extreme Sailing Series has ever been to. You can’t beat the backdrop, you can’t beat the breeze, the locals… the whole package is perfect Extreme Sailing Series conditions.”
Phil Robertson, Gazprom Team Russia:
“The last few events have been good for us and we’ve definitely improved as a team. We keep getting stronger and stronger and we had a pretty good event here in Sydney. We had a really strong day today, so that’s a great way to end the season, and hopefully we can carry it on into next year. It was awesome conditions here, lots of wind and today was just perfect especially with that sea breeze direction, we couldn’t have asked for more.”
Roman Hagara, Red Bull Sailing Team:
“Our highlight of the year was Nice and we had a really good battle with the top guys and we were close behind J.P. Morgan BAR. The final Act in Sydney was definitely another highlight, coming back to the place where we won our Olympic gold medal. We had quite a good start to the season and then in Qingdao we had a big crash with Alinghi and we dropped from fourth place to ninth I think, and after that it didn’t work out so well for us. I think it was still in our heads and we weren’t aggressive enough. Towards the end of the season everything worked out a little bit better, but still we weren’t where we should have been.”
Jes Gram Hansen, SAP Extreme Sailing Team:
“It has been a though year for us, that’s no secret. We had some good regattas but also some though ones, that’s the way it is. We have a strong team, there are a lot of good sailors in the team and I am sure we can come back stronger, that’s definitely our goal.”
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8 Sydney presented by Land Rover standings after Day 4, 26 races (14.12.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 189 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 177 points.
3rd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wasem 168 points.
4th Oman Air (OMA) Tom Slingsby, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Joey Newton, Ali Al Balashi 157 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 156 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 151 points.
7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 145 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 143 points.
9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Tanguy Cariou, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Hervé Cunningham 124 points.
10th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Seve Jarvin, Matt Mitchell, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski 90 points.
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) 85 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 75 points.
3rd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 61 points.
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 49 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 49 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 40 points.
7th Oman Air (OMA) 38 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 36 points.
9th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 30 points.
10th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 26 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 13 points.

Tonapah Low
12-14-2014, 09:29 PM
Well done Morgan!