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12-10-2015, 09:41 AM
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Full-contact Extreme 40 sailing on Sydney Harbour

With everything to play for, the Extreme 40s came out all-guns-blazing on Sydney Harbour today, for the much-anticipated final Act of the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series™ championship.

On a day of costly penalties for some crews, and race-ending collisions that reduced the fleet of nine boats to just six, it was SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Oman Air that shone through finishing the day first and second respectively.

In the morning press conference Oman Air’s skipper Stevie Morrison threw down the gauntlet, saying his aim for the week was to give The Wave, Muscat a “run for their money” and, with three race wins and two second place finishes, Morrison certainly held his word.

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“We came out of the blocks and we were fast, it’s been an absolutely great day on the harbour. It’s our last event in an Extreme 40 so we are certainly going to try and give it everything we’ve got to go out with a decent result – and of course try to stop The Wave catching a few cheap points on us,” a delighted Morrison said.

But others weren’t so lucky. First to fall foul of the full-contact racing was Australian wild card 33 South Racing, who were T-boned on the startline of race three by Lino Sonego Team Italia.

Despite the gaping hole in the back of her boat, skipper Katie Spithill heroically finished the race in a respectable fifth place, before limping back to the dock for overnight repairs.

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“The Italians tried to duck us and misjudged it. We finished the race thinking we could tape up the hole but it turns out it’s a lot bigger than that,” explained Spithill. “It’s really frustrating but our results so far are promising. Today we just wanted to stay upright and not cause any issues. But what can I say – we’re competitive.”

The Italian team soon got their just deserts as GAC Pindar, in another collision, damaged their steering mechanism at the back of the boat in race seven, resulting in both teams retiring from the day.

But probably the most significant incident of a hectic day – and maybe even the year – involved Red Bull Sailing Team. A coming together with Gazprom Team Russia seemed at first to be just a scrape, but on further inspection after racing it was found that the damage covered 30% of the boat’s structure.

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A repair can be made and the team will be on the water tomorrow, but for a crew gunning for the championship title anything less then 100% could be costly.

In the overnight standings SAP Extreme Sailing Team top the leaderboard on 67 points. A confident start for the Danish crew who need the Act win to challenge for the overall Series title.

“The only thing we can do over the next couple of days is try and put as many points on the table as possible,” said co-skipper Rasmus Kostner after racing.

In second place Oman Air is on 63 points joint with Extreme 40 heavyweights The Wave, Muscat in third. Team Turx, in fourth, had an outstanding day with local hero Mitch Booth on the helm posting six podiums out of a possible eight.

Racing continues tomorrow from 14.30 (GMT+11). For fans who can’t make it down to the Race Village, they can watch live on Fox Sports Australia, and followers around the world can watch the live on the official event website from the 11-13 December, at the following times:

11 December 1600-1730 (GMT+11)

12 December 1530-1700 (GMT+11)

13 December 1530-1700 (GMT+11)

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Sydney presented by Land Rover standings after Day 1, 8 races (10.12.15)
Position / Team / Points

1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 67 points.

2nd Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 63 points.

3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 63 points.

4th Team Turx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakis, Diogo Cayolla, Pedro Andrade 59 points.

5th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Lionel Vaucher, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 53 points.

6th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Pavel Kalinichev, Pavel Karachi, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 36 points.

7th 33 South Racing (AUS) Katie Spithill, Matthew Chew, Stacey Jackson, Henry Kernot, Luke Payne 32 points.

8th Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Enrico Zennaro, Pierre Pennec, Nevio Sabadin, Stefano Rizzi,Tom Buggy 32 points.

9th GAC Pindar (GBR) Adam Minoprio, Seve Jarvin, Jeremy Lomas, James Wierzbowski, Tyson Lamond 23 points.

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12-11-2015, 08:26 AM
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With an ominous wind forecast at the morning race briefing, day two of the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Sydney presented by Land Rover didn’t disappoint.

Battling punishing gusts of 30-knots that belted through the skyscrapers lining Farm Cove, Lino Sonego Team Italia were caught off-guard by a big gust of wind coming off the Sydney Opera House, resulting in a dramatic capsize in front of the crowds for the Italian team.

“As we tacked on the first beat I saw Red Bull Sailing Team out of the corner of my eye, we tried to avoid them but had no space and by then we were already at 90 degrees,” explained bowman Tom Buggy. “That’s when we went in, Enrico (Zennaro) flew past my head as he fell from the tramp, but I was lucky enough to cling on to the boat.”

With no injuries to the crew, the safety team were immediately on site to provide assistance for the team that includes Italians Enrico Zennaro, Nevio Sabadin and Stefano Rizzi as well as French helm and Olympic sailor Pierre Pennec and British sailor Tom Buggy.

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Remarkably 30 minutes later the Italian team were upright and incredibly shook off the nerves to make it back onto the racecourse for the next race.

Not one to shy away from the thrilling conditions, Race Director Phil Lawrence was racing the fleet six boats at a time to allow more space on the compact race track as a safety precaution. Four short sharp races were completed before racing was abandoned for the day.

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“We continued to race as long as possible but the forecast was for the wind to go further to the south, which meant it would have come straight through the city resulting in vertical gusts which the sailors wouldn’t be able to see. We decided to suspend racing at that point and have a good forecast for tomorrow and even better for Sunday’s final,” reflected Lawrence.

Today’s unpredictable conditions have seen a lead change on the podium, with The Wave, Muscat leapfrogging from third to first, tied on points with second placed SAP Extreme Sailing Team. Oman Air are just three points adrift in third.

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“We haven’t been exceptional, but we haven’t been disastrous either,” said The Wave, Muscat’s helm Leigh McMillan. “Today’s gusts were so aggressive you couldn’t really keep in control. It was nerve racking at times and pretty full on. Hopefully conditions get a little more normal tomorrow so we can smash in some good races.”

Leading the mid-fleet charge is Red Bull Sailing Team and Team Turx in fourth and fifth respectively just one point apart. But the performance of the day went to sixth placed Gazprom Team Russia who took their first race win after changing to a full Russian crew in the last Act.

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And finally back on the water Australian wild card team 33 South Racing will be raring to go tomorrow after missing a days racing as they repaired a significant hole in the hull of the boat sustained during yesterday’s opening day.

Tune in tomorrow from 14.00 local time (GMT+11) on @exssLIVE for race updates, and from 15.30 local time (GMT+11) on the official event website to watch the living streaming of the penultimate day at the Extreme Sailing Series Sydney final.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Sydney presented by Land Rover standings after Day 2, 12 races (11.12.15)
Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 83 points.

2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 83 points.

3rd Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 80 points.

4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Lionel Vaucher, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 71 points.

5th Team Turx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakis, Diogo Cayolla, Pedro Andrade 70 points.

6th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Pavel Kalinichev, Pavel Karachi, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 57 points.

7th GAC Pindar (GBR) Adam Minoprio, Seve Jarvin, Jeremy Lomas, James Wierzbowski, Tyson Lamond 42 points.

8th 33 South Racing (AUS) Katie Spithill, Matthew Chew, Stacey Jackson, Henry Kernot, Luke Payne 41 points.

9th Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Enrico Zennaro, Pierre Pennec, Nevio Sabadin, Stefano Rizzi,Tom Buggy 39 points.