Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 - The descent on the leaderboard

Fleet racing on day 4 - Extreme Sailing Series Act 5, Cowes
The Extreme Sailing Series Act 5, Cowes has recovered from the drama that just yesterday cart-wheeled the Extreme 40 Aberdeen Asset Management. It has also a day that many well-known faces from the world of sailing and sport dropped by to sail on board as a fifth man guest or just enjoy the atmosphere.

Gavin Hastings, the best rugby player to come out of Scotland, and Scottish professional female golfers Carly Booth and Mhairi McKay joined 2012 Vendée Globe entrant Mike Golding; Ken Read, helmsman on two of Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes America’s Cup campaigns; Vincent Riou, winner of the 2004/05 Vendée Globe; Jean Le Cam; round the world yachtswoman Samantha Davies; Sarah Gosling, double Olympic Gold medalist; and Red Bull’s wakeboarder Quentin Delefortrie, impressed the crowds as he performed his wakeboarding skills off the back of the Red Bull Extreme Sailing Extreme 40 before racing started.

Sarah Gosling, double Olympic Gold medalist onboard Team Extreme - Extreme Sailing Series Act 5, Cowes

The British Aberdeen Asset Management team headed up by Olympic 49er sailor, John Pink, did a great job overnight to get their Extreme 40 ‘race ready’ for today, replacing the 62ft rig with a spare mast. The more benign north-westerly conditions allowed the full fleet (minus Artemis Racing who have been unable to repair their damage incurred in the collision on Sunday) to race together on the stadium course set off Egypt Point, right along the shoreline in front of the crowds.

The racing started with a round of one-on-one speed duels before the eleven teams lined up to race as one fleet for the first time since day one. It was a case of playing the shifts, finding the best patches of pressure out of the six-eight knots of breeze, and keeping out of the adverse tide on the upwind legs, tacking as close into shore as they dared. For Sidney Gavignet’s Oman Air, they dared too much and went aground in the final race right in front of the Race Village. Crew man David (Freddie) Carr leapt into the water to manhandle the Extreme 40 off the beach.

After the seven races today, including five full-fleet races, it is The Wave, Muscat skippered by Leigh McMillan who has taken over the lead at the top of the overall leaderboard from his friend and rival Paul Campbell-James at the helm of Luna Rossa:

'Today it opened up an opportunity to get some proper full fleet racing in with some light winds so we really wanted to take full advantage of that and I think we did a pretty good job… The tide was absolutely ripping and I think that caught a few people out in the beginning… It was so much more trickier conditions, more frustrating at times, but it was a good day for us.'

McMillan who was born on the Isle of Wight made the best use of his ‘home’ advantage but only has a very slim lead ahead the French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Max Sirena’s Luna Rossa in third. 'We are still very much in the game,' commented Pennec. 'We have fought hard over the last three days to add one or two points over the competition…and I think that’s going to be the case until the end.'

Vincent Riou, winner of the 2004/05 Vendée Globe, takes the 5th man spot onboard Groupe Edmond de Rothschild - Extreme Sailing Series Act 5, Cowes

The Swiss team headed up by Tanguy Cariou with two-times Series runner up Yann Guichard on the helm, had a stronger day winning the final race, elevating them to fourth overall, up two places in the standings from yesterday. Britain’s Ian Williams on Team GAC Pindar will be annoyed to have dropped a place in the standings after scoring a win in the second fleet race, the team could do no better than eighth in the remaining races.

Roman Hagara’s team on Red Bull Extreme Sailing are lying in sixth place on 86 points, only three points ahead of Oman Air who enjoyed a second race win of Act 5 in the penultimate race today. Adam Beashel’s team on Emirates Team New Zealand is not having the regatta they would have hoped for so far. Snagging the top mark in the first fleet race of the day, relegated them to the back of the fleet by the time they freed the mark, and the Kiwi’s best result of the day was a fifth place leaving them in ninth overall, eight points behind the Italian team on Niceforyou.

David 'Freddie' Carr leaps in to the water to manhandle Oman Air Extreme 40 off the beach - Extreme Sailing Series Act 5, Cowes

The two 49er teams from Malta and the UK, provided some great racing over the last three days showcasing why this Olympic class is so popular. See full story here.

Current overall standings (provisional) after 23 races, day four

Position / Team / Skipper and crew / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 118 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 114.4 points*
3rd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 114 points
4th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 99 points
5th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemskerk / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 89 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Luke Cross 86 points
7th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 83 points
8th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele de Luca / Simone de Mari 66 points
9th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Richard Meacham / Andrew McLean / Chris Ward 58 points
10th Aberdeen Asset Management (GBR), John Pink / Rick Peacock / Greg Homann / John Gimson 58 points
11th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Benedikt Wenk / Dan Morris 48 points
12th Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange / Andy Fethers / Michele Ivaldi / Phil Jameson 21 points
*Redress given.

Extreme Sailing Series website