Act 8 of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series has now come to a close in Almeria and it came down to the wire in the final double points to determine the podium places. Coming into the final race, the Swiss team onboard Alinghi were in a strong position to take the overall victory with a major faux pas being the only thing that could have stood in the way of what was rightfully theirs on the tail end of a great performance across the past five days and thirty-two races.
Luna Rossa and Red Bull Extreme Sailing racing in front of the crowds - Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 2011
In the end, Tanguy Cariou’s team on Alinghi secured victory by one of the biggest points margins of 22 points over Italy’s Luna Rossa in second place: 'We are really happy to have at least one win this year,' said Alinghi skipper, Tanguy Cariou. 'We tried to manage the risks today, we had good boat speed and good team work. It is great for us to have a win here, I am really happy for Yann and the whole crew. It is really good to show the teams that we can make it.'
However, the fight for second was by the closest of margins with Luna Rossa holding off Ben Ainslie’s Oman Air by just one point: 'For me it was my first experience of multihull racing and I have learnt a huge amount, which for me is probably more important to me personally than the end result,' said Ainslie.
Ben Ainslie racing on Oman Air before going on to take third place overall - Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 2011
'To finish on the podium for the second time in three events is a great team effort. It is a very high level of competition and when you look at the people on board the other boats, they are all extremely accomplished sailors. They are fighting for every inch and with the type of racing that we do it ends up being very tight as the races are so short, and invariably you end up with collisions and action creating some exciting racing! It’s been fantastic sailing with the team. Now it’s time for me to get focused on the Olympics.'
Almeria has for the last two years hosted the final of the Extreme Sailing Series championship. This year the Spanish round, attended by an estimated audience just shy of 70,000 spectators, has set the stage for the final in Singapore between the 7th-11th December. And it is Max Sirena’s team who now lead the overall 2011 rankings by just one point:
'We now have a month before the boats get to Singapore and to be in the lead for that month is fantastic,' said Luna Rossa helmsman, Britain’s Paul Campbell-James. 'It’s good to have the mental advantage of being in the lead going into the final Act.'
Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar scored their best ever result of 2011 with a fourth place here in Almeria, stealing it from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild on the final upwind beat in the final race. It was a tough day for the French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who had been in contention for the podium throughout the event.
Thousands of spectators fill the race village on the final day of racing in Almeria - Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 2011
But Pierre Pennec’s team is still in the game for the Extreme Sailing Series ultimate victory – on 68 points for the season with Luna Rossa on 69. Emirates Team New Zealand was given redress after yesterday’s crash and maintained sixth place ahead of double-Act winner The Wave, Muscat.
Leigh McMillan’s team were struggling to find their form in the light air Acts. Red Bull Extreme Sailing also had a tough end of regatta – Roman Hagara’s crew still had everything to play for, lying in 8th overall, going into the final race but it was not to be.
The points have never been tighter and the final positions can be harsher looking than the reality of the competition. Whilst the frontrunners held their own private battle for the podium, it allowed others to shine through here on the final day. Alex Schneiter’s debut in the Extreme 40 circuit was rewarded with two race wins today, and they ended Act 8 in a respectable ninth place, four points ahead of Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme and Alberto Barovier’s Niceforyou team on 135 points, his team enjoying a morale-boosting race win in the penultimate race.
But the applause goes to skipper Tanguy Cariou, helmsman Yann Guichard, trimmer Nils Frei and bowman Yves Detrey for Alinghi’s victory in Almeria – their first win of the season. Luna Rossa is now top the season’s leaderboard and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild will push them to the limit in Singapore. And there will be a very tight fight behind them for third place, with six teams able to fill that podium place for the 2011 season. Singapore will be a great battle!
Alinghi took first, with Luna Rossa in second and Oman Air in third - Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 2011
Alingihi skippered by Tanguy Cariou celebrate winning Act 8 - Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 2011
Extreme Sailing Series Act 8, Almeria, Andalucia (Spain) standings after 32 races (16.10.11):
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 254 points
2nd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 233 points
3rd Oman Air (OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 232 points
4th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemrskerk / Andrew Walsh / Brad Webb 218 points
5th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 216 points
6th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Ray Davies / Jeremy Lomas / Derek Seward 213.5 points
7th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 209points
8th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 202 points
9th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Boet Brinkgreve / Charles Favre / Nicolas Heintz 155 points
10th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Antón Paz / Tom Buggy 151 points
11th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele De Luca / Simone de Mari 135 points
Extreme Sailing Series 2011 Overall standings after 8 Acts:
Position / Team / Points
1st Luna Rossa 69 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 68 points
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand 60 points
4th Alinghi 59 points
5th The Wave, Muscat 57 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing 53 points
7th Artemis Racing 48 points
8th Oman Air 47 points
9th Team GAC Pindar 29 points
10th Niceforyou 18 points
11th Team Extreme 18 points
Luna Rossa and Team Extreme racing in front of the thousands of fans in the race village - Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 2011
Extreme Sailing Series website