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J/70 RACING – For the final day of the 2014 J/70 World Championship presented by Helly Hansen, the New York Yacht Club Race Committee brought the fleet back out to Rhode Island Sound where three races were run in 8-14 knots of breeze.
Winning the first race of the day was Joel Ronning of Minneapolis on Catapult. Ronning had led the standings for the first two days of the championship but came into the final day 14 points out of first place behind Jamestown’s Tim Healy and his crew on Helly Hansen. With Healy crossing the line in fourth, Ronning was able to chip away at the deficit and, in race two, the margin was further cut to seven points when Ronning finished fourth and Healy finished eighth. However, in the final race, won by Brian Keane of Weston, Mass., on Savasana, Healy crossed the line in second with Ronning back in sixth, earning Healy and the Helly Hansen team the championship title on 28 points to Ronning’s 39. Keane retained third overall with 61 points, while Florida’s Martin Kullman, on New Wave, and Boston’s Heather Gregg-Earl, on MUSE, were tied, respectively for fourth and fifth, on 83 points. Gregg-Earl and the crew on MUSE were also the Corinthian (non-professional) division winners.
When Healy’s Helly Hansen team (crew Gordon Borges, Geoffrey Becker and Paul Abdullah) crossed the finish line in the last race, there was little outward excitement onboard. “Our caveat is we’re still waiting for protest time to elapse,” explained Healy. “There’s potential that someone could file a protest and we just want to make sure that’s totally wrapped up. It was close enough that we wanted to wait until we could check and then we could celebrate once everything is 100%.”
Except for one day, the conditions over the five days of racing had been strenuous and exhausting. “It was a fun week,” said Healy. “The nice part is there was wind the whole time; we enjoyed that, but because there’s wind you have to work hard and at this point everybody is tired but also excited at the same time.” This is Healy’s third world championship title as he adds the J/70 title to two he has won in the J/24 class (2013, 2010).
“The key to doing well is time spent in the boat. From day one when Jeff Johnstone called and said ‘we have the first two boats ready to go, are you interested in doing some sea trials?’ I jumped on it. As soon as I sailed the boats I knew the class was going to be huge. I think it’s the simplicity of it. Anybody who grew up sailing dinghies or got into small keelboat sailing can go down and look at a J/70 and say ‘I get it.’ They can look at the rig and see that it’s simple, and how the spinnaker works and how the main works, the deck layout is totally simple and clean and it’s easy to handle. The boat performs really well upwind; downwind it’s exciting and it’s planing. It’s got just about everything for the typical sailor looking for a fast one-design boat that’s easy to sail. And it performs well. The younger sailors can handle it and sail it, same for older sailors and it’s a good fit for women’s teams also.”
The youngest competitor on the race course was 13-year old Julian Sudofsky of Marion, Mass., who missed a week of eighth grade at Old Rochester Regional to race with his father Mike Sudofsky on Carlos. The young sailor was not simply enjoying a week off from school; as a veteran in the J/70 class he has twice raced in Key West Race Week, along with events in Annapolis and Cedar Point. “Even though we didn’t do too well, we had so much fun because everyone was top competitors,” said Sudofsky who handles the bow on Carlos. “I just got to see Tim Healy, and Brian Keane is also my neighbor,” he added.
From their patriotic hats to their colorful spinnaker, one team garnering lots of attention on the course was Team RAFBF Spitfire from Great Britain, helmed by Simon Ling of Burford.
“Team Spitfire was formed about six years ago,” explained Ling. “We’re made up of serving, ex-serving members of the Royal Air Force and a couple of civilians as well. We basically look to sail as competitively as possible but also to promote the RAF charity: the RAF Benevolent Fund. The name Spitfire comes from the iconic airplane that was built in the south where we sail in The Solent, and it seemed the perfect name for an RAF team.”
Having done the UK national circuit, this was the first time Team RAFBF had been overseas with the boat. “It was absolutely fabulous. What can you not enjoy about Newport?,” said Ling. “It’s my first time here, we’ve all fallen in love with the place; the race organization has been second to none, the racing has been fabulous and we’re really pleased with our result (12th overall and second Corinthian team).”
Ling as owner/helm switched to the J/70 last year after three years in the J/80. “It’s been a fabulous boat; we love it,” said Ling ticking off the attributes of the J/70: “The class has taken off, it’s new, there are 90 boats here at the first worlds, its great fun to sail, they’re demanding to sail, and they put a smile on your face. What’s not to like about that?”
Seeing 86 teams, representing 14 nations, on the starting line for any sailing event is significant. For those 86 teams to be contesting the first-ever world championship of the J/70 class is a testament to the popularity of this boat which was introduced just over two years ago, and even more notable was the mix of sailing royalty that was peppered throughout the fleet including: 2008 Finn Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey of Clearwater, Fla., 2004 Tornado Olympic Silver Medalist John Lovell of New Orleans, California’s 1996 Soling Olympic Bronze Medalist Jeff Madrigali, 2013 America’s Cup winning strategist and 2012 Laser Olympic Gold Medalist Tom Slingsby of Australia, 2011 Lightning Pan Am Games Silver Medalists Jody Lutz of Brick, N.J., and brother Jay Lutz of Houston, who is also a four-time world champion in the J/80 and Lightning classes, 1984 Windsurfing Olympic Silver Medalist Scott Steele of Annapolis, Olympian and two-time Star World Champion Phil Trinter of Richmond, Va., 2013 Star World Champion John MacCausland of Cherry Hill, N.J., 2001 Sonar World Champion Mark Ploch of The Bronx, N.Y., and 2007 Snipe World Champion Tomas Hornos of Boston.
Kalle Coster and Annemieke Bes, both of whom represented The Netherlands three times at the Olympic Games were in the fleet, as was Vermont’s 2012 Olympian Trevor Moore, along with New York’s Cory Sertl and Jody Starck, both of whom have won the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award multiple times. Top-ranked match racers Taylor Canfield and Stephanie Roble, 2005 J/24 World Champion Anthony Kotoun and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Eric Doyle were all onboard as was 2006 Audi Etchells World Champion Jud Smith of Marblehead, 2013 J/22 World Champion Allan Terhune of Arnold, Md., and 2014 J/24 US National Champion Will Welles of Portsmouth, R.I.
In the Corinthian’s Championship (non-professional sailors), Heather Gregg-Earl’s MUSE team of Joe Bardenheier, Stu Johnstone and Stu Saffer comfortably won the division with 83 total points. Taking second was Peter McChesny’s Annapolis, MD team on TROUBLE, completing the series with 151 pts. Third was Simon Ling’s crew on Team RAFBF SPITFIRE from Great Britain sitting on 167 pts, fourth was Martin Johnsson’s AQUAHOLIKS with 173 pts and fifth was Jim Cunningham’s LIFTED crew with 190 pts. Also of note, Heather was named the “Top Women’s Skipper” award, the first recipient of the Helen C Johnstone Memorial Award for the J/70 World Championship.
The Silver Fleet was won by Mark Ploch on Sugar Daddy after finishes of 3-1-3 allowed him to edge out Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor, on Cachondo, with 113 points versus 121. Taking third overall was Geoff Pierini on Surge.
GC32 FOILERS – If you missed the ‘live’ broadcast below here are today’s GC32 Highlights!
EXTREME SAILING – Taking on the Bosphorus Strait: Traffic shut down on one of the world’s busiest shipping channels for an incredible Extreme 40 showdown, as Realteam take line honours.
The French make their march. Groupama sailing team clock up more points than any other to lead the mid-leaderbord battle.
J.P. Morgan BAR and Groupama sailing team fastest average boats on the water, with two race wins a-piece. Read the full SAP sailing analytics report here.
Replay today’s full on, adrenaline-fuelled Stadium Racing, with Hannah White and David Carr, here.
The tankers and cargo ships on one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, the Bosphorus Strait, were replaced this morning with the magnificent sight of a fleet of Extreme 40s, as traffic was shut down for a spectacular passage race right through the heart of Istanbul. If navigating the channel and racing past some of Istanbul’s most spectacular Ottoman architecture wasn’t remarkable enough to open the penultimate day’s racing at Act 6 of the Extreme Sailing Series™, eight full on, adrenaline-fuelled races were sailed and as always, it is tight at the top between the leading pack heading into tomorrow’s final showdown.
Race Director Phil Lawrence summed up an extraordinary day’s racing: “The Bosphorus is one of my favourite races. You’re sailing around this fantastic waterway and it’s very rare that they’ll stop all the ships and the scenery is just absolutely fantastic.” Going on to talk about this afternoons racing, “Full-on would sum it up. It was pretty breezy, we had full mainsails – we didn’t go to a reef, so it was right on the limit for that. The sailors did a great job.”
The defending champions of the Series, The Wave, Muscat have held onto the advantage they had coming into the day, despite picking up no points in race six for not completing a starting penalty for which they team are hoping for a redress. Breathing down their necks after two races wins is Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand, but Barker hinted they would like to go one better: “It was a great experience to do the Bosphorus race this morning and to take a look around there, then we moved into the stadium. We had a good day, and if we’d have said at the beginning of the week that we would be two-points behind the leaders going into the last day, we would have taken that. So we’re happy with the way it’s going, but you’ll always love to do better.”
Oman Air are continuing to ride on their season high, holding onto third place, but giving them a run for their money is a revitalised Alinghi, who had fire in their bellies and mistakes to be remedied today. The team, helmed by Morgan Larson, made every point count, as tactician Stuart Pollard explained: “Yesterday it wasn’t so good for us in the starts, but today we sorted that out. We sailed consistently around the race track and ended up getting us some points on the board which is good because we needed it after yesterday. Tomorrow we will need more of today, sailing consistently, sailing clean and sailing fast.”
The fleet couldn’t have asked for better conditions for this afternoon’s racing, with 20 knots on the course that saw the crews muscle their overpowered Extreme 40s around the track – at times on the edge of control. Keeping it clean, staying out of the scraps at the marks and timing the starts perfectly was key, and a team who had that sussed today was Groupama sailing team. The French started the day in twelfth place, but two race wins and being the fastest average boat on the water – matched only by J.P. Morgan BAR to 13.77 knots according to the SAP analytics – saw the French begin to make their march, to put themselves in a solid fifth place at close of play. The team are now tied on points with Red Bull Sailing Team, leading the mid leaderboard battle, and after racing skipper Tanguy Cariou commented: “We really had a great day. François Morvan (helm in Istanbul) has done a wonderful job on the starts, he has really analysed the different race configurations and his understanding of the specificities of the Stadium Racing is improving day by day. Today’s results are really rewarding both for François and the entire team and it is really gratifying to know that we are back on track.”
J.P. Morgan BAR also had a better day today, relishing the bigger breeze and the chance to really stretch their legs. The team, who between them has five Olympic gold medals, took maximum points in two races, to finish the day in seventh place and on 110 points. The Brits most experienced Extreme 40 sailor is former Series winner Nick Hutton, who commented: “We are really enjoying the racing here in Istanbul. Everyday we have had good conditions with a nice breeze. It is a bit gusty at times, but we are starting to read it now, paired with the flat water and open racetrack it makes for some of the best sailing we have had. We are pleased with our boat handling and form today and it’s all to play for tomorrow.”
After yesterday’s impressive showing, the young Australian team on GAC Pindar struggled to get out of the scrum and into the top half of the pack under the intensity of the day’s racing. Their day went from bad too worse, when their final race was cut short following a collision with Gazprom Team Russia, which knocked the Aussies out of racing, leaving them with a night of repairs. Skipper Nathan Wilmot talked through what happened: “We were coming down to the bottom mark and Team Russia were behind with no over-lap. We went to go around the mark, they got a gust and hit us. They went through our port bow, and we’re not quite sure how bad it all is yet so we will wait and see, but it has been draining water out for the last 15 minutes. We were our own worst enemy out there today, and we were a little out of sync. We just missed a few things, battled hard and it didn’t go our way. Unfortunately it was probably our best race when the crash happened, so it was just one of those days.”
The battles at the top and mid leaderboard are raging, with three hours of racing left in Istanbul, and a final double points shoot out still to come, there will be no quarter given. Tune into the final day’s racing from 1530 local time (GMT+3) to watch the final races, and the winners be crowned.
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 Istanbul standings after Day 3, 24 races (13.09.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 149 points.
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 147 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 133 points.
4th Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 130 points.
5th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Tanguy Cariou, François Morvan, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 112 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Nick Blackman, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 112 points.
7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 110 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 105 points.
9th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Jack Macartney, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, Tyson Lamond 101 points.
10th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Cédric Schmidt, Thierry Wasem 100 points.
11th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 89 points.
12th TeamTurx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakış, Ateş Çinar, Anıl Berk Baki 72 points.
GC32 FOILERS – Racing for the GC32 one design foiling catamarans of The Great Cup continues in the south of France. Four GC32s are competing in their own class at Marseille One Design, a brand new event backed by the Ville de Marseille in the build-up to it being European Capital of Sport for 2017. In this, the GC32s will race alongside the new Diam 24 one design trimarans, plus the J/80, SB20 and Longtze monohulls. Check out the LIVE action above! Destopnews narrater, Sébastien Destremau, reports in BOTH French and English.
FARR 40 RACING – The Farr 40s are here preparing for their World Championship and using the Big Boat Series as a wrap-up race. The competition couldn’t be more fierce and the conditions more perfect.
BIG BOAT SERIES – St. Francis Yacht Club: It was a classic San Francisco Bay day yesterday for racing where action in the one design classes was all on and boat handling was a premium. Check out the action above!
GC32 FOILERS – During a perfect second day of sailing on the Roucas Blanc, with the wind ranging between 10 knots and the high teens, the GC32 foiling catamarans competing at the inaugural Marseille One Design had a long day, completing seven races. Check out the highlights of Day 2 above!
Tomorrow there is set to see a change of complexion for the GC32s competing at Marseille One Design with sub-10 knot winds forecast. Once again racing will get underway at 11:00 local time. XS sailing will bring it to you!
EXTREME SAILING – Oman Air clock up more points then any other team, GAC Pindar fastest off the startline and the home boat TeamTurx take their first race win in a day where the underdogs shone.
Fleet prepares to tackle the Bosphorus Strait – shutting down traffic on the busy shipping channel for a unique passage race tomorrow morning.
An insight into the racing from the SAP Sailing Analytics – read more here.
Replay today’s Stadium Racing, with Land Rover ambassador Hannah White and David Carr, here.
Day two at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 in Istanbul without doubt went to the two Oman Sail teams, with Oman Air clocking up more points then any other boat on the water to climb a massive four places on the leaderboard, and finish the day in third. Oman Air’s best day of the season couldn’t even be matched by their stablemate and defending champions The Wave, Muscat despite a brilliant showing by Leigh McMillan and the team, which has put a little light between them and Emirates Team New Zealand at the top of the leaderboard. In a day that could be described as the ‘day of the underdogs,’ GAC Pindar were also hugely impressive, earning the accolade as the quickest boat off the start line according to the SAP sailing analytics, which has shown the Aussie team as a real contender heading into tomorrow’s penultimate day in fourth place.
Oman Air’s skipper Rob Greenhalgh, who won the first ever Extreme Sailing Series back in 2007, was thrilled with his teams’ performance. “We had a really good day today. We made some good improvements on boat speed, we made just a few little changes to the boat set-up, which made a big difference, we started well and got some good results out of it. We’re really happy with today, but there’s still two days left of the regatta, plenty to work on still and plenty more improvements to be made.”
Their fellow Omani compatriots on The Wave, Muscat have been criticised this year for being slow starters, but in Istanbul they’ve found another gear, hitting the ground running and quashing that reputation. Their tactician and double Olympic champion Sarah Ayton spoke about the team’s focus onboard: “The first thing is, it’s really close and lots of teams have upped their game so it really isn’t going to be over until that final race on Sunday. But today we had a good day. We approached it with high-energy, and it was a case of doing the basics well. I think overall that’s what we did and it put us in good shape. We’re really focusing on the tempo on the boat, getting good starts and all of those things we’ve been working on throughout the year are all kind of gelling together.”
It was a physically demanding day for the fleet with eight fast-paced races, in breeze that steadily built throughout the afternoon to 18 knots, making every manoeuvre and decision during the reaching starts and short windward-leeward legs critical. For the second day in a row, the SAP sailing analytics show Emirates Team New Zealand as the fastest average team on the water, and if it hadn’t been for a starting penalty during the eighth and final race of the day, the Kiwi’s may well be in pole position. Instead, the team finish the day in second place, three points behind The Wave, Muscat – but with a whole lot of races and points still up for the taking over the next two days.
For Olympic champion Nathan Wilmot and the team on GAC Pindar, Istanbul has so far been a real turning point for them, drawing a line in the sand after a conservative start to the year, to really give the more experienced teams a run for their money. After racing Wilmot was modest about his team’s performance despite being in fourth place. “We had a few bad races to start off with and we were over the line in the first two, so we tried to change things around a bit. Then after that we got the starts right, and began to race ahead of the fleet from then onwards. It was really hard out there today. There were some big holes in the breeze and generally tricky conditions all around. Some of the boats had a really good day and we just tried to stick in there and do the best we could. It was really close on the course, especially at the gate. It was good, really good close racing.”
The local invitational entry, TeamTurx, gave the home crowd something to celebrate today, with a win in race two followed up by two fourths, in a real Cinderella moment. Their skipper Edhem Diravana, who has been instrumental in the formation of the team, was ecstatic about the team’s performance – and eager for more! “It was such a fantastic feeling. We’ve been working hard for this race for such a long time and as a wildcard entry, we’re not favourites. We won a race against some of the best sailors in the world, and to come here for our first time and get a race win, we’re just over the moon. Hopefully this is just the start, and it will get our national crowds excited about this great sailing experience and then hopefully we can continue and have a team for a whole Series!”
Both Alinghi and Groupama sailing team were back in the water today with new rigs, after learning the limits the hard way and breaking their masts in isolated incidents during yesterday’s racing. Alinghi were slow out of the blocks, sailing conservatively before make a late surge to salvage some points and positions to finish the day in sixth place, while Groupama sailing team struggled to find their rhythm, bringing up the tail end of the leaderboard.
Tomorrow the day will begin with a race on the Bosphorus strait, before the fleet head back to the stadium for the penultimate days racing. Watch live from 1630 local time (GMT +3), www.extremesailingseries.com.
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 Istanbul standings after Day 2, 15 races (12.09.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 95 points.
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 92 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 87 points.
4th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Jack Macartney, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, Tyson Lamond 75 points.
5th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 74 points.
6th Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 70 points.
7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 68 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 66 points.
9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 65 points.
10th TeamTurx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakış, Ateş Çinar, Anıl Berk Baki 56 points.
11th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Cédric Schmidt, Thierry Wassem 54 points.
12th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Tanguy Cariou, François Morvan, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 48 point
BIG BOAT SERIES – St. Francis Yacht Club: The Big Boat Series is underway as over one hundred boats on three race circles sailed San Francisco Bay. Check out yesterday’s highlights above!
LONGEST SAILING VIDEO IN HISTORY – Save this video – over 7 hours of the reading of Joshua Slocum (1844-1909).
Joshua Slocum was the first man to sail around the world alone in a small boat. He personally rebuilt an 11.2 metre sloop-rigged fishing boat that he named the Spray. On April 24, 1895, he set sail from Boston, Massachusetts.
More than three years later, he returned to Newport, Rhode Island, on June 27, 1898 having circumnavigated the world, a distance of 46,000 miles (74,000 km). In 1899 he described the voyage in Sailing Alone Around the World now considered a classic of travel literature.
It is a wonderful adventure story from the Age of Sail and a book of which Arthur Ransome declared, “boys who do not like this book ought to be drowned at once.”
HAPPY HOUR FRIDAY – Time to go into the Matrix… shot that is. Red or Blue? Not for the faint of heart. Suggested AFTER the racing! Drink Responsibly and enjoy the bartenders!
ROUTE DU RHUM – Furthering his reputation as Mr. Multihull, Loick Peyron made a drastic change in plans for the 2014 Route du Rhum last week, switching gears from driving his Rhum Class ‘p’ti yellow’ 30′ Walter Green designed wood trimaran with only a sextant, to helming the massive Ultime Class ‘big blue’ 70′ Banque Populaire VII maxi-trimaran, a VPLP carbon-fiber designed monster outfitted with the latest technology.
A difficult decision for sure, but trading up from the yellow Happy project to the impressive blue BP7 is a clear choice from a competitive racer’s perspective with Loick’s pedigree. Always looking to challenge his abilities and push it to the limits, winning the Route du Rhum has been on his bucket list for many years. So here we have the lethal combination of the best boat and the best man for the job. For the 2014 edition, Banque Populaire is a force to be reckoned with.
FOR MORE COOL PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHE LAUNAY CLICK HERE!
EXTREME SAILING TEAM NZ – The first day of racing in Istanbul was a solid one for Emirates Team New Zealand, finishing on top of the leaderboard after seven races. There was no secret to the success today, just consistency… and keeping the rig upright, which dramatically two boats, Alinghi & Groupama did not manage to do. Racing resumes today. Stay tuned for updates!
EXTREME SAILING – Groupama sailing team and Alinghi with a night in the pitlane after both teams lose their rigs in separate incidents “We pushed a little too hard” explained Alinghi’s Larson.
Fleet reach the highest average speed over ground since 2013, in near perfect conditions, and Emirates Team New Zealand fastest boat on the water to finish the day at the top, tied with The Wave, Muscat. Read more in the full SAP Sailing Analytics reports, here.
In an unprecedented opening day at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 in Istanbul, the public and national media witnessed some extraordinary adrenaline fueled racing, with every team pushing hard – and at times too hard, with two boats dismasting; first Groupama sailing team and then Alinghi. In near perfect sailing conditions that topped out at 20 knots, the French, with too much load on their rig at the windward mark, were the first to lose their new mast during race four, which disappointingly for the French came after their best start to an event this year. In a completely unrelated incident in the seventh and final race of the day, Alinghi suffered the same fate, with both boats now out of the water and with a long night in the pitlane to be back on the water tomorrow.
Alinghi’s helmsman Morgan Larson explained what happened: “In that last race we were leading at the mark, we unfurled the gennaker, got the bear away and then the rig broke in two spots. We pushed a little too hard in that puff, and then it just went. It’s the first time I’ve broken the rig in these boats so it’s probably a lesson I’ve learnt there. There is a limit and we found it.” There were no guest sailors onboard when either of the incidents happened, with Race Management closely monitoring the conditions all day.
With a steady north easterly breeze of 15 knots, and gusts up to 20, the fleet relished the chance to flex their seafaring muscles and stretch their legs in the open water format on the Marmara Sea, racing at the entrance to the Bosphorus, with the iconic Blue Mosque and its landmark six minarets in the background.
Emirates Team New Zealand showed a return to form after their last place in Cardiff just two weeks ago, hitting the accelerator as both the fastest average boat downwind at 16.27 knots, and upwind at 11.80, to finish the day tied on points at the top of the leaderboard with the defending Series champions, The Wave, Muscat. The Kiwi team’s skipper Dean Barker remained cool and measured after racing. “There’s still a lot of racing to go, but we had a good solid day. It wasn’t anything flashy, there is still a lot of things we can improve on and I’m sure everyone will be feeling the same way. It’s a difficult racecourse, it’s hard to get your plan right all the time and you make some gains and some looses. I think today we managed the racecourse pretty well and took the opportunities when they were there.”
Just one point behind them is the Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team who took maximum points in two of the seven races sailed, with co-skippers Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Kostner gunning for their first podium position of 2014. With just three Acts left this year, all the teams have turned it up a notch as they look to secure their positions ahead of the penultimate event in Nice, France. Red Bull Sailing Team, with Austrian double Olympic gold medallist Roman Hagara at the helm, have been relatively slow starters this year by their own accounts, but had their best start to an event, with a string of results in the top half of the fleet, leaving them in fourth place with 40 points. “We had really tricky conditions – shifty with a few gusts which mixed up throughout the day. You had to be good at the starts but there was a lot to lose and a lot to gain. We know that we can handle this breeze and our crew work today was fantastic – the boys just did a great job. We over-took people on manoeuvres and around marks which was really good,” summarised Hagara.
Two points behind the Austrians are Gazprom Team Russia, who were the fastest off the startline according to the SAP analytics, with GAC Pindar just one point behind them. For skipper and Olympic champion Nathan Wilmot, this is only his second Act at the helm, and after a steep learning the curve, the team are on an upward trend, as Wilmot elaborated: “It was good out there – we had some good starts, some good races I think we’re just learning how to sail the boat a bit more now, we’re getting better and better each time. We’ve tried different things each day and we seem to be getting the boat reasonably fast – so it’s all about putting it in the right spot and getting the team around the course. Today it was great out there actually, it was beautiful sailing.”
The event was officially opened with the skippers press conference, attended by Turkey’s top media as well as country and city officials, and co-Host Venue Partners Yandex and Palmarina. Tomorrow the event officially opens to the public, with three days of Stadium Racing, and the live video starting from 1530 local time (GMT+3) tomorrow. If today’s racing is anything to go by, you don’t want to miss it!
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 Istanbul standings after Day 1, 7 races (11.09.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 46 points.
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 46 points.
3rd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 45 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 40 points.
5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 38 points.
6th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Jack Macartney, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, Tyson Lamond 37 points.
7th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 30 points.
8th Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 28 points.
9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 24 points.
10th TeamTurx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakış, Ateş Çinar, Anıl Berk Baki 21 points.
11th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Tanguy Cariou, François Morvan, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 20 points.
12th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Cédric Schmidt, Thierry Wassem 19 points.
COOL BOAT DESIGNS – When a company is on a winning streak they seem to nail every move. Days ago Goodall Design rejected the possibility for the Viper F16 & OD to become the new Youth ISAF multi.
Now Nacra grabs their original F16 hull, that was enlarged to become the Nacra 17 Olympic Multi, but this time they chopped off some cms instead of adding them… and voilá: Here you have the new ‘Nacra 15′.
TEAM NZ – With one day to prepare for racing TEAM NZ uses the time to practice: learn the conditions, get the boat tuned, get the crew work perfected and walk away ready to go for the start of points racing which starts to today in the Extreme Sailing Series.
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AC NEWS – No criminal charges will be filed in the crash of an America’s Cup catamaran in May 2013 that killed British Olympic star Andrew “Bart” Simpson, San Francisco police said Tuesday. FOR THE REST OF THE STORY CLICK HERE