News

Vital victory for Alinghi in thriller in Nice

6 October, 2014

It came down, as it so often has this season, to the final race. Tense, exciting and, above all, important, this was perhaps the most satisfying of wins for Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi. Conditions on the Med had varied over the course of the four days of racing, with light winds at the start proving testing for all of the teams. However, from a relatively slow start, Alinghi rallied in incredible fashion, stringing together performance after performance to put themselves in contention as the competition neared to a close. Heading into the final race – a double-pointer, of course – it was the team’s fellow countrymen, Realteam, who led the Act. To snatch victory, Alinghi had to finish a clear two places above their rivals. This they did, taking the spoils in front of the thousands of spectators. Given that this is the penultimate Act of the 2014 season, it was a vital win. With it, Alinghi have now extended their lead at the top of the Series leaderboard to eight points over The Wave, Muscat. However, with 20 points up for the taking in the final Act in Sydney, it is certainly not all over. Indeed, their are five teams capable of a podium position. A jubilant Morgan Larson, Alinghi’s helmsman, summed it up after the prize giving: “We were confident at the start of the year that we had a little bit of an edge, but now the rest of the field are showing some real force. I think now you are seeing the future. More than half the fleet have the ability to win an event, and that’s exactly what we’re going to see going into Sydney. That event is going to be worth double points, and if we go out with a bad performance and The Wave, Muscat or Emirates Team New Zealand come in with a strong one – we’re going to lose. So we’ve got to go out and try and get back on the podium.” The very fact that competition is fierce and that it is getting harder and harder to win races is certainly cause for caution when it comes to Sydney. But it also means that this performance in France is all the more important. And all the more impressive… Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 7 Nice standings after Day 4, 29 races (5.10.14): Position / Team / Points Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 183 points Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wasem 171 points J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 161 points Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Thomas Cjakgak, Stewart Dodson 160 points Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Peter Burling, Glenn Ashby, Blair Tuke, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 156 points GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Seve Jarvin, Hugh Styles, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski 146 points SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 145 points 8th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 143 points 9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Tanguy Cariou, Valentin Bellet, Arnaud Jarlegan, Devan Le Bihan 143 points Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 138 points Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 133 points Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings: Position / Team / Points Alinghi (SUI) 65 points The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 57 points Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 49 points Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 45 points J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 37 points Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 30 points SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 28 points Oman Air (OMA) 24 points Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 24 points Groupama sailing team (FRA) 22 points GAC Pindar (AUS) 11 points

ALINGHI 3rd in Istanbul: Report and Highlights

15 September, 2014

Act VI of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series delivered everything – frenetic racing in some of the best conditions that the fleet have seen this year, incident and, at the end, a display of tactics and strategy of the sort that makes this competition so enthralling. It was – as the cliché goes – an Act of two halves for Alinghi. Having had a challenging start, things got even more problematic for the team on day one when, having being pushing hard, they lost their mast in the seventh and final race of the day (see Mark Lloyd’s spectacular pictures, below). As helmsman Morgan Larson explained: “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.” That meant repairs by night, with the technical team performing miracles. João Cabeçadas, an integral part of Alinghi’s shore team, said: “We’re a team so we were all hands on deck last night. First we looked at what we could recover from the broken mast, and then how we could adapt the new mast that we were provided. We didn’t get to bed until around 3am – David and I stayed for longer, and when we didn’t need as many hands helping with the heavier parts, we sent the sailing crew home. They were all keen to stay and help but we forced them to go and take some rest because they will be busy today. We have some races to win, and we don’t need to win all races to win the event”. Their efforts were not in vain. The boat was back on the water and the team were reaping the benefits of the night’s hard work, putting together a string of performances that shot them right back into contention. So much so that, when it came to the final race, Alinghi had a chance to take the Act. However, there is a bigger prize and Morgan Larson’s eyes were on it. With Emirates Team New Zealand needing to put a gap of two boats between them and The Wave, Muscat – Alinghi’s rival for the overall title – the Swiss went into full-on tactical mode, with the aim of keeping the Omani team from securing top spot and, thus, closing the gap in the championship. This they did, working hard to force their rivals ‘into the pack’, meaning that ETNZ did indeed take the Act, with The Wave taking second spot and Alinghi third. ESS have put together a fantastic highlights package, which tells all of the story!     As Morgan Larson explained afterwards: “We had an outside chance to win that last race and we did one lap of the race still trying to win, not knowing what could still happen. Then we got to the final lap and it was clear that if we continued to win the race with Emirates Team New Zealand second, then The Wave, Muscat may have won this Act. So we were thinking of the overall Series, we just had to let the Kiwis go, and then go back and hold The Wave, Muscat back a little bit because they were coming out strong. They’re such a good team, picking off boats one by one and so we just had to try and block them back and make it so we got second.” Riveting viewing and it has made for what promises to be an epic conclusion to the 2014 Series. And now to Nice! Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 Istanbul standings after Day 4, 31 races (14.09.14): Position / Team / Points Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 210 points The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 204 points Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 188 points Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 169 points SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 154 points Groupama sailing team (FRA) Tanguy Cariou, François Morvan, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 148 points J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 143 points Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Nick Blackman, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 142 points Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Cédric Schmidt, Thierry Wassem 135 points GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Jack Macartney, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, Tyson Lamond 130 points Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 126 points TeamTurx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Can Bayülken, Selim Kakış, Deniz Çinar, Anıl Berk Baki 85 points Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings: Position / Team / Points Alinghi (SUI) 55 points The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 54 points Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 43 points Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 36 points J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 29 points SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 24 points Oman Air (OMA) 23 points Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 23 points Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 23 points Groupama sailing team (FRA) 20 points GAC Pindar (AUS) 6 points All photos by Mark Lloyd and copyright Lloyd Images 2014

Grand Prix Grange & Cie – Day 2 and Victory VULCAIN TROPHY 2014

7 September, 2014

For the second year running, Alinghi’s victory in the Grand Prix Grange & Cie also secured the Vulcain Trophy for Ernesto Bertarelli’s team. And what a victory it was, the crew dominating proceedings with a near-flawless display of racing in challenging conditions. Having won Saturday’s two races, the team lined up for Race 3 on Sunday full of confidence. Light win conditions had meant that the start had been postponed, but when the fleet did get underway Alinghi quickly established a lead. The wind – already light at 7 knots – then proceeded to drop to 3, making for difficult sailing. Nonetheless, Alinghi worked together to extend their lead on each run, taking the race from Racing Django and Team Tilt. In Race 4, Alinghi got the best start of the five teams who had lined up to port. They led at the first top rounding, getting up to speed for the run and extending the gap between their rivals at the lee gate. Having gone right for the second beat, the team began to feel some pressure from Velitgroup, but, having just rolled them at the top rounding, saw boat speed on the last run do the rest. Victory – again! This win meant that Alinghi had the Grand Prix wrapped-up and so the team took on the role of spectators for the day’s final race – the results of which confirmed that Alinghi had successfully defended its Vulcain Trophy title. Well done team! Speaking after the podium presentations, Ernesto Bertarelli said: “We’re really very happy, both with this win and to have defended the Championship. To win all of our four races…I can’t remember it happening before. We sailed together and that is the secret to our win. This team has been together a long time and we understand one another and the boat. We’re delighted with the way the weekend has gone.”

Alinghi 2nd in Cardiff

26 August, 2014

Over the course of a bank holiday weekend in Cardiff, the weather ranged from blue skies to tempestuous clouds. These changing conditions, combined with a tight and challenging stadium racecourse, created some of the most exciting racing of the 2014 season so far.  And the final race had it all… Having raced consistently well throughout the course of the weekend, Alinghi had it all to play for as the fleet lined up for the finale, with the team vying with old rivals The Wave, Muscat and J.P. Morgan BAR for top spot. With all three crews able to secure top spot the racing was tense, competitive and, above all, dramatic. With the teams fighting each other all the way as they tried to gain the upper hand, racing took place at even closer quarters than normal, resulting in a three-way collision as all three teams leaned hard on each other in the tussle for the top. It was The Wave who took advantage of the mayhem to secure Act 5, leaving Alinghi to do battle with Sir Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan BAR for second place. Happily, the team were able to see off their opponents, claiming the runner’s up position that their performance over the weekend more than merited. Commenting after the final race, Alinghi’s tactician Anna Tunnicliffe said: “We were waiting for Leigh to tack and he drove us right into the boats rounding the mark and boats started coming at us head first. We ended up above the mark so we couldn’t bear away and at the same time, Ben (Ainslie) was coming round into the side of us and it all turned into a mess. All three boats were tangled on each other. It’s very frustrating, but hopefully we can learn from our mistakes, we’re still on top which is good – the damage could have been worse. We need to move on to Istanbul and refocus for that event.” With Alinghi still leading the Series leaderboard – albeit by a slightly reduced margin – Act 6 (11-14 September) promises to be one not to miss… Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5 Cardiff, presented by Land Rover standings after Day 4, 33 races: 1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 210 points. 2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 205 points. 3rd J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 203 points. 4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 186 points. 5th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem 182 points. 6th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 175 points. 7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Jonas Hviid-Nielsen, Brad Farrand, Nicolai Sehested 174 points. 8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 154 points. 9th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Romain Motteau, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 154 points. 10th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Hugh Styles, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, James Wierzbowski 153 points. 11th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Ray Davies, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 151 points. Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings: 1st Alinghi (SUI) 47 points. 2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 45 points. 3rd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 34 points. 4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 33 points. 5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 25 points. 6th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 22 points. 7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 20 points. 8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 18 points. 9th Oman Air (OMA) 16 points. 10th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 15 points. 11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 5 points.