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Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Hamburg - Day 3

by Extreme Sailing Series 30 Jul 2016 22:56 BST 28-31 July 2016

Hamburg lived up to its reputation for delivering edge of the seat Stadium Racing today as it played host to some of the most exciting action of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ so far. Series stalwarts Alinghi were untouchable taking victory in six of the day's seven races and edging ever closer to the top of the Act leaderboard with one day of racing left.

Thousands of spectators were treated to front row seats on the River Elbe as the fleet blasted around the track fully airborne on their foils and reaching speeds of 25 knots. The Swiss team, who boast two Extreme Sailing Series titles from 2008 and 2014, relished the conditions and seemingly found an extra gear, but they were unable to fully shake Morgan Larson and the team on Oman Air who were never far behind.

"Today went really well for us and everything went our way, the crew are very happy," commented helm Arnaud Psarofaghis before talking about his biggest rivals. "We can't manage what Oman Air or the other teams do, so we need to sail our own race and gain as many points as we can.

"Oman Air were only just behind us in the races today, which is something we can't do much about, but we just have to push hard and see where it goes from there. It is a battle, but we try not to look at what the other teams are doing and sail our own course."

A string of second and third places for Oman Air give Larson and his men a narrow seven-point advantage – and a lot to think about for tomorrow's final showdown.

"We've got it right two out of three days", commented a revved up Larson. "Today hurt because it was windy and we pride ourselves on sailing the boat well in those conditions, but you have to tip your hat to Alinghi. They sailed perfectly and they're going to need to sail perfectly to beat us."

After a physically exhausting day for the crews, SAP Extreme Sailing Team head into the final day in third place with a four point advantage over Red Bull Sailing Team, who in turn lead CHINA One by three points.

"Today was a fantastic day for sailing here in Hamburg and the boats showed their full potential in a venue which is very tricky", commented co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen. "It's very hard for the team on board, not so much for me as the driver, but for the rest of the crew this is a real physical test.

"On a day like today where we are all racing out of our comfort zone at times, they (Oman Air and Alinghi) are probably are able to stay in that zone a little longer than the rest of us. Nobody else could match them today."

With one day of racing left, the stakes are high in Hamburg, as Oman Air try to hold Alinghi at bay to take their third Act win of the Series. Watch the racing live from 1530 GMT+2 on the homepage.

Standings after Day 3: (16 races)

1st Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 174pts
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 167pts
3rd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi De Felice, Renato Conde 148pts
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Jérémy Bachelin, Adam Piggott, Brad Farrand 144pts
5th CHINA One (CHN) Taylor Canfield, Chris Steele, Hayden Goodrick, Dan Morris, Frederik Aurell 141pts
6th Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira (POR) Diogo Cayolla, Luís Brito, João Matos Rosa, Nuno Barreto, Frederico Mello 125pts
7th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Neil Hunter, Will Alloway, Rob Bunce, Oli Greber, Elliot Hanson 109pts

Oman Air braced for final day epic with Alinghi in Extreme Sailing Series Hamburg (from Oman Sail)

The breeze filled in and the boats took off on the third day of racing in the Extreme Sailing Series Hamburg but Oman Air stayed doggedly at the top of the leaderboard after fending off a dynamic challenge from rivals Alinghi in a contest that is set to go down to the wire.

The Swiss team had an outstanding day posting six outright wins in seven races but Morgan Larson and his Oman Air crew were never far behind, finishing every single race on the podium with five second places and two thirds.

Larson, who was a member of the Alinghi team last year before joining Oman Air, came off the water with a thumbs up for their day and a tip for tomorrow where the last double points race could decide the outcome for the entire Hamburg Act.

"You have to be happy if you come away with podium finishes on a day like today," he said. "It was very physical and challenging and you have to tip your hat to Alinghi – they sailed a flawless day.

"Tomorrow we will not be looking back and feeling the heat of the guy behind us which could lead to us making mistakes. We have to look forward and imagine ourselves further ahead." Oman Air saw the gap between them and Alinghi narrow to seven points which mainsail trimmer Pete Greenhalgh quickly identified as one of the positives to come out of a day where they struggled to 'snap it together' for a win.

"There were so many things that came out of today that we can do better and if we only lost a few points to Alinghi having sailed like we sailed, we are in good shape. Tomorrow we just need to tick a few more boxes and address the things we missed out on today and we should have a nice day."

Oman Air go into the final day at the top of the leaderboard with 174 points to Alinghi's 167 which sets up an exciting finish and according to Nasser Al Mashari, who with Ed Smyth and James Wierzbowski make up the rest of the Oman Air crew, there will be a decent breeze to help them on their way.

"The race track is very small here in Hamburg which is one of the busiest ports in the world. There are big ships everywhere and harbour walls all round which makes racing here very difficult especially when you get 20 knot gusts as we did today but I think we did a pretty good job," he said.

"We have one more day so hopefully we can score some firsts tomorrow. We are hoping for a better breeze and some better results. We would love to come away with a win since it would be our third of the series after winning in Oman and Cardiff."

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