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Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5: Hamburg - Day 3

by Extreme Sailing Series 12 Aug 2017 23:24 BST 10-13 August 2017

Oman Air maintained its lead while Red Bull Sailing Team climbed from bottom of the table to second after seven nail-biting races on the penultimate day of Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 5, Hamburg, presented by Land Rover.

Four second places and three fifths were enough to keep Oman Air ahead by a comfortable margin while the rest of the fleet took part in a game of snakes and ladders, resulting in a leaderboard reshuffle.

But with only four points separating second and sixth place and a full day of racing ahead, including the final double points race, there is everything still to play for.

"We have a nice little lead, and that's good to have going into the last day, but it's still not enough, you need so much more," said Oman Air skipper Phil Robertson.

"In this fleet it's so easy to lose that lead, eight points go in a heartbeat. We've just got to keep focussing on one race at a time and do what we do best."

Austrian-flagged Red Bull Sailing Team notched up two race wins and a second on a grey day on Hamburg's River Elbe, and finished tied on points with SAP Extreme Sailing Team.

"Today was good for us. It was really tricky but the boys did a great job, worked really hard and were fighting for every point," said skipper Roman Hagara.

"It's really tight in this fleet. We're just trying to catch up on the leaders, and then it's down to the double-points final race. If we are in reaching distance of the leading boat at that stage, then that's perfect."

Current season leader SAP Extreme Sailing Team makes up the podium. "It felt like it was really up and down for us today, it was very tough racing," said Adam Minoprio, who helmed the Danish squad to one win, and nearly bagged another until disaster struck. Thinking they had finished the race, but not realising they had one lap of the course left to sail, they watched their mammoth lead disintegrate, only managing a fourth-place finish.

"We still feel that we have good speed off the line and we're steering around the course well. We're sailing the boat with confidence. It feels as though the deck is stacked against us, but we're battling on and the guys are doing great. I feel like we're in contention," added Minoprio, who has helmed the team to two Act victories already this year.

A mixed bag for 2016 champion Alinghi, including two wins and two sixth places, sees them sit in fourth, just two points shy of Minoprio and his men.

A day of changing fortunes for NZ Extreme Sailing Team saw them drop from second after the penultimate race to finish the day in fifth. However co-skipper Chris Steele remains positive.

"The guys did a great job of battling away and getting the boat round the track. It was pretty tricky with the current, and we made a couple of mistakes at the start which made it hard, but we did bounce back with a race win and a couple of podium positions," said Steele.

"The points are incredibly tight and we're still on for tomorrow, we're still on the hunt," added Steele, whose team finished the day on equal points with Alinghi.

Despite claiming its first bullet since Act 2, Qingdao, Land Rover BAR Academy dropped from second to sixth overall, followed by wildcard entry Team Extreme, whose moment of glory came with a third-place finish in race six.

The Flying Phantoms completed four more races yesterday evening. The unstoppable Red Bull Sailing Team remain in the lead while Culture Foil climbed to second and ZEPHYR by Idreva knocked American-flagged Lupe Tortilla off the podium. Local German-flagged EVO Visian ICL, sailed by brothers Raphael and Elias Neuhann, sits in eighth overall.

Racing continues for the Flying Phantoms this evening and final results will be posted on the official website.

Extreme Sailing Series racing resumes tomorrow at 13:30 (UTC+2). Fans can watch the action from the free-entry Race Village located at the Hamburg HafenCity Cruise Centre, or watch online via the live Facebook or YouTube stream. Racing will be broadcast live on TV from 15:30 – 17:00 UTC+2. More information can be found on the official website.

Act 5 standings after 9 races:

1st Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 92 points.
2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Will Tiller 84 points.
3rd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Adam Minoprio, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason 84 points.
4th Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 82 points.
5th NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) Chris Steele, Josh Junior, Harry Hull, Shane Diviney, Josh Salthouse 82 points.
6th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Rob Bunce, Chris Taylor, Oli Greber, Sam Batten, Matt Brushwood 80 points.
7th Team Extreme (GBR) Stevie Morrison, Luís Brito, Frederico Melo, Tom Buggy, Linov Scheel 63 points.

Flying Phantom standings after 8 races:

1st Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): Olivia Mackay (NZL) / Micah Wilkinson (NZL) 153 points.
2nd Culture Foil (FRA): Eric Peron (FRA) / Théo Constance (FRA) 142 points.
3rd ZEPHYR by Idreva (FRA): Charles Hainneville (FRA) / Maxime Hainneville (FRA) 139 points.
4th Lupe Tortilla (USA): John Tomko (USA) / Jonathan Atwood (USA) 138 points.
5th Oman Sail (OMA): Thomas Normand (FRA) / Antoine Joubert (FRA) / Ahmed Al Hasani 132 points.
6th Solidaires en Peloton (FRA): Thibaut Vauchel-Camus (FRA) / Benjamin Lamotte (FRA) 124 points.
7th UON (POR): José Caldeira (POR) / Helder Basilio (POR) 104 points.
8th EVO Visian ICL (GER): Raphael Neuhann (GER) / Elias Neuhann (GER) 103 points.
9th Black Flag (FRA): Martin Bozon (FRA) / Emile Nussbaumer (FRA) 95 points.
10th Back to Basics (FRA): Bruno Marais (FRA) / Eric Le Bouedec (FRA) 94 points.
11th Masterlan (CZE): David Krizek (CZE) / Milan Harmacek (CZE) 90 points.
12th Red Bill II (FRA): Dominique Pichon (FRA) / David Mirabel (FRA) 73 points.

Update from Oman Air

"We started really well then struggled a bit at the end when the current changed," said skipper Phil Robertson. "We also showed that you don't have to win a race to win the day, or an event – consistency is everything and we managed to stay near the top for most races.

"It's nice to have a buffer now, but it is so easy to lose eight points in this fleet, in one or two races it can be all gone. But it's nice to have had two good days in a row."

Robertson's cautious optimism was mirrored by Greenhalgh, Oman Air's mainsheet trimmer and tactician: "We were really pleased to extend our lead, and happy with most of the day, sailing really well. It's good to have an advantage going into the final day but there is plenty more racing to be done. The team are on great form and we just want to get more races in and keep chipping away."

Bowman Al Mashari added: "We started well today with three second places and we were able to maintain our overall lead, so it is a good position to be in. Anything can happen on the final day but it would be great to build on our success in Barcelona and take another win here in Hamburg."

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