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CoastWaterSports 2014

Alinghi raises their game and move ahead at Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Los Cabos

by Extreme Sailing Series 2 Dec 2017 06:06 GMT 30 November - 3 December 2017
Alinghi took the lead on the second day of racing in Los Cabos while SAP Extreme Sailing Team defended its spot on the podium behind Oman Air. © Lloyd Images

A near faultless performance from Alinghi saw it move top of the Extreme Sailing Series™ Los Cabos leaderboard as the double-points season finale reached the halfway mark.

Meanwhile, SAP Extreme Sailing Team upheld its spot on the podium behind Oman Air and continued to defend its overall grip on the 2017 rankings.

Five wins from six races gave Alinghi a six-point overnight lead. Only Oman Air was capable of spoiling its whitewash in the final leg of the closing race.

"We were very fast on the racecourse and we had a little bit of luck with the wind shifts. We had some clear starts and everything came together," said Arnaud Psarofaghis, co-skipper and helm of the Swiss entry.

"The team worked well on the water and we had a near-perfect day, just one second place in the last race, and it was great. We'll have one or two beers this evening after a good day's racing," he added.

Despite Alinghi and Oman Air's best efforts to stay ahead of the pack in Los Cabos, in order to topple SAP Extreme Sailing Team's overall reign of glory they require the help of a third team to knock the Danes off the Act podium. Something that is proving difficult.

"We're very happy today, things went better for us," said Adam Minoprio, helm of SAP Extreme Sailing Team. "Oman Air had a very lucky day on the first day, smashed it, and got great results and then Alinghi again today.

"Over the last two days they have both been very deep in a lot of races and managed to come back to get first or second. We feel like we started well, sailed well and got to the first mark in good positions. We just need to iron out the little problems. We'll have our day before the regatta is out and we'll get the lead," Minoprio added.

Although 14 points separate Red Bull Sailing Team from SAP Extreme Sailing Team in third, the Austrian squad managed three podium finishes and climbed from sixth to fourth. If Red Bull Sailing Team can continue this trend it could threaten the podium and the overall season result.

"Today was a bit mixed. It was better than yesterday but we're still not on the top of our game. We can do better but it's a very tricky venue. If you make one little mistake it's hard to catch up again," said skipper and double Olympic gold-medallist Roman Hagara.

Emirates Team New Zealand America's Cup champion Josh Junior was able to keep NZ Extreme Sailing Team ahead of Land Rover BAR Academy, which is helmed by his British America's Cup rival and Olympic gold-medallist Giles Scott.

"It would be very nice if we got a podium but I don't think after today we're quite there yet," said Kiwi co-skipper Junior. "We're fighting in amongst it, getting closer day by day, and maybe tomorrow we'll work our way into it.

"We're just trying to win races, we're not too worried about the overall scoreboard," he added. "This year has been a huge learning curve and I'm just enjoying it."

NZ Extreme Sailing Team and Land Rover BAR Academy occupy fifth and sixth respectively.

Local wildcard Team Extreme México managed to retain a three-point buffer over US-flagged wildcard Lupe Tortilla Demetrio to finish seventh.

The penultimate day of the Act kicks off at 14:00 UTC-7 tomorrow, Saturday 2 December. The free-to-enter public Race Village, located on Médano Beach, is open from 10:00 local time. More information about the event, and the VIP packages that are available, can be found on the official event page.

Fans can follow the racing remotely via the live stream on the official Facebook and YouTube from 14:00 – 17:00 UTC-7 on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December. The final 90 minutes of racing on Sunday will be broadcast live on TV channels across the globe, from 15:30 – 17:00 UTC-7.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 8, Los Cabos, presented by SAP standings after Day 2, 12 races (01.12.17)

Position / Team / Points

1st Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 131pts
2nd Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 125pts
3rd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Adam Minoprio, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason 120pts
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Will Tiller 106pts
5th NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) Graeme Sutherland, Josh Junior, Harry Hull, Andy Maloney, Josh Salthouse 101pts
6th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Rob Bunce, Giles Scott, Elliot Hanson, Sam Batten, Matt Brushwood 90pts
7th Team Extreme México (MEX) Erik Brockmann, Chris Taylor, Alex Higby, Tom Buggy, Danel Belausteguigoitia Fierro, Armando Noriega Negrete 73pts
8th Lupe Tortilla Demetrio (USA) John Tomko, Jonathan Atwood, Matthew Whitehead, Tripp Burd, Trevor Burd 70pts

The Oman Air team overcame the challenges of a tricky day on the water to reach the half-way point of the Extreme Sailing Series finale in Mexico in contention for the title and ahead of arch-rivals and overall season leaders SAP Extreme Sailing Team. (from Oman Sail)

A win in the final race saw the Oman Air crew finish the day on a high note. However, Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari, Ed Smyth and James Wierzbowski can also take credit for derailing the progress of defending champions Alinghi who won all five of the other races.

After continuing their blistering performance of the first day with a second place finish in the first of day two, Oman Air had to surrender their overnight lead to the almost all-conquering Alinghi, but not without a fight.

"It was a little bit of a tough day today. We didn't get off the line in positions that gave us too many options, so we were a little bit dictated to," said New Zealand skipper and helm Robertson.

"It was nice to get in the way of Alinghi's attempt at a whitewash. They were pretty slippery around the track, they raced extremely well, and good on them."

On conditions that drew on all his skills as a World Match Racing Champion, Robertson added: "It was challenging out there with the breeze flicking both ways in the gusts, a bit patchier and more up and down in the pressure compared to the first day.

"Everyone's in a good mood with a win at the end. We'll be all set and ready for tomorrow, and it's only the half-way point so there's no stress - there are plenty of races to go and plenty of points."

Bowman Al Mashari is also looking to the task ahead, saying: "It was good to finish the day with a win after a few difficult races. Alinghi showed how good they can be, but we were able to stay ahead of SAP and they are the team we need to beat.

"We have two more days here in Los Cabos to take the double points on offer and perhaps then have a chance at the title."

Alinghi's crew showed themselves to be masters of the tricky conditions, turning up their speed to post an extraordinary succession of five consecutive race victories.

After their impressive display aboard the foiling GC32 catamaran, Alinghi top the table on 131 points, with Oman Air second on 124 and SAP behind with 120. Red Bull Sailing Team lead the chasing pack with 106 points, but are slipping out of contention for a podium place.

As predicted, the lighter breeze on the race course at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula saw the fleet moved further offshore in search of enough wind to race in. Racing continues until Sunday.