Only one crucial, leaderboard changing double points race was sailed on the final day of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ in Hamburg that saw Morgan Larson and his team on Oman Air snatch victory from the hands of Alinghi by just one point.
On an afternoon where Mother Nature toyed with the fleet on the River Elbe, Arnaud Psarofaghis and the Swiss team of Alinghi dared to dream. They finished the race in third place and looking over their shoulders saw Larson at the back of the pack.
A nail biting match race to the finish line between Larson and Land Rover BAR Academy saw the young Brits almost outwit the experienced Stadium Racers, but Larson held his nerve to pip them to the post, and with it took spoils in Hamburg.
“It was a feeling of relief more than anything, as we had so much pressure on us during that race – not the kind of pressure you like to put on yourselves. Fortunately it worked out and we could start breathing again”, commented Larson.
“Hamburg was tricky, it tested us in many ways, but I think all of the teams will come out stronger from being here. We will have to go away, look at our notes, come back and improve.”
Psarofaghis mirrored Larson’s fighting talk: “We have four Acts to go so we’re going to have to sail better to try and gain some points on Oman Air.
“It was a bit disappointing for us but I think we did the best we could. Oman Air are a really strong team, and they came back just at the end so I think they deserved the win and well done to them.”
The battle for third was just as tense between SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Red Bull Sailing Team, the former having the points advantage at the start of the day. Second place in the race for the Austrians and fourth for the Danes leaves the teams tied on points – but it’s advantage Red Bull Sailing Team in the rankings.
“It came down to the last race again. We got a great start and we had to make sure that Alinghi didn’t overtake us. We had one boat between us and SAP Extreme Sailing Team which was working until the end of the race”, commented Hagara, who now sits one point clear of Alinghi in the overall 2016 Series rankings.
“The biggest problem for us here was to get the starts right. We didn’t have great starts and we always had to catch up and try and get the points in. If you want to compete against Alinghi and Oman Air, you have to start better.”
The young match racing talent on CHINA One finished fifth overall after posting some impressive results throughout the week, and have been tipped as a team to watch this season as they get ever closer to the podium with each passing Act.
Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira showed some moments of brilliance throughout the week, the crowd pleasers taking maximum points in the final double points race to finish on a high, while the youth team of Land Rover BAR Academy posted some good individual results as they work towards emulating the success of their senior racers including Sir Ben Ainslie.
Over 45,000 spectators flocked to the Race Village over the event as Larson and his team of Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, James Wierzbowski and Nasser Al Mashari, took their third Act win of the Series, and with four Acts to go this year, they are the team to beat.
Next stop is St Petersburg, Russia from the 1-4 September as the fleet launch into the second half of the season.
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Hamburg standings after Day 4, 17 races (31.07.16)
1st Oman Air (OMA) 188 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) 187 points.
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 166 points.
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 166 points.
5th CHINA One (CHN) 157 points.
6th Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira (POR) 149 points.
7th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) points.