The Extreme Sailing Series 2015
The final act of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ will culminate on the waters of the iconic Sydney Harbour in Australia on December 8 to 11.
Seven teams, including an Australian wildcard team, will determine the first foiling champion of the Extreme Sailing Series in its 10th season. Going into the final Act, the top of the leaderboard sees current leaders Oman Air just two points ahead of Alinghi, setting the scene for a nail-biting winner takes all double-points final.
With Oman Air skipper Morgan Larson gunning for his second Series trophy – his first came as co-skipper of now rival team Alinghi in 2014 – he has gone to extra lengths to ensure his team can stay ahead of their Swiss opponents.
“Alinghi have been sailing the boat better than us full-stop,” commented Larson. “But we’ve been studying their technique, trim and teamwork and I’m confident we have learned some tricks from them.”
The Californian skipper added: “Alinghi are in the driver’s seat at this point and it will take something special to beat them. We will do everything within our power to push them to the finish.”
Alinghi skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis, whose team has already secured four Act victories to Oman Air’s three, is unfazed by the task ahead. “We welcome the pressure,” said Psarofaghis. “It will help us to try to raise our game even higher and gives us something to aim for.”
He added, “We are confident, but we take nothing for granted; firstly, because our opponents are tough, talented competitors; secondly because, as all sailors know, anything can happen. But we believe in ourselves and will be giving it everything we have.”
Meanwhile Red Bull Sailing Team, who have demonstrated great consistency throughout the year, being the only team to finish on the podium at every Act so far, currently sit just six points behind Oman Air and are also in contention for overall victory.
“2016 has been a successful year for us from a sporting perspective. Looking back to Act 1, Muscat, we have improved a lot in boat handling and team work,” said Roman Hagara, skipper of Red Bull Sailing Team. “But the task is not finished yet, our goal is to win the event in Sydney.”
The rest of the fleet have all displayed moments of excellence throughout the season, with SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Land Rover BAR Academy, for example, both with a podium spot to their name. However, while dreams of finishing in the top-three overall are a thing of the past for these crews, they are still jostling for success in the second half of the leaderboard.
The Sydney finale marks the swansong for Phil Lawrence as Race Director of the Extreme Sailing Series™, a position he has held for the past six years. Commenting on his final regatta before he hands over to John Craig, who will take charge next year, Lawrence said: “Sydney Harbour is a fantastic venue to host the first foiling final in the Series’ history. Hosted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, who are kindly lending their terrific facilities, the event promises to throw a mix of weather conditions at the teams and put on a great show for the crowds of spectators watching from the shore.”
Joining the regulars on the startline will be an Australian-flagged wildcard team, Team Australia, made up of some of Australia’s best 18 foot skiff sailors and match racers. You can find out more about the team here.
Act 8 starts on Thursday December 8, with a mix of Stadium Racing and open water racing. Shoreside spectators will be able to watch the on-water battles from the public vantage points at Kurraba Point Reserve and Cremorne Point.
Fans online can watch the racing live on the official website and YouTube channel from 15:30 – 17:00 local time (GMT+11) on December 10 and 11. For more information about what is going on and how you can follow the action, click here.
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2016 overall standings
1st Oman Air (OMA) 79 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) 77 points.
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 73 points.
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 61 points.
5th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 54 points.
6th Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira (POR) 49 points.
7th CHINA One (CHN) 29 points.
8th Team Turx (TUR) 11 points.