The Extreme Sailing Series regatta reached its halfway mark and Alinghi launched an assault on Act 6 leaders Red Bull Sailing Team on the waters of Madeira.
Arnaud Psarofaghis’ Swiss crew on Alinghi exchanged blows with Roman Hagara’s Austrian-flagged Red Bull Sailing Team as both outfits made their bids to top the Act 6 table going into the penultimate day.
Light, shifty winds provided challenging conditions for the seven international teams as racing resumed in Funchal, the capital of Portugal’s stunning Madeira Islands.
With the breeze never getting above five knots the sailors were forced to rely on tactics more than ever and it was Psarofaghis’ team that won the day, finishing on the podium in each of the four races to clock up more points than any other team. Meanwhile Red Bull Sailing Team, keen to capitalise on their win in the opening day’s only race, added another two victories to their tally. However, they finished in fifth in the remaining two races.
The results leave the expert teams tied on 52 points, with Oman Air four points further back in third, tied with SAP Extreme Sailing Team. However with two more days of jam-packed racing still to go, and an increase in wind forecast, the Act is far from being tied up.
“After two days of racing we’re feeling really good because we haven’t lost too many points to anyone,” Alinghi helmsman Psarofaghis said. “We’re tied on points at the top of the leaderboard so we couldn’t ask for much better, especially as the conditions were so tricky today. But there are many teams that can win here and the racecourse is really challenging, so it’s going to be all on right until the end.”
Overall Series leaders Oman Air shot out of the blocks, winning the opening race in trademark fashion, but Morgan Larson’s men then suffered string of penalties after being caught on the wrong side of the start line twice in succession. The Omani team had to settle for sixth place in the second race of the day, but a fantastic display of skill, jumping from last to second in the next race, salvaged their third-place position on the Act 6 leaderboard.
“It was obviously challenging out there today and I gave the team some work to do with a couple of bad starts from me,” Larson admitted. “I jumped the line a bit on a couple of occasions. It didn’t feel like we were being too aggressive but I guess we were just a little ahead of ourselves and that’s all it takes.
“Thankfully the second time it happened we managed to pull it back to get second place. In light airs sometimes it just works out that way. But it’s not ideal and we’ll definitely have to tighten up for tomorrow.”
Home team Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira scored their best result of the Act so far with a second in the final race of the day. They go into the penultimate day with a three point buffer over Land Rover BAR Academy, who also scooped a podium spot, with wildcard team Vega Racing a further two points behind.
Land Rover BAR Academy’s Neil Hunter, who at 21 is the youngest skipper in the fleet, said his young crew is looking forward to more wind when racing gets underway once more tomorrow.
Results of the Day 2, Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6, Madeira Islands:
1st Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) (52 points)
2nd Alinghi (SUI) (52 points)
3rd Oman Air (OMA) (48 points)
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) (48 points)
5th Sail Portugal - Visit Madeira (POR) (41 points)
6th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) (38 points)
7th Vega Racing (USA) (36 points)
More information about the results you can find here.
The picture for this article is taken by Lloyd Images.