It has been two days since the Act 8 of the Extreme Sailing Series started in Sydney, Australia. Here you can read a quick summary of those days, full story read on the official website.
After two days of breathtaking racing, Swiss crew Alinghi remained in pole position, but it couldn’t be tighter at the top as the battle between Alinghi and Oman Air intensified.
With unpredictable winds gusting from 15 to 30 knots whipping across the Stadium racecourse the decision was taken to split the fleet in two for the first four races to ensure the safety of the crews.
The teams were then brought back together for two incredible full-fleet clashes right in front of the crowds watching from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, the hosts of the event.
Red Bull Sailing Team, the only other crew that could possibly claim the title, layed five points adrift of the top spot in third place.
Both Land Rover BAR Academy and Visit Madeira made amends for capsizing yesterday by claiming impressive race wins, shooting up the Act 8 rankings into fourth and fifth respectively.
The battle for the Extreme Sailing Series title took a new twist on Saturday as Red Bull Sailing Team squeezed in between Act 8 leaders Alinghi and overall table toppers Oman Air on the penultimate day of the 2016 season finale in Sydney.
Roman Hagara’s Austrian crew had the pedal firmly to the metal as they notched up three impressive wins and three more podium finishes from the day’s eight races, revelling in the fresh 13 to 20-knot easterly breeze.
As Red Bull Sailing Team celebrated their trio of back-to-back victories it looked like they were on course to end the day in pole position until Swiss crew Alinghi upped the ante claiming honors in the last two races of the day, leaving Hagara’s men just six points behind.
Meanwhile overall Series leaders Oman Air were relegated to third place in the Act 8 rankings, 19 points adrift of Alinghi, following a mixed bag of results in which they only managed two podium finishes.
Just two points split Oman Air and Alinghi on the overall scoreboard, meaning the 2016 title will go to whichever of the two teams finishes Act 8 ahead. However, Red Bull Sailing Team could still win overall if they were to finish two places ahead of Alinghi and three ahead of Oman Air.
Also finding their feet in the stronger winds were Danish team SAP Extreme Sailing Team, rocketing up the Act leaderboard into fourth place with four runners-up finishes. They now go into the final day just eight points behind Oman Air.
In a real show of their future potential Land Rover BAR Academy shot out of the blocks winning the opening race followed by a solid fourth place, but disaster struck in the third race of the day when part of their mainsail that holds it to the mast broke.
Alinghi, keen to see their British rivals back on the racecourse as soon as possible, came to the rescue offering up their spare mainsail. Neil Hunter’s young crew missed the next two races while the new sail was retrieved and fitted but they came back guns blazing with a trio of podium positions. The missed races meant they dropped from fourth to a disappointing sixth on the Act leaderboard.
The two wildcard teams, Team Australia and RNZYS Lautrec Racing, were put through their paces by the regular Series’ crews and got a taste of some classic Stadium Racing.
The grand finale of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series will begin at 1400 local time (GMT+11) on December 11. Fans can follow all the action live on the Extreme Sailing Series website, Facebook page or YouTube.