The crew of three-time Extreme Sailing Series champion, Alinghi, were crowned winners of the opening Act of the 2018 Series today, their first win in Muscat in their eight-year history in the event.
After four days of consistently strong sailing in Oman, the Swiss team extended their lead on the fleet of super-fast foiling GC32s, closing the Act with a six-point lead.
Consisting of experienced Series sailors Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey and Timothe Lapauw – the team sailed unchanged from last year. It proved a magic formula that saw the Swiss squad finish second in the Act's final race, worth double points.
Co-skipper and helm, Arnaud Psarofaghis, was elated as his team stepped off the water. “We gave it our all on that last one and it paid off. We knew the Act would end in that final race, and we're really happy. It's the only time we beat SAP Extreme Sailing Team today, but it was the right time to do it,” he said.
Locked in a fierce battle with the Swiss, Danish-flagged SAP Extreme Sailing Team stormed through the fleet in today's racing, finishing within the top three in all races but the last. For the 2017 victors, it was a bittersweet end to Act 1.
Helm Adam Minoprio commented on falling at the final hurdle: “When it counted in the last race, we messed it up,” he said.
“We had the Act there for the taking. It was down to who won the last race, that's all we had to do. I'm pretty disappointed with myself. We sailed a perfect day until then. We made a silly time-on-distance error that made us late to the start line, giving Alinghi the Act.”
Helmed by three-time Extreme Sailing Series champion Leigh McMillan, the British squad – Land Rover BAR Academy – stole the show today. Having started the Act with some disappointing results, the team threw their all into the final three races of the day, topping the leaderboard in the competitive double points round.
Skipper Will Alloway was proud of his crew: “We had a tough start to the event today,” he said. “We really began to push those top positions on the racecourse and finally we got two bullets in the last few races – we're really chuffed with that. We're a new team coming together, so we're pretty pleased with how it went.”
Following their collision with NZ Extreme Sailing Team on the Act's penultimate day, Red Bull Sailing Team charged into day four, determined to claw back some points after an incident that took both boats off the water. Top-three finishes in four consecutive races saw them climb one place on the overall leaderboard.
They may finish Act 1 in fifth place, but skipper Roman Hagara was in high spirits: “The race wins here and the improvement today was really good. We were fighting with the top three boats at first. When you beat them on the racecourse it's always great,” he summarised.
For home syndicate Oman Air, the final day of racing in Muscat proved somewhat disappointing. A string of discouraging results saw the gap widen between the Omani boat and second-placed SAP Extreme Sailing Team.
“It was a bit of a hard day for us,” explained skipper Phil Robertson. “We really struggled and had the boat in the wrong configuration all day. We were a bit behind the eight ball and we just didn't manage to get in the groove.”
Oman Air remain in third place overall with Land Rover BAR Academy snapping at their heels, just nine points behind. NZ Extreme Sailing Team and Team México round up the fleet.
As the curtains close on Act 1, Muscat, the teams are now reviewing their performances after four days of intense competition. It won't be long until they're ready for another epic on-the-water battle and the GC32 World Championship at Riva del Garda, Italy, is just around the corner.
There was little change to the overall rankings on the Flying Phantom racecourse today. Zooming around the racetrack, Team France Jeune maintained their lead and took the Act victory, finishing first for the fourth time in Muscat.
The team's helm Solune Robert reflected on some first class competition on the water. “We had a tough fight with Red Bull Sailing Team. Thankfully we won, but during racing it was very hard to stay first. There was a lot of pressure out there.”
The Flying Phantom Series will re-join the Extreme Sailing Series in Barcelona from 14-17 June, following their second Act in Quiberon, 18-21 May.
Standings after Day 4, 25 races
1st Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothe Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 277 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Adam Minoprio, Julius Hallstrom, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason 271 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Stewart Dodson, Nasser Al Mashari 253 points.
4th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Will Alloway, Leigh McMillan, Oli Greber, Adam Kay, Mark Spearman 244 points.
5th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Chris Draper, Ed Powys, Neil Hunter, Dan Morris, Rhys Mara 215 points.
6th NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) Jason Waterhouse, Will Tiller, Harry Hull, Luke Payne, Guy Endean 210points.
7th Team México (MEX) Erik Brockmann, Tom Buggy, Alex Higby, Tom Phipps, Danel Belausteguigoitia Fierro 177 points.
Extreme Sailing Series 2018 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) 12 points
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 11 pts
3rd Oman Air (OMA) 10 pts
4th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 9 pts
5th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 8 pts
6th NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) 7 pts
7th Team México (MEX) 6 pts
Flying Phantom Series after Day 4, 24 races
1st Team France Jeune (FRA) Solune Robert, Antoine Rucard 483 points.
2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Olivia Mackay, Micah Wilkinson 474 points.
3rd Idreva Zephyr Foiling (FRA) Charles Hainneville, Pierre-Yves Durand 446 points.
4th Culture Foil (FRA) Nicolas Ferellec, Theo Constance 426 points.
5th Flying Frogs (FRA) Pierre Le Clainche, Arnaud Vasseur 397 points.
6th UON (POR) Jose Cladeira, Helder Basilio 365 points.
7th EVO Visian ICL (GER) Raphael Neuhann, Elias Neuhann 357 points.
8th Masterlan (CZE) David Krizek, Zdenek Adam 314 points.
Flying Phantom Series 2018 overall standings
1st Team France Jeune (FRA) 20 points
2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 19 pts
3rd Idreva Zephyr Foiling (FRA) 18 pts
4th Culture Foil (FRA) 17 pts
5th Flying Frogs (FRA) 16 pts
6th UON (POR) 15 pts
7th EVO Visian ICL (GER) 14 pts
8th Masterlan (CZE) 13 pts