Hamburg lived up to its reputation for delivering edge of the seat Stadium Racing today as it played host to some of the most exciting action of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ so far. Series stalwarts Alinghi were untouchable taking victory in six of the day’s seven races and edging ever closer to the top of the Act leaderboard with one day of racing left.
Thousands of spectators were treated to front row seats on the River Elbe as the fleet blasted around the track fully airborne on their foils and reaching speeds of 25 knots. The Swiss team, who boast two Extreme Sailing Series titles from 2008 and 2014, relished the conditions and seemingly found an extra gear, but they were unable to fully shake Morgan Larson and the team on Oman Air who were never far behind.
“Today went really well for us and everything went our way, the crew are very happy,” commented helm Arnaud Psarofaghis before talking about his biggest rivals. “We can’t manage what Oman Air or the other teams do, so we need to sail our own race and gain as many points as we can.
“Oman Air were only just behind us in the races today, which is something we can’t do much about, but we just have to push hard and see where it goes from there. It is a battle, but we try not to look at what the other teams are doing and sail our own course.”
A string of second and third places for Oman Air give Larson and his men a narrow seven-point advantage – and a lot to think about for tomorrow’s final showdown.
“We’ve got it right two out of three days”, commented a revved up Larson. “Today hurt because it was windy and we pride ourselves on sailing the boat well in those conditions, but you have to tip your hat to Alinghi. They sailed perfectly and they’re going to need to sail perfectly to beat us.”
After a physically exhausting day for the crews, SAP Extreme Sailing Team head into the final day in third place with a four point advantage over Red Bull Sailing Team, who in turn lead CHINA One by three points.
“Today was a fantastic day for sailing here in Hamburg and the boats showed their full potential in a venue which is very tricky”, commented co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen. “It’s very hard for the team on board, not so much for me as the driver, but for the rest of the crew this is a real physical test.
“On a day like today where we are all racing out of our comfort zone at times, they (Oman Air and Alinghi) are probably are able to stay in that zone a little longer than the rest of us. Nobody else could match them today.”
With one day of racing left, the stakes are high in Hamburg, as Oman Air try to hold Alinghi at bay to take their third Act win of the Series. Watch the racing live from 1530 GMT+2 at extremesailingseries.com.
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Hamburg standings after Day 3, 16 races (30.07.16)