Swiss team Alinghi sailed a near-perfect day to consolidate their Act 7 lead as Lisbon delivered perfect conditions for the Extreme Sailing Series™’ fleet of ‘flying’ catamarans.
The veteran crew, led by co-skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis, only dropped three points from a maximum score of 60 as they notched up two race wins and three seconds in a dominant display on Lisbon’s River Tagus.
They proved themselves masters of all wind conditions as the second day of racing in Portugal’s capital city got underway in light airs of 5-7 knots and a strong tide, but finished in glorious 15 knots – more than enough to see the GC32 catamarans lift clear of the water on their foils.
Alinghi’s show of consistency moves them 14 points clear of closest challengers NORAUTO powered by Groupama Team France, a wildcard team competing in the Extreme Sailing Series for the first time, at the top of the Act 7 rankings and 22 points ahead of arch rivals and overall 2016 Series leaders Oman Air.
But with two days of racing still remaining, including a double points-scoring finale on Sunday, and more breeze forecast for the coming days, Psarofaghis said his crew could not afford to be complacent.
“We’re very happy – we got great results in all the conditions that were thrown at us,” Psarofaghis said. “Looking forward I think we need to be on our game if the conditions change. If the wind is going to be like it was in the last two races today then one mistake could see you end up very far behind.
“It’s good to be in front but I don’t think the regatta is won by any means. Our lead is 14 points but that can be totally lost in two races. It’s going to all come down to the double points race on Sunday.”
Morgan Larson’s Oman Air added another race win to their Act 7 tally but fell foul of the umpires in the second race of the day when they were deemed not to have taken a penalty awarded for being over the start line. They scored zero points for the race, a cruel blow to the team’s bid to reel in Alinghi from third place overall. Larson’s men will also be aware of the threat of Red Bull Sailing Team, whose three podium finishes today see them move onto equal points in the overall standings.
Equally frustrated were SAP Extreme Sailing Team, who struggled to finish in the top half of the fleet in the light airs but won the last race of the day when the breeze built. They go into day three in sixth, narrowly trailing fifth-placed home team Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira.
“We’re struggling in the very light breeze and the strong current,” co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen admitted. “We’re not getting off the start line and basically not sailing very well. I’ve never really sailed in lots of tide before, we don’t have a lot in Denmark, and it makes things really hard.
“Fortunately for us the wind kicked in and we sailed a beautiful last race and won. We know we can sail well but it seems like we’re better in the breeze. We’re Vikings, we’re from the north and we like windy conditions. The forecast for the next two days is for more wind and that will suit us.”
Wildcard team Thalassa Magenta Racing, the Extreme Sailing Series’ first ever all-female crew, moved one place up the rankings into seventh thanks to a runners-up spot in the second race of the day, their best result of the Act so far. Land Rover BAR Academy go into the second half of the Act in eighth, four points ahead of Vega Racing.
The action resumes tomorrow at 1500 local time (GMT+1). Fans can watch the racing live on the Extreme Sailing Series website. Please check our social media channels for exact timings of the broadcast.
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 7, Lisbon standings after Day 2, 10 races (07.10.16)
– Extreme Series