Collision brings premature end to GAC Pindar's climb up the Extreme ladder

Nathan Wilmot’s GAC Pindar crew started the third day of the Extreme Sailing Series in Istanbul, Turkey, in fourth position, but the day ended prematurely for the crew following a collision with Gazprom Team Russia.

GAC Pindar got off to a promising start, finishing runners up in the first race of the day and fourth in round 20, but a collision with Gazprom Team Russia in round 24 halted their promising rise up the table.

GAC Pindar Principal Andrew Pindar said: “Sadly it was a far less fortunate day for us compared to yesterday, but everybody was fine on board after the collision and we’ll hopefully get some form of redress for the incident.”

“It happens to everyone in Extreme Sailing and after some overnight repairs; we should be back on the water tomorrow and aim to return to our form from earlier in the week.”

GAC Pindar currently sit in ninth place with 101 points ahead of the final round of Act 6 tomorrow afternoon.

Action continues tomorrow at 13:30 and can be followed at www.extremesailingseries.com.

Here's the full report:

The tankers and cargo ships on one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, the Bosphorus Strait, were replaced this morning with the magnificent sight of a fleet of Extreme 40s, as traffic was shut down for a spectacular passage race right through the heart of Istanbul.

If navigating the channel and racing past some of Istanbul’s most spectacular Ottoman architecture wasn’t remarkable enough to open the penultimate day’s racing at Act 6 of the Extreme Sailing Series, eight full on, adrenaline-fuelled races were sailed and as always, it is tight at the top between the leading pack heading into tomorrow’s final showdown. Watch the highlights from the Bosphorus race, here.

Race Director Phil Lawrence summed up an extraordinary day’s racing: “The Bosphorus is one of my favourite races. You’re sailing around this fantastic waterway and it’s very rare that they’ll stop all the ships and the scenery is just absolutely fantastic.”

Going on to talk about this afternoon’s racing, “Full-on would sum it up. It was pretty breezy, we had full mainsails – we didn’t go to a reef, so it was right on the limit for that. The sailors did a great job.”

The defending champions of the series, The Wave, Muscat have held onto the advantage they had coming into the day, despite picking up no points in race six for not completing a starting penalty for which the team are hoping for a redress. Breathing down their necks after two race wins is Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand, but Barker hinted they would like to go one better: “It was a great experience to do the Bosphorus race this morning and to take a look around there, then we moved into the stadium. We had a good day, and if we’d have said at the beginning of the week that we would be two-points behind the leaders going into the last day, we would have taken that. So we’re happy with the way it’s going, but you’ll always love to do better.”

Oman Air are continuing to ride on their season high, holding onto third place, but giving them a run for their money is a revitalised Alinghi, who had fire in their bellies and mistakes to be remedied today. The team, helmed by Morgan Larson, made every point count, as tactician Stuart Pollard explained: “Yesterday it wasn’t so good for us in the starts, but today we sorted that out. We sailed consistently around the race track and ended up getting us some points on the board which is good because we needed it after yesterday. Tomorrow we will need more of today, sailing consistently, sailing clean and sailing fast.”

The fleet couldn’t have asked for better conditions for this afternoon’s racing, with 20 knots on the course that saw the crews muscle their overpowered Extreme 40s around the track – at times on the edge of control. Keeping it clean, staying out of the scraps at the marks and timing the starts perfectly was key, and a team who had that sussed today was Groupama sailing team.

The French started the day in twelfth place, but two race wins and being the fastest average boat on the water – matched only by J.P. Morgan BAR at 13.77 knots according to the SAP analytics – saw the French begin to make their march, to put themselves in a solid fifth place at close of play.

The team are now tied on points with Red Bull Sailing Team, leading the mid leaderboard battle, and after racing skipper Tanguy Cariou commented: “We really had a great day. François Morvan (helm in Istanbul) has done a wonderful job on the starts, he has really analysed the different race configurations and his understanding of the specificities of the Stadium Racing is improving day by day. Today’s results are really rewarding both for François and the entire team and it is really gratifying to know that we are back on track.”

J.P. Morgan BAR also had a better day today, relishing the bigger breeze and the chance to really stretch their legs. The team, who among them have five Olympic gold medals, took maximum points in two races, to finish the day in seventh place and on 110 points. The Brits most experienced Extreme 40 sailor is former Series winner Nick Hutton, who commented: “We are really enjoying the racing here in Istanbul. Everyday we have had good conditions with a nice breeze. It is a bit gusty at times, but we are starting to read it now, paired with the flat water and open racetrack it makes for some of the best sailing we have had. We are pleased with our boat handling and form today and it’s all to play for tomorrow.”

After yesterday’s impressive showing, the young Australian team on GAC Pindar struggled to get out of the scrum and into the top half of the pack under the intensity of the day’s racing. Their day went from bad to worse, when their final race was cut short following a collision with Gazprom Team Russia, which knocked the Aussies out of racing, leaving them with a night of repairs. Skipper Nathan Wilmot talked through what happened: “We were coming down to the bottom mark and Team Russia were behind with no over-lap. We went to go around the mark, they got a gust and hit us. They went through our port bow, and we’re not quite sure how bad it all is yet so we will wait and see, but it has been draining water out for the last 15 minutes.

“We were our own worst enemy out there today, and we were a little out of sync. We just missed a few things, battled hard and it didn’t go our way. Unfortunately it was probably our best race when the crash happened, so it was just one of those days.”

The battles at the top and mid-leaderboard are raging, with three hours of racing left in Istanbul, and a final double points shoot-out still to come, there will be no quarter given. Tune into the final day’s racing from 1530 local time (GMT+3) to watch the final races, and the winners be crowned.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 6 Istanbul standings after Day 3, 24 races (13.09.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 149 points.
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 147 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 133 points.
4th Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 130 points.
5th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Tanguy Cariou, François Morvan, Romain Motteau, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 112 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Nick Blackman, Mark Bulkeley, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 112 points.
7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell 110 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand 105 points.
9th GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Jack Macartney, Ed Smyth, Seve Jarvin, Tyson Lamond 101 points.
10th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Cédric Schmidt, Thierry Wasem 100 points.
11th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 89 points.
12th TeamTurx (TUR) Mitch Booth, Edhem Dirvana, Selim Kakış, Ateş çinar, Anıl Berk Baki 72 points.

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