GC32 Lagos: Back-to-back wins for Alinghi

Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi continued their winning streak, but only just, winning the the GC32 Lagos Cup 2 by two points in front of Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team.

After struggling yesterday Frenchman Erik Maris’ Zoulou rocketed up the leader board today to complete the podium.

Meanwhile Team Rockwool Racing and Red Bull Sailing Team (with three crew, including helmsman Nathan Outteridge, new for this event) struggled in highly changeable conditions.

After Saturday’s extreme conditions, Sunday’s  saw five races held in light to medium winds.

Anticipating 20+ knot winds, the decision was again made to start at 1000, with upwind starts. In fact the wind was up initially, but for the first races had dropped to ten and only after a lull in race four, did it finally bang back in, gusting to 20+ knots. 

Like yesterday Black Star Sailing Team dominated early, winning the first two races and the fourth. They started the final race just three points from Alinghi,  but were unable to overcome the former champions. 

“We didn’t sail our best today, but we did just enough to win the regatta,” said Alinghi helmsman, Arnaud Psarofaghis. “Black Star sailed really well. In the last race they gained a point, but we stayed right behind them, so they couldn’t get away from us. We made too many mistakes, but we were able to avoid any bigger dramas.”

As to Black Star Sailing Team’s performance Christian Zuerrer commented, “I’m happy. It was a strange day for conditions, but we managed them the best of all the teams.”

Zuerrer, who trims main on board as Kiwi Chris Steele helms, said he preferred the closer and more tactical racing provided by upwind starts. 

So should Alinghi be worried going into the World Championship in Villaisimius, Sardinia mid-September? “Hopefully,” said Black Star main-trimmer Christian Zuerrer. “It is more interesting when not only one boat is winning.”

Black Star Sailing Team sailing
Black Star Sailing Team on the rampage. © Sailing Energy / GC32 Racing Tour

Black Star Chris Steele added, “It was good fun – a great day on the water. It was tricky with the shifts and the pressure, but we did a nice job getting in phase with the first shift in all of the races and the guys did a nice job of moding the boat and staying fast. It was a really dynamic day which is encouraging for us as those were conditions in which you’d expect Alinghi to be strong.” 

While the Danish Team Rockwool Racing team had a storming Saturday when they hit 39.5 knots, neither they, nor Red Bull Sailing Team had a good final day of racing.

After struggling in yesterday’s intense conditions, Zoulou basked in them today, winning the third race after a blistering start. With only one race off the podium today, they bounced up the leader board finishing third overall.

“It was wonderful conditions, great sailing – the guys did a great job on a great boat,” said Zoulou’s Erik Maris. “We had some good starts – you need those. The race committee did a fantastic job and everyone is happy. When I look at the guys behind us I am somewhat proud – Nathan Outteridge, the Danes, etc. It was great fun.” 

Swiss Foiling Academy, co-skippered by mainsheet trimmer Julien Monnier and helmsman Loïc Forestier, had a difficult week after capsizing on the first day of compeition. But in today’s final race, they started by the race committee boat, tacked and took the most extreme right option and by the top mark had nosed in front. Swiss Foiling Academy went on to claim their first ever bullet on the GC32 Racing Tour. 

“The wind got stronger and we like that,” said Forestier. “We didn’t have a good race before and we wanted to finish the event in good spirits. We went right in good pressure and from there the most important thing was that we stayed in front. We have learned a lot.” 

All information: http://www.gc32racingtour.com

– GC32 Racing Tour

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