It was a case of survival of the fittest for the final day of racing at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Cardiff presented by Land Rover, that demanded all of the teams strength and skill to avoid collisions and capsizes. Just under 60,000 spectators lined the shore over three days, to watch first hand as the teams were battered with a solid 22-knot breeze and gusts of up to 30-knots for the fourth exhausting day of racing, as Leigh McMillan, with double Olympic gold medallist tactician Sarah Ayton and the team on The Wave, Muscat, stormed to an impressive win, putting the Omani team back in the lead at the half way stage of the eight-Act 2015 Series.

Topping the leaderboard after 32 gruelling races The Wave, Muscat, took control in the wild conditions, posting five podium finishes on the final day and more podiums over the event then any other team. With an eye always on the 2015 Series leaderboard, the final double points race of the day became a tactical game from start to finish, the team using their experience to sail SAP Extreme Sailing Team down the pack.

“It’s a tough situation when you have one eye on the regatta itself and one eye on the Series,” McMillan explained. “SAP Extreme Sailing Team went into this event in the lead in the Series rankings, so we had an opportunity where we could squeeze them back behind Red Bull Sailing Team in the last race, so that’s what we did. It never feels good doing that but that’s what you have to do to take advantage of the situation when you can.”

The bold move from the experienced crew on The Wave, Muscat not only cost SAP Extreme Sailing Team second place in Cardiff but it also stripped them of their lead in the overall Series standings.

The battle for second place was intense between the Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team and the Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team, who went into the final race tied on points – a simple case of who wins, wins. Red Bull Sailing Team, were on fire all day, and barely put a foot wrong – an impressive four race wins and third in the final race of the day earning the Austrians a well deserved second place.

With regular skipper Roman Hagara coaching the team from the support RIB throughout the week due to a shoulder injury, helm Jason Waterhouse and skipper Hans Peter Steinacher clearly relished the conditions that were, at times, on the edge of control. The team even managed to pull back from the brink of a near capsize, to claim an incredible race win. Watch the video sequence here.

Hans Peter Steinacher summed up the day: “Everyone tried to stop us but on days like this we were unstoppable. I have to say, this is one of the best days we’ve ever had in the Extreme Sailing Series. We started the day great with a lot of wind, we were so focused and the boys had a lot of energy. They’re just working so hard, and in conditions like this with strong winds, they’re not scared.”

Awarded the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award for teamwork and performance under pressure this week, and for securing their best Act result so far this year, GAC Pindar co-skippered by Chris Draper and Seve Jarvin just missed out on the podium despite consistently putting the pressure on the top teams finishing the Act on 232 points in fourth followed by Gazprom team Russia skippered by Igor Lisovenko.

Physically tough, the conditions took their toll on the boats as well as the crews over the four days. Oman Air finished the regatta in sixth after winning the final double points race of the Act with a convincing lead but were unable to recover from missing four races after their winch pulled clean off the deck in yesterdays racing. Lino Sonego Team Italia and Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes also suffered problems on deck and despite both posting podium positions over the weekend, neither couldn’t find the consistency to compete with the more experienced crews.

At the halfway mark of the Series just three points separate the top three boats, with The Wave, Muscat, now leading the charge one point ahead of second place SAP Extreme Sailing Team with Red Bull Sailing Team in third. Next stop is a brand new venue on the global tour, as the fleet head to Hamburg, Germany for Act 5 and launch into the second half of the season, 23-26 July.

 

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Cardiff presented by Land Rover standings after Day 4, 32 races (21.06.15)

Position / Team / Points

• 1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 268 points.
• 2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Hans Peter Steinacher, Jason Waterhouse, Jeremy Bachelin, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 250 points.
• 3rd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 245 points.
• 4th GAC Pindar (GBR) Chris Draper, Seve Jarvin, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski, Kazuhiko Sofuku 232 points.
• 5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 213 points.
• 6th Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 193 points.
• 7th Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes (TUR) Mitch Booth, Can Bayulken, Selim Kakış, Diogo Cayolla, Pedro Andrade 173 points.
• 8th Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Lorenzo Bressani, Enrico Zennaro, Andrea Tesei, Tom Buggy, Stefano Ciampalini 144 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2015 overall standings

Position / Team / Points

• 1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 37 points.
• 2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 36 points.
• 3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 34 points.
• 4th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 24 points.
• 5th Oman Air (OMA) 23 points.
• 6th GAC Pindar (AUS) 21 points.
• 7th Team Turx (TUR) 19 points.
• 8th Lino Songeo Team Italia (ITA) 14 points