Saturday, 26 February 2011

Extreme 40: Alinghi Debuts with Sixth Position in Oman

Alinghi. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OCThirdPole.

by Paco Latorre

After 32 races and five days of very competitive sailing, the start of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series season for Alinghi finished with the team in sixth position in Oman.

In the end, the team missed out on fulfilling their full ambition of fighting for the victory despite a promising first couple of days of competition. The overall win was secured by the most consistent crew in the 11-squad pack, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (France), with Alinghi finishing 36 points behind.

Whilst Alinghi were amongst the leading boats in the first two days of open-water fleet racing, the switch to the “stadium” racing format, sailed close to the shore, was a much tougher challenge for the Swiss team in the final three days. Alinghi struggled with their consistency, especially with their starts, and they received several penalties. The team entered the final day in seventh position with too much ground to make up on the leaders.

The finale of the “stadium” racing had a similar development to the previous days, competed over very short races, with a focus on getting the best start possible, each race was a fierce battle hotly contested at every position. Alinghi definitely improved their performance on the last day scoring one more win to take the total to four for the entire event.

This was supported with a couple of other top three finishes in the last six races. Despite this prominent positioning, the team’s best efforts could only claw back one position in the final standings and left them missing out on being part of the fight for overall victory. After this result, the Alinghi team remains positive by the overall experience of their debut and look forward to the building on this experience as they embark on a busy and exciting season.

"We are certainly disappointed with this result," mused Tanguy Cariou, the team's skipper. "Sixth is not what we were aiming for at Alinghi but we have, admittedly, been lacking real rhythm and aggressiveness during the three days of "stadium" racing. The team is still on a steep learning curve as part of this process and we now have to do a full assessment of this first experience in this new circuit before we continue our journey and go into the next stage of the season in April in China."
The second Act of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series is scheduled in Qingdao, China, on 15-17 April.

Final Standings:

1.Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 253 points
2.Artemis, 243 points
3.Red Bull, 239 points
4. Team New Zealand, 236 points
5.Luna Rossa, 234 points
6. Alinghi, 217 points
7.The Wave, 208 points
8.Oman Air, 188 points
9.Team Extreme, 140 points
10. Niceforyou, 95 points
11.Team GAC Pindar, 62 points

Extreme Sailing Series