Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Extreme 40 : Pressure is on Going into Final Day of Act 4 in Boston

Leogh McMillan, dubbed "Happy of the X40s" last year, in his element on The Wave, Muscat, in Boston. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC ThirdPole

by Carolyn Lashmar

Terry Hutchinson, skipper of Artemis Racing, aka ‘Mr Consistency’ did it again on the penultimate day of the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4 in Boston. Ensuring that his team finished no lower than 5th place in any of the 8 races staged today, sees Artemis Racing go into the final day tomorrow with a 14 point lead. The Swedish team has only conceded their dominance once during the Boston event: “The most important day to be leading is the last day!” said Terry. “I don’t take anything for granted because I know how good the people around us are and how tricky the conditions can be here, so we have to keep on fighting the fight. Tomorrow is Independence Day and it’s a great day to be in the US.”

Artemis Racing. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC ThirdPole

The final day often throws up surprises, and at every Act this season victory has only been secured in the final double points race. And, right now, seven teams are still in the hunt for a podium place. But sailors are renowned for being a superstitious bunch and no one is counting their chickens (or is that rabbits?) just yet… Watch this latest video to discover what bad omens the sailors fear most, and their secret good luck talismans.

Extreme 40 action in Boston. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC ThirdPole

An overcast day set the scene over Boston Harbor but that didn’t seem to deter the US crowds celebrating the 4th July holiday weekend. Also at Fan Pier to experience the Extreme 40 action was US sailing legend and commentator, Gary Jobson who went for a ride on Artemis Racing, and Dawn Riley, former round the world and America’s Cup sailor. A good gradiant breeze ensured the action was close and intense, even when the threat of lightning suspended racing the teams came back out fighting after the storm had dissipated. Emirates Team New Zealand reveled in the competition, posting two race wins, to knock The Wave, Muscat off 2nd place on the overall leaderboard but Dean Barker’s team only has the slenderest of margins, just 3 points, but for Leigh McMillan recently recruited as skipper, the team are exceeded expectations: “It wasn’t our goal here to get on the podium, for me it was a bit unrealistic,” said Leigh. “But we are still in the hunt for a podium place. We’ll go out and fight for every point.”

Red Bull Extreme Sailing raise a protest flag against Oman Air. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC ThirdPole

Max Sirena’s team continued to improve today and like the Kiwis, two race wins, helped them overhaul the all-French team on board Groupe Edmond de Rothschild to claim 4th overall by the end of play. “We had an okay day,” said Luna Rossa helsman, Paul Cambell-James. “We had our ups and downs but generally we are getting better and moving up. Anything can happen at the Extreme Sailing Series and tomorrow we will go out there and sail our own race. We might look at the last double points race and the scores and try to make a plan, but we’ll try any race.” Pierre Pennec’s team was not able to find their form today, although a win in the final race will, hopefully, be a good omen ahead of tomorrow.

Other overall place changes saw the Swiss team Alinghi claim 6th ahead of Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing. Despite scoring three third places, things just didn’t go Hagara’s way in the other races. As normal, racing in stadium mode, kept the on-water referees busy, each race lasting just 10-15 minutes. Some of the legs were so short, the teams only had time to unfurl the gennaker, gybe, then furl again before piling into the mark. It is exhausting work physically and the 11 teams will need to rest up tonight ahead of the final day tomorrow when the pressure will be fully on if they want to secure a podium place.

Crowds watching from Fan Pier, Boston. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/OC ThirdPole

Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 at Fan Pier Boston, USA
Current overall standings after 30 races, Day 4 (3.7.11)
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points

1st Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Julien Cressant 239 points
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Adam Beashel / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 225 points
3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 222 points
4th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 210 points
5th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 200 points
6th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 199 points
7th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk 195.2* points
8th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 149 points
9th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari 133 points
10th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 116 points
11th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Bob Merrick 94 points
* Points after redress

Extreme Sailing Series