Mark Lloyd / Extreme Sailing Series

Final wild day

As The Wave, Muscat claims the Extreme Sailing Series Cardiff

Sunday June 21st 2015, Author: Nicola Dawson, Location: United Kingdom

It was a case of survival of the fittest on the final day of racing at the Extreme Sailing Series Cardiff presented by Land Rover, that demanded all of each crews' strength and skill to avoid collisions and capsizes. 60,000 spectators lined the shore over three days, to watch first hand as the teams were battered with a solid 22 knots with gusts of up to 30 for the fourth day of racing. Experience paid off and Leigh McMillan, with double Olympic gold medallist tactician Sarah Ayton and the team on The Wave, Muscat, stormed into the lead, putting the Omani team back on top of the leaderboard for the 2015 Series.

The Wave, Muscat, took control in the wild conditions, posting five podium finishes on the final day and more podiums over the 32 race event than any other team. With an eye always on the leaderboard, the final double points race of the day became a tactical game from start to finish, the team match racing SAP Extreme Sailing Team down the pack.


As McMillan explained: “It’s a tough situation when you have one eye on the regatta itself and one eye on the Series. 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 battle for second place was intense between the Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team and the Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team, which went into the final race tied on points – a simple case of who wins, wins. Red Bull Sailing Team was on fire all day scoring an impressive four race wins and a third in the final race of the day earning the Austrians 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.

Two time Olympic gold medallist Steinacher summed up the day: “Everyone tried to stop us, but on days like this we were unstoppable. 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.”

Rasmus Køstner of SAP Extreme Sailing Team added: “We knew from the beginning that The Wave, Muscat would try and make things difficult for us but that is how it is. During the first part of the last race I think we did quite well to stay away from them and sail our own race but in the end we got too close to The Wave, where they could then made things a bit more interesting! We kept fighting and managed to overtake them but didn’t close the gap to Red Bull Sailing Team. It was great racing and hats off to Red Bull Sailing Team for a fantastic performance, they definitely deserve to be on the podium.”

Awarded the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award for teamwork and performance under pressure this week, and for securing their best result so far this year, GAC Pindar, co-skippered on this occasion by Chris Draper and Seve Jarvin, just missed out on the podium despite consistently putting pressure on the top teams.  

Draper commented: “Red Bull Sailing Team sailed an awesome day. They had a great second half of the regatta whereas we kind of went in the opposite direction. We tried to attack the day too hard yesterday and made some silly mistakes, which went down to lack of preparation and experience in the Series. I’m really pleased with how we’ve done this weekend and I’ve really enjoyed sailing with Seve and the boys. Sofuku has done a great job so we’ve ticked all the boxes we’ve hoped to tick.”

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 with a convincing lead, but was unable to recover four races she missed after her winch pulled clean off the deck yesterday.

Lino Sonego Team Italia and Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes also suffered deck gear problems and despite both posting podium positions over the weekend, neither couldn’t find the consistency to compete with the more experienced crews.

Mitch Booth, skipper of Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes said: “It was a hard day for us and we struggled from the first race in the tough conditions, but the crew were fighting really hard and by the middle of the day we had a little bit of drama. We broke our gooseneck (the swivel connection by which the boom attaches to the mast) and we had to miss a race, but the team performed pretty well under pressure with everything that was thrown at them – changing crew, broken boat. We fought hard and the last two races went OK for us.”

At the halfway mark of the 2015 Extreme Sailing 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 for the ESS, Hamburg, Germany over 23-26 July. 



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

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.


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