May 5, 2014, QINGDAO, China (ISN) – It was a spectacular finale for the tens of thousands of fans watching the action but it could have been a lot worse for winners Alinghi than it eventually turned out after Red Bull Sailing’s vessel was hit by a strong 30-knot gust at the start of one of the day’s races in Qingdao.
The wind flung the Austrian mutli-hull onto surprised Alinghi, leaders at that point. The crew escaped injuries but the crash ruled the Swiss out of the last three races They were, however, declared winners after the international jury awarded them a redress with the crew watching the remaining races from the dock.
Alinghi skipper Morgan Larson (USA) said he never had time to see the boat coming. „You are so focused in such situations so I never saw the boat coming. My whole crew was on the other side and away from danger. This can happen when you have such wind conditions but we still managed to win. It’s great to have won, we had such a great regatta that it was bittersweet to end that way, but I think we earned it so it feels good.”
Alinghi were followed in second place by Realteam (SUI) whose superb consistency in China paid off. Emirates Team New Zealand turned out to be the surprise of the third stop of the season, with Red Bull Youth America´s Cup winner Peter Burling (NZL) at the helm, taking third, ahead of the defending series champions The Wave Muscat.
“We’re pretty stoked to get on the podium,” said Burling. “I think going into today there was a bit of a battle between three of us to get into second position, and I suppose there’s a little disappointment that we couldn’t get there.
Red Bull Sailing, who ended up in ninth after the crash, will now ship their damaged 14-meter long and 20-meter high catamaran to St Petersburg, site of the next Act of the series, for repairs.
Final Results Extreme Sailing Series, Qingdao, China: 1. Alinghi 178 points, 2. Realteam 168, 3. Emirates Team New Zealand 160, 4. The Wave Muscat 159, 5. Gazprom 150, 6. Oman Air 133, 7. J.P. Morgan BAR 129, 8. Groupama 128, 9. Red Bull Sailing 126, 10. SAP Team 125, 11. Team Extreme Qingdao 111, 12. GAC Pindar 98
Pictures free for editorial use. Credit: Xaume Olleros for Red Bull Content Pool