In the wildest week of the Extreme Sailing Series season so far, Alinghi finished Act 6 in Portugal’s Madeira Islands in first place. The final day’s racing revealed the heart and drive of the Swiss team, as they flew their foils to one race victory in Sundays double-point race, despite a collisions with Red Bull Sailing the day before. The crew led by double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher claimed the runners up spot for the third time as Madeira made its debut in the Extreme Sailing Series, with overall Series leaders Oman Air completing the podium.
Strong winds on Day Three wreaked havoc with the field as the seven teams battled for position in the tight stadium format, resulting in crashes that put Alinghi and Red Bull Sailing with their ability to compete on Sunday uncertain. Both crews had a different kind of race on their hands as they repaired the boat overnight before the final showdown.
Alinghi helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis dedicated the victory, the crew’s second in succession after triumph in Act 5 in St Petersburg, to their shore team who worked tirelessly through the night to repair their stricken boat and keep them in contention. “We’re really happy to win here in Madeira,” Psarofaghis said. “After the breakdown yesterday the shore crew did a fantastic job putting the boat back together and getting us back on the water. This win is for them. Overall we’re not far behind Oman Air now so it will be a fight right until the end.”
“The goal has been to beat Oman Air for a long time now and we have managed to do that here,” Red Bull Skipper Roman Hagara said. “This second is great for the team and a great effort from everyone after yesterday’s crash with Alinghi. To get the boat on the water and then fight back to beat Oman Air is brilliant. We know now we can beat Alinghi and Oman Air so we’re really looking forward to the next event in Lisbon.”
The result sees Alinghi narrow the gap in the overall rankings to Oman Air to just three points with just two more Acts left of the 2016 season. The foils will fly in Portugal again as the Extreme Sailing Series makes its Lisbon debut on 6–9 October 2016.
Final results in the Madeira Islands after 14 races: 1. Alinghi (SUI) 166 points, 2. Red Bull Sailing (AUT) 153, 3. Oman Air (Oman) 150, 4. SAP Sailing Team (DEN) 141, 5. Sail Portugal (POR) 127), 6. Land Rover BAR (GBR) 122, 7. Vega Racing (USA) 111
Overall ranking after six of eight acts: 1. Oman Air (Oman) 68 points, 2. Alinghi (SUI) 65, 3. Red Bull Sailing (AUT) 63, 4. SAP Sailing Team (DEN) 52, 5. Land Rover BAR (GBR) 45.