A dramatic Act 4 curtain-raiser in Barcelona saw heartache for local wildcard crew FNOB Impulse when they were denied their first win right on the finish line – as Alinghi took control of the scoreboard.
Just as it seemed the young Spanish team, led by 23-year-old Jordi Xammar, looked set for their first ever Extreme Sailing Series™ race victory disaster struck when their GC32 catamaran got stuck on a buoy. The watching crowds’ hearts were in their mouths as Xammar and his crew, fresh from competing in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, scrambled to dislodge their boat from the buoy’s clutch. Just as the chasing pack closed the gap Xammar’s team broke free and turned their bows towards the finish line, but their lead had been wiped out. A tussle with Chris Steele’s NZ Extreme Sailing Team at the final turning mark ensued but Xammar’s crew emerged just in front and heading for glory.
However in a cruel twist the Extreme Sailing Series on-the-water umpires intervened, penalising FNOB Impulse for impeding their Kiwi rivals. Forced to complete a two penalty gybes, Xammar and his crew could only watch as six teams slipped past them and crossed the finish line ahead.
The race ended with a tough lesson for the young Spaniards, who had to settle for seventh place, but also showed their potential for brilliance against much more seasoned teams.
“We made a big mistake in that race that we were close to winning,” conceded Xammar, one of Spain’s most talented young sailors. “Obviously it’s a beginner’s mistake, but I think we can be happy if we’re close to winning races on the first day of sailing here.
“We were happy because we had some good starts, good upwind legs, and we’re looking forward to tomorrow. It’s just amazing to be here in the Extreme Sailing Series.”
Meanwhile Series leaders Alinghi proved dominant as they notched up three wins, a second and a third in six light wind races off Barcelona’s Barceloneta beach. The Swiss outfit’s strong starts proved vital as they soared to the top of the leaderboard going into the penultimate day of racing.
Compelling wins in the last two races of the day saw Chris Steele’s NZ Extreme Sailing Team return to the dock in second place, two points ahead of Phil Robertson’s Oman Air.
Red Bull Sailing Team rocketed out of the blocks to comfortably win the opening race, followed by three podium finishes. But the Austrian team’s scorecard also includes two last places, one of which was the result of the boat getting stuck on a racing mark and then the committee boat.
“It was actually quite a good day for us except for two races,” said skipper Roman Hagara, a double Olympic gold medallist. “We had a last and then in the other we hit the mark which was a misjudgment from my side. We were stuck on the mark and went from first to last which was a shame.
“I think we are doing well on the race course but it’s hard with the swell and the light breeze but generally all going well. There were a few mistakes but we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Land Rover BAR Academy finish the day in fifth place, two points ahead of Act 3 winners SAP Extreme Sailing Team, who were denied their first victory when the race they were leading was abandoned due to light winds.
Barcelona resident Mitch Booth’s Team Extreme and Xammar’s FNOB Impulse occupy seventh and eighth overall but with two more days of action to come there will be plenty of opportunities to claw their way back into contention.
The fleet of Flying Phantom pocket rockets made the most of better breeze earlier in the day to entertain crowds with some foiling action.
Flying Phantom racing will start at 1000 local time tomorrow (UTC+2) followed by Stadium Racing at 1500.
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Barcelona standings after Day 2, 6 races (21.07.17)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 64 points.
2nd NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) Chris Steele, Graeme Sutherland, Harry Hull, Mike Bullot, Josh Salthouse 58 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 56 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Will Tiller 53 points.
5th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Rob Bunce, Chris Taylor, Oli Greber, Sam Batten, Adam Kay 53 points.
6th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Adam Minoprio, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason 51 points.
7th Team Extreme (ESP) Mitch Booth, Alberto Torné, Jordi Sánchez, Jordi Booth, Tom Buggy 37 points.
8th FNOB Impulse (ESP) Jordi Xammar, Joan Cardona, Luis Bugallo, Kevin Cabrera, Florian Trittel 36 points.
Flying Phantom Series Barcelona standings after Day 2, 3 races (21.07.17)
1st Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): Thomas Zajac (AUT) / Antoine Joubert (FRA) 58 points.
2nd Solidaires en Peloton (FRA): Thibaut Vauchel-Camus (FRA) / Tom Laperche (FRA) 55 points.
3rd Cup Legend (FRA): Tim Mourniac (FRA) / Pierre-Yves Durand (FRA) 55 points.
4th Culture Foil (FRA): Eric Peron (FRA) / Théo Constance (FRA) 49 points.
5th UON (POR): Jose Caldeira (POR) / Helder Basilio (POR) 46 points.
6th Lupe Tortilla (USA): John Tomko (USA) / Jonathan Atwood (USA) 44 points.
7th Oman Sail (OMA): Thomas Normand (FRA) / Ahmed Al Hasani (OMA) 43 points.
8th EVO Visian ICL (GER): Raphael Neuhann (GER) / Elias Neuhann (GER) 40 points.
9th Masterlan (CZE): David Krizek (CZE) / Milan Harmacek (CZE) 38 points.
10th Back to Basics (FRA): Bruno Marais (FRA) / Max Billaux (FRA) 33 points.
11th Flying Frogs (FRA): Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA) / Arnaud Vasseur (FRA) 32 points.
12th Red Bill II (FRA): Dominique Pichon (FRA) / David Mirabel (FRA) 29 points.
by Extreme Sailing Series™