Sunday, 23 February 2014

Alinghi win Extreme Sailing Series Singapore but has Ben Ainslie started to roll?

A roller-coaster day finished on a high note for Sir Ben Ainslie and his Extreme 40 crew on JP Morgan BAR after a string of four podium places including two wins, suggested they were getting the hang of things in their first season of the Extreme Sailing Series.

How far can JP Morgan BAR go in their first Extreme season??

The team were reportedly at a low ebb on Saturday night, frustrated by their poor performances in the tricky conditions in Singapore where the sky scrapers surrounding the race course at Marina Bay were causing massive vagaries in the wind speed and direction.

But they knew what they were doing wrong, they said, and were determined to turn things round which following a slow start on Sunday, is what they did, pulling off two wins, a second and third place in the final four races to leave them in a creditable sixth place overall after their first four days of Extreme 40 racing.

Ainslie admitted on Saturday that his team had been off the pace.

“We didn’t really sail very well and struggled to call the wind right. Every part of the course was a bit of a struggle for us but we still learnt throughout the day so while the results weren’t what we wanted we still worked out a few things to improve on our performance longer term.”

The mighty Alinghi!!

All 12 boats returned to the race course for the last day’s racing including Groupama and Aberdeen Singapore, the two boats that had become enmeshed in a dramatic crash on Saturday. Both vessels had been in the boat shed all night being repaired by their shore crews.

Following an action packed contest, it was the experienced Extreme campaigners who have mastered the challenge for consistency who hogged the leading positions with Morgan Larson’s Alinghi emerging as resounding winners and two times Extreme champion Leigh McMillan coming in second despite finishing the first day languishing back in eighth place overall on the leaderboard.

Welcome back Groupama

Dean Barker failed to silence critics over his future as New Zealand’s America’s Cup skipper after a controversial port-starboard incident in the final race in Singapore which dropped Emirates Team New Zealand out of contention for the runners up prize and third place too.

The Kiwi team finished two points behind Ainslie in 7th place which can have done nothing to ease the pain of their humiliating America’s Cup defeat five months ago at the hands of Ainslie’s Oracle USA.

 “It’s the first time we have raced together in five months, and our first time back on the circuit since 2011, and for sure we wanted to get a podium here, but couldn’t get away with it,” he said afterwards.

“We’re still rusty and have to focus our thoughts, but we’ll get there.”
Watch out for The Wave Muscat. They're rollin....!

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