Robertson can’t stop winning – takes out Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 in Barcelona
Oman Air scored their first Act win of 2017 as SAP Extreme Sailing Team rise to the top of the overall Extreme Sailing Series™ scoreboard following a nail-biting finale to Act 4 in Barcelona.
Just ten points separated Extreme Sailing Series heavyweights Oman Air, Red Bull Sailing Team, SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Alinghi going into the final double-points scoring race, leaving victory anything but certain.
However Phil Robertson’s Omani-flagged team sealed fourth-round victory in style, sailing a flawless race to cross the line with a mammoth lead of more than two minutes over closest rivals SAP Extreme Sailing Team.
The crowds lining the shore could hear the cheers coming from Oman Air’s GC32 as the team, last year’s runners up, celebrated topping the podium for the first time this season following a trio of thirds in the previous Acts.
Three wins in six races saw Austria’s Red Bull Sailing Team claim the second podium spot, finishing just six points behind Oman Air, while second in the final race was enough to secure third for the Danish crew of SAP Extreme Sailing Team.
Alinghi’s hopes of a podium finish were quashed when they finished seventh in the final race, forcing the Swiss syndicate to settle for fourth place.
It is the first time the team, co-skippered by Arnaud Psarofaghis, has missed the podium this season following a win in Qingdao and runners-up spots in Muscat and Madeira Islands.
Crucially the results see SAP Extreme Sailing Team move to the top of the overall leaderboard at the halfway mark of the Extreme Sailing Series, tied on 43 points with Alinghi, while Oman Air in third reduce the gap to the leaders to just one point.
“We probably couldn’t have finished in a better way to be honest,” a grinning Oman Air skipper Robertson said. “It was a tough day out here and pretty tricky conditions – pretty light, lumpy and shifty as well. The key again was the starts. When the pressure was on, we delivered.”
Despite moving to the top of the overall standings, SAP Extreme Sailing Team helmsman Adam Minoprio said it was too soon in the season to start celebrating.
“It’s been a tough week for SAP Extreme Sailing Team, and thankfully we did just enough to scrape the podium,” he said. “Yes we’re at the top of the overall leaderboard but we’re only just at the halfway mark of the Series – there’s plenty of racing still to come.”
NZ Extreme Sailing Team finished fifth ahead of Land Rover BAR Academy in sixth. Wildcard crews FNOB Impulse and Team Extreme took seventh and eighth.
Despite not threatening the more seasoned Extreme Sailing Series teams, young FNOB Impulse skipper Jordi Xammar said the experience of competing in the ‘flying’ GC32 was unforgettable.
“It was amazing – we can be very proud of what we did out there,” Xammar said. “It’s been an opportunity we will never forget.”
Barcelona’s debut in the Extreme Sailing Series proved an overriding success, with 22 thrilling races held on the azure waters off the city’s Barceloneta beach in near-perfect conditions.
It was the ideal way to kick start an alliance with Host Venue Partner Fundación Navegación Oceánica de Barcelona (FNOB) that will see the Extreme Sailing Series return to Barcelona for another three years.
In the Flying Phantom Series, which was held prior to GC32 racing, the Austrian crew of Red Bull Sailing Team saw off French teams Cup Legend and Solidaires en Peloton to take the regatta win.
The battle for the Extreme Sailing Series top spot will recommence in Hamburg, Germany, from August 10 to 13, before the global Stadium Racing tour heads to Cardiff, UK, from August 25 to 28.
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Barcelona standings after Day 4, 22 races (23.07.17)
Position / Team / Points
1st Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 233 points.
2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Will Tiller 227 points.
3rd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Adam Minoprio, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason 221 points.
4th Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 214 points.
5th NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) Chris Steele, Graeme Sutherland, Harry Hull, Mike Bullot, Josh Salthouse 191 points.
6th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Rob Bunce, Chris Taylor, Oli Greber, Will Alloway, Adam Kay 190 points.
7th FNOB Impulse (ESP) Jordi Xammar, Joan Cardona, Luis Bugallo, Kevin Cabrera, Florian Trittel 159 points.
8th Team Extreme (ESP) Mitch Booth, Alberto Torné, Jordi Sánchez, Jordi Booth, Tom Buggy 129 points.
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2017 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 43 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) 43 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) 42 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 37 points.
5th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 32 points.
6th NZ Extreme Sailing Team (NZL) 31 points.