After the drama and action-packed first four days of Act 5 from Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, the breezy conditions that cart-wheeled the Extreme 40 Aberdeen Asset Management yesterday, eased off at the halfway stage of the UK round of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series.
The British Aberdeen Asset Managemen
t team headed up by Olympic 49er sailor, John Pink, did a great job overnight to get their Extreme 40 'race ready' for today, replacing the 62ft rig with a spare mast. The more benign north-westerly conditions allowed the full fleet (minus Artemis Racing
who have been unable to repair their damage incurred in the collision on Sunday) to race together on the stadium course set off Egypt Point, right along the shoreline in front of the crowds.
The racing started with a round of one-on-one speed duels before the 11 teams lined up to race as one fleet for the first time since day one. It was a case of playing the shifts, finding the best patches of pressure out of the 6-8 knots of breeze, and keeping out of the adverse tide on the upwind legs, tacking as close into shore as they dared. For Sidney Gavignet's Oman Air
, they dared too much and went aground in the final race right in front of the Race Village. Crew man David (Freddie) Carr leapt into the water to manhandle the Extreme 40 off the beach.
After the seven races, including five full-fleet races, it is The Wave, Muscat
skippered by Leigh McMillan who has taken over the lead at the top of the overall leaderboard from his friend and rival Paul Campbell-James at the helm of Luna Rossa
"Today it opened up an opportunity to get some proper full fleet racing in with some light winds so we really wanted to take full advantage of that and I think we did a pretty good job,"
said Campbell-James. "The tide was absolutely ripping and I think that caught a few people out in the beginning. It was so much more trickier conditions, more frustrating at times, but it was a good day for us.
" McMillan who was born on the Isle of Wight made the best use of his 'home' advantage but only has a very slim lead ahead the French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Max Sirena's Luna Rossa in third. "We are still very much in the game,"
commented Pennec. "We have fought hard over the last three days to add one or two points over the competition…and I think that's going to be the case until the end."
The Swiss team headed up by Tanguy Cariou with two-times Series runner up Yann Guichard on the helm, had a stronger day winning the final race, elevating them to 4th overall, up two places in the standings from yesterday. Britain's Ian Williams on Team GAC Pindar
will be annoyed to have dropped a place in the standings after scoring a win in the second fleet race, the team could do no better than 8th in the remaining races. Roman Hagara's team on Red Bull Extreme Sailing
are lying in 6th place on 86 points, only 3 points ahead of Oman Air
who enjoyed a second race win of Act 5 in the penultimate race today. Adam Beashel's team on Emirates Team New Zealand
is not having the regatta they would have hoped for so far. Snagging the top mark in the first fleet race of the day, relegated them to the back of the fleet by the time they freed the mark, and the Kiwi's best result of the day was a 5th place leaving them in 9th overall, 8 points behind the Italian team on Niceforyou
Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Current overall standings (provisional) after 23 races, Day 4 (9.8.11)
Position / Team / Skipper / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan 118 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec 114.4 points*
3rd Luna Rossa (ITA) Max Sirena 114 points
4th Alinghi (SUI) Tanguy Cariou 99 points
5th Team GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams 89 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) Roman Hagara 86 points
7th Oman Air (OMA, Sidney Gavignet 83 points
8th Niceforyou (ITA) Alberto Barovier 66 points
9th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Adam Beashel 58 points
10th Aberdeen Asset Management (GBR) John Pink 58 points
11th Team Extreme (EUR) Roland Gaebler 48 points
12th Artemis Racing (SWE) Santiago Lange 21 points
For further information about Act 5 in Cowes, log on to www.extremesailingseries.com