Anna Tunnicliffe: Alinghi finishes second - Extreme Sailing Series

The Extreme Sailing. Act 5. Cardiff. Wales. Alinghi (SUI), Skipppered by Morgan Larson (USA) with Tactician Anna Tunnicliffe, Mainsail Trimmer Pierre-Yvew Jorand (SUI), Headsail Trimmer Nils Frei (SUI) and Bowman Yves Detrey (SUI)
© Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series
These days, twice Rolex Sailor of the Year and Olympic Gold medalist, Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) alternates between sailing aboard Alinghi in the Extreme Sailing Series, and chasing a serious ranking in the world of CrossFit.

She reports in from Cardiff, Wales after Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series, sailing as tactician aboard Alinghi.

August 26, 2014, Cardiff, UK

We finished second in Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series, and despite losing the top spot in the event to our rivals, The Wave, Muskat, we are still leading the overall standings.

A tricky wet day of sailing Monday led to an exciting finish between three teams.

The Extreme Sailing. Act 5. Cardiff. Wales. Alinghi (SUI) Tactician Anna Tunnicliffe, Credit - Lloyd Images
© Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

The day started very well for us with a win in the first race and a 3rd in the second race. From there, it wasn't that the day went terrible, it just started to feel more and more difficult. We had some good races and some not so great ones. The wind direction was constantly changing which made for a challenging job for the race committee, but they were able to knock out the races very well, and races which were, for the most part, very fair.

The day started in rain and breeze around 7-8 knots, and after a couple races, the rain stopped, and the wind started to build up just a little and swing to the right. By the time we had about 20 minutes left for racing the course needed to be completely reset and it looked potentially windy. As the course was being reset, we were ordered to put a reef in. Unfortunately for us this took some valuable racing time away which meant we were only going to have one race left in the event. The race would be double points, which meant that it would be close, but we didn't know exactly what the score was.

The Extreme Sailing. Act 5. Cardiff. Wales. Alinghi (SUI), Skipppered by Morgan Larson (USA) with Tactician Anna Tunnicliffe, Mainsail Trimmer Pierre-Yvew Jorand (SUI), Headsail Trimmer Nils Frei (SUI) and Bowman Yves Detrey (SUI) Credit - Lloyd Images
© Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

They eventually announced the scores over the radio, 'The Wave Muskat 207 points, JP Morgan BAR 201 points, Alinghi 201 points...' So we were in third, tied for second and only 6 points out of first. The fourth place boat couldn't catch any of us so it was a three way battle for the top of the podium.

Our initial plan was to start midline on the racing start, but we ended up at the pin boat, The Wave on our hip and BAR on their hip. None of us were laying the first mark so we were all going to have to tack. Unfortunately, just when we didn't really need it, we were quite fast and got ourselves well out ahead, but this just meant that we had put ourselves in a position of being unable to tack.

As we approached the mark, the boats that had started up the line were laying and beginning to round. BAR tacked off The Wave's hip about three lengths from the port lay line. The Wave, however, held us so we crossed through the path of the rounding boats. We now had to tack, bear away to make the mark and miss all the boats that were rounding....well we didn't. We ended up above the mark on the wrong side and then we had a boat, BAR, hitting the side of us. It was not the situation we needed. At the same time as BAR hitting us, The Wave had hit him, so all three podium boats were tangled on each other while the fleet sailed away.

The Extreme Sailing. Act 5. Cardiff. Wales. Alinghi (SUI) Tactician Anna Tunnicliffe,
© Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

When everything had settled, there was a four boat race at the back with SAP joining the three of us. BAR was the lead boat of the four of us, then SAP, us, then The Wave as they were given a penalty for hitting BAR. We had to do quick math to figure out who was going to finish where if we stayed in this combination and then decided that really we had to pass BAR and work on getting second place to minimize The Wave's gains on us in the overall standings. SAP did a great job on the next leg of the race catching up to BAR and as they rolled over the top of them, it slowed them enough to allow us to close the gap and eventually get the pass on them at the mark. From there we just had to stay ahead of BAR and if something drastic happened in front of us in the fleet then we could make a move, but I think by the time we turned onto the last leg of the race, most of the fleet had already crossed the finish line.

So as we coasted across the finish line, we had mixed feelings. We were happy we had salvaged second place, but disappointed that we had lost the Act. When we found out our scores, we had lost by three points. And there are plenty of times where we could look back and find three points on each day.

The Extreme Sailing. Act 5. Cardiff. Wales. Alinghi (SUI), Skipppered by Morgan Larson (USA) Credit - Lloyd Images
© Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

There was a big lesson to be learned and it's something we have to remember in the final three Acts...every point from every race in the regatta counts! Don't risk too much early on just to go for a gain on two boats. If we are in a good position, stay in it, don't chance a possible gain for a major loss. It's a simple lesson, and one we should know, one that we actually start saying on board, but usually on day 3 and 4. Now it needs to be said on day 1!

After racing we were able to pull the boat out and take the mast down to make the guys job today easier as Morgan and I have left. We both had early flights out of London so we had to get a car at 3:45am (sooooo early!!). But we were able to take a little nap so it wasn't too bad. We finished the night with a great team dinner!

After 5 Acts, we are still leading the series by two points heading into the next Act in Istanbul. Stu is going to be back on board for that act then I rejoin the team again for the penultimate Act in Nice, FRA in October.

The Extreme Sailing. Act 5. Cardiff. Wales. Alinghi (SUI), Skipppered by Morgan Larson (USA) with Tactician Anna Tunnicliffe, Mainsail Trimmer Pierre-Yvew Jorand (SUI), Headsail Trimmer Nils Frei (SUI) and Bowman Yves Detrey (SUI) Credit - Lloyd Images
© Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

You can check out the scores pictures, videos etc at the regatta website: http://www.extremesailingseries.com.

I would like to thank Alinghi and the team, all the people who turned out to cheer and all the people cheering from afar. And my sponsors listed below.

Sail Hard,

Anna

My sponsors:Inov-8, Skins, NormaTec, SpiderTech, Theromega Sports, RxSmartGear and FitAid.

4D's: Dream;Desire;Dedication;Determination SM
3P's: Passion...Progression…Perfection SM

You can follow Anna on her blog www.annatunnicliffe.com

The Extreme Sailing. Act 5. Cardiff. Wales. Alinghi (SUI), Skipppered by Morgan Larson (USA) with Tactician Anna Tunnicliffe, Mainsail Trimmer Pierre-Yvew Jorand (SUI), Headsail Trimmer Nils Frei (SUI) and Bowman Yves Detrey (SUI) Credit - Lloyd Images
© Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series
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