The Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 3 in Istanbul went right down to the wire.
Three boats were in strong contention going into the final double points race. Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand trailed Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing by just five points and Pierre Pennec’s team by three - just three places between third and first with double points up for grabs.
The pressure was on and Barker kept his nerve to steer the Kiwis to a convincing race win. They then had an agonising wait only to see Artemis Racing, climb up to third place on the final gybe of the final downwind leg to win Act 3 by one point by the smallest of margins - one point out of 307.
Terry Hutchinson was estatic with his team's first victory. 'We knew around the last lap that we had one opportunity and we needed to pass one boat to win the regatta and we passed one boat. I jumped up to the first spreader when I heard Seb say that we had won the regatta!' explained Hutchinson. 'I can’t say enough about how great the guys are on the job. I’m over the top about how we sailed and how we handled ourselves on the boat in really tough conditions. I hate losing with an absolute passion but these moments make it all worth it.' Pennec’s team finished the race in seventh to complete the podium here in Istanbul, but are compensated by retaining the overall lead in the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series championship - but also by just one point.
Act 3 has been another ‘stand-out’ event in terms of its location in the bustling centre of Istanbul, home to 13 million on the boundary between Asia and Europe. The first three days delivered challenging and gusty conditions for the 11 Extreme 40 teams, racing on the limit, over the short courses laid out on the Halic estuary. The most dramatic moment came in the fourth race of day 3 when Alinghi careered into the side of Team Extreme, throwing a crewman from each boat into the water. The impact was heard clearly in the race village 500m away, and Team Extreme left with an un-repairable gaping hole in their port hull. A total of 43 races were staged over the five days, a record number for the circuit.
Today the race village was buzzing with VIPs and the public. Ten races were staged on the final day with Emirates Team New Zealand keeping their grip at the top of the overall rankings whilst Artemis Racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild fought to stay in touch. Artemis Racing’s perseverance paid off and by the eighth race went into the overall lead but it was very nearly lost in the very final race. An incredible and emotional finish for this team who are new to the Extreme Sailing Series circuit this year.
The Wave, Muscat skippered by the youngest helm on the circuit Torvar Mirsky, had a great battle with Max Sirena’s Luna Rossa, helmed by Britain’s Paul Campbell-James who just happened to skipper The Wave, Muscat to victory last year. Luna Rossa appeared to be in control but in the penultimate race of today Mirsky’s crew went into fifth gear to snatch fourth place. Red Bull Extreme Sailing skipper Roman Hagara plagued by flu, struggled to find his form but the team held it together to claim sixth place overall ahead of the Swiss team Alinghi who did an amazing job to get their Extreme 40 back racing the next day after the dramatic crash with Team Extreme.
Next stop on the nine-venue global tour is Boston – the first time the Extreme Sailing Series has taken in the USA. But first some time for recovery. 'We are looking forward to the next one in Boston,' said Barker. 'In the meantime I’m looking forward to a bit of rest as it feels like I took a bit of a whipping.'
Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 commences in Boston USA 30th June - 4th July.
Extreme Sailing Series Act 3 Istanbul Current overall standings after Day 5 (29.5.11)
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points 1st Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Rodney Ardern / Morgan Trubovich / Julien Cressant 307 points Emirates 2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 306 points 3rd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 296 points 4th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 274 points 5th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 272 points 6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk 254 points 7th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 245 points (ahead on countback) 8th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 245 points 9th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mischa Heemskerk / Jono Macbeth 237 points 10th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari 212 points 11th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Nicholas Heintz 188 points
Overall Standings Extreme Sailing Series 2011 Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 29 points 2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 28 points 3rd Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Rodney Ardern / Morgan Trubovich / Julien Cressant 27 points 4th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 25 points 5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk 23 points 6th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 18 points 7th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 18 points 8th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 11 points 9th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Nicholas Heintz 8 points 10th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari 6 points 11th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mischa Heemskerk / Jono Macbeth 5 points