Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand clinched victory at Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in an epic showdown as the circuit made a very successful USA debut.
The team was one of two entered team in the 2013 America's Cup, and along with Artemis Racing, they will come together in Cascais Portugal in the first of the America's Cup World Series regattas in early August.
As the country celebrated Independence Day, American Terry Hutchinson on board Artemis Racing went in to the final race with an eight point lead after heading the leaderboard for most of the past five days – but lost in the final leg of the final race of the final day. An enthralled US non-sailing public turned out in spades to watch up close what was probably one of the biggest ever on-site American audiences for a sailing event, estimated at 55,000 over the five days. The Stadium concept developed for the Extreme Sailing Series certainly engaged a largely non-sailing audience in Boston.
In a finale that could have been written by a Hollywood scriptwriter (but wasn’t!), Emirates Team New Zealand had a blinding start, taking the lead once from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, only to lose it after painfully stalling in a tack on the final beat. Until this point, despite having to duck most of the fleet on the start line, Hutchinson had managed to stay inside the crucial four places behind Barker which were necessary to take overall victory. On the final beat, however, just one tactical choice decided it, with the right-hand side of the course for once not paying for the American, and as they approached the final top mark they were passed by four boats and scored an eighth place. A rare occurrence for Hutchinson, destroying his dream of winning on his home turf with Emirates Team New Zealand taking overall victory by four points on a total of 293 after 37 races.
An emotional and disappointed Hutchinson shared his thoughts on the podium in front of his fans: 'I said yesterday there is only one race you need to be in the lead for and its the most important one,' said Terry. 'We had a winning combination coming into the leeward mark going up the right-hand side and the breeze went hard left so we lost four boats up the last beat. All we can do is congratulate Emirates Team New Zealand. They hung tough for the whole regatta and sorry to the fans of Boston as it would have been great a good Independence Day finisher.'
For Emirates Team New Zealand the team were ecstatic to win their first ever Extreme Sailing Series event: 'The sailing has been very challenging' said Dean. 'Artemis Racing showed us the way the whole week but the racing here was so tight, with potentially four boats able to take the title going in to the final race. It’s never over until it’s over. We had a really tight finish with Artemis in Istanbul and its nice to come out on the right side of this one. Boston has been great, we love the city and have really enjoyed our time here.'
Leigh McMillan and the crew of The Wave, Muscat completed the podium in third place, exceeding their own expectations in McMillan’s recent return to the circuit: 'I was jumping up and down and shouting when we crossed the finishing line,' said a jubilant Leigh. 'It was a very good celebration amongst the team and it meant a lot for us. We never felt that we had a lot of breaks but we worked really hard through the week so it’s fair to say that the guys carried me through the week as I had my head down.'
Luna Rossa, the winner of Act 2 in Qingdao, China, got back into the frame over the last two days of the five-day event and were in contention for the podium but it was not be the Italian’s turn this time, finishing in fourth place overall ahead of the all-French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild by a mere two points.
Alinghi came back strongly in Act 4 to climb from ninth on the opening day to finish sixth overall ahead by just three points of Red Bull Extreme Sailing. This was one of the tightest overall leaderboards in the history of the event, with the top seven teams all vying for podium positions on the final day.
Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series at Fan Pier in Boston has been a huge success with the US crowds turning out in force to be enjoy the Extreme Sailing Series and 49er racing, won by Jonathan Goldsberry and Charlie Smythe, and the awesome stunts by the Red Bull Air Force skydivers. Boston host venue partner, the Fallon Company CEO & President, Joe Fallon, pulled out all the stops: 'I am thrilled about the response we have had from everyone,' said Joe. 'So many people have told me – I hope everyone comes back for the action next year.' The official charity, Courageous Sailing, and the strong contingent of volunteers supported the event with huge enthusiasm.
An additional bonus for Emirates Team New Zealand is that they have also taken over the 2011 overall series lead from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.
Next stop on the international nine-stop Extreme Sailing Series circuit is the UK, at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week in just four week's time.
The Kiwi team has a lot to celebrate tonight and the whole of Boston and the USA will be joining them!
Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 at Fan Pier Boston, USA Current overall standings after 37 races, Day 5 (4.7.11)
Position / Team / Skipper and crew / Points 1st Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Adam Beashel / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 293 points 2nd Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Julien Cressant 289 points 3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 269 points 4th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 262 points 5th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 260 points 6th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 251 points 7th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk 248 points 8th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 198 points 9th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari 172 points 10th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth 137 points 11th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Bob Merrick 126 points
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