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Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Cascais Day 1: Brits bring their A game

by Extreme Sailing Series 5 Jul 2018 13:17 PDT 5-8 July 2018
Extreme Sailing Series Act 4, Cascais 2018 - Day 1 - INEOS Rebels UK © Lloyd Images

Taking an impressive five podium finishes in the day's eight races, the Brits meant business on the first day of the Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Cascais.

Big breeze of up to 16 knots paired with flat water offered up perfect foiling conditions, as INEOS Rebels UK shot around the racecourse at speed, closing the day on the podium in third.

Having taken some time to reflect on their performance in Act 3, Barcelona, the British squad made a few changes to their set up ahead of Cascais, and they certainly saw results.

"We made some good choices today," said a pleased Will Alloway, the team's skipper. "The breeze built throughout the afternoon, so crew fitness was really key to keeping these boats moving fast. Our boat handling was good and we made some decent gains."

It was no surprise, though, that it was the Swiss who took the top spot in the Cascais opener, having demonstrated masterful sailing throughout the Series so far. Arnaud Psarofaghis and his crew sailed Alinghi to victory as they foiled into first place in four races, with podium finishes in all but one of the others.

"It was a very good day," said Yves Detrey, bowman for the team. "I think it's going to be important to be focused for the next few days. We need to make sure we don't overdo it, and if we ever fall behind, we know we can always come back."

Alinghi hit the top speed of the day, flying downwind at 30.2kts, an insight provided by SAP.

Team Oman Air finished ahead of INEOS Rebels UK, putting in a repeat performance in Cascais, following their second place finish in June's Barcelona Act. The team's skipper, Phil Robertson, described the conditions on the water.

"Shifty, puffy, flat water, glamour," he said with a grin. "It was pretty cool really, great conditions for this type of racing."

With challenging, shifty breeze that saw big gusts propel the boats around the bay, it was a baptism of fire for Team Portugal. The grassroots team of predominantly youth sailors from Lisbon and the Algarve had never before sailed their GC32 competitively. Mentored by Portuguese professional sailor, Luís Brito, and bolstered by experienced Series regular, Adam Piggott, the team tackled the tricky course with determination, finishing the day with 51 points.

"It was a hard day," admitted Brito. "The team is young and new to the circuit. We have a lot of work and a lot of learning to do out there."

It wasn't such a good day at the office for SAP Extreme Sailing Team. Despite entering Act 4, Cascais, tied on points with Alinghi, the Danish squad disappointingly found themselves towards the back of the fleet on two separate occasions, costing them dearly in the overall Act rankings. They finished the day in fourth place.

The Flying Phantom Series also took place today in Cascais, prior to the GC32 racing. Chased closely by Team France Jeune, it was Idreva Zephyr Foiling who took the top spot.

"It was a very good day with sun and wind," said a happy Charles Hainneville, helm for the team. "It was perfect for us and we took five wins out of six. It's only the first day though, so we'll have to see what happens."

The Flying Phantoms will continue racing in front of Clube Naval de Cascais from 10:00 UTC+1 tomorrow. GC32 racing is scheduled to commence at 14:00 UTC+1. All the action can be followed on the Extreme Sailing Series LIVE blog.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2018 Act 4, Cascais Standings after Day One: 1st Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey: 87 points
2nd Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Stewart Dodson, Nasser Al Mashari: 81 pts
3rd INEOS Rebels UK (GBR) Will Alloway, Leigh McMillan, Oli Greber, Adam Kay, Mark Spearman: 79 pts
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Adam Minoprio, Julius Hallström, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason: 77 pts
5th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Ed Powys, Neil Hunter, Dan Morris, Rhys Mara: 66 pts
6th Team México (MEX) Erik Brockmann, Tom Buggy, Alex Higby, Tom Phipps, Danel Belausteguigoitia Fierro: 63 pts
7th Team Portugal (POR) Luís Brito, Henrique Brites, Adam Piggott, Martin Evans, Bernardo Loureiro, João Assoreira: 51 pts

Flying Phantom Series Act 4, Cascais standings after Day One: (six races)

1st Idreva Zephyr Foiling (FRA) Charles Hainneville, Thibault Julien: 116 pts
2nd Team France Jeune (FRA) Morgan Lagravière, Manon Audinet: 111 pts
3rd UON (POR) José Cladeira, Helder Basilio: 106 pts
4th Culture Foil (FRA) Nicolas Ferellec, Théo Constance: 103 pts
5th Flying Frogs (FRA) Pierre Le Clainche, Arnaud Vasseur: 95 pts
6th EVO Visian ICL (GER) Raphael Neuhann, Elias Neuhann: 93 pts
7th Masterlan (CZE) David Krizek, Milan Harmacek: 90 pts

Team Oman Air make their opening bid at Extreme Sailing Series Cascais (from Oman Sail)

The Oman Air team are on track to climb the Extreme Sailing Series season leaderboard after finishing the first day of the latest Act in Portugal in second place.

On a day that saw gusty conditions in Cascais with the seven-strong fleet of GC32 foiling catamarans hitting top speeds of around 30 knots, Oman Air emerged from the close competition with six podium finishes in the eight races held.

The opening phase of the four-day regatta saw the Oman Air team of Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Stewart Dodson and Nasser Al Mashari on 81 points, six behind leaders Alinghi but clear ahead of INEOS Rebels UK and long-term rivals SAP Extreme Sailing Team.

And the Portuguese venue west of Lisbon delivered conditions that delighted the Oman Air crew, and their New Zealand skipper Robertson in particular.

"It was really nice, a perfect temperature with flat water with awesome foiling and plenty of breeze, and you couldn't ask more of a location that it gives you all out racing," he said.

"It was a pretty fruity day to be honest, it got pretty exciting at times. All in all, we sailed really well as a team and we were really happy with our performance.

"It was the kind of day when little errors could be very costly, and we didn't make too many!"

And he added: "If there is more of this tomorrow we will be more than happy – and it looks like the breeze is going to stay in place."

The crew went to Cascais knowing that a win could see them go top of the Extreme Sailing Series table, overhauling current joint leaders Alinghi and SAP who are just a single point ahead.

"We took a third place in Muscat in March at the beginning of the season, and then we were second in both Italy and Barcelona," said Al Mashari, Oman Air bowman.

"All the crew have come to Portugal with the aim of earning a win here, which is right in the middle of the Extreme season. If we can do that we could leave here in the lead."

Hosted by the Clube Naval de Cascais as part of its 80thbirthday celebrations, racing continues in Portugal for another three days, concluding on Sunday 8 July.

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