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Extreme Sailing Series™ Los Cabos: Swiss foiling masters Alinghi crowned victors

by Extreme Sailing Series 2 Dec 2018 21:03 PST 29 November – 2 December, 2018
Extreme Sailing Series™ Los Cabos 2018 - Day Four - Alinghi © Lloyd Images

For the fourth time in their eight-year history of competing in the Extreme Sailing Series™, Swiss team Alinghi took the coveted championship title after a remarkable final in Los Cabos, Mexico. This phenomenal feat makes them the joint most successful team ever to participate in the world-class, globe-trotting foiling circuit, level with former competitor, The Wave, Muscat.

Following ten months of touring around the planet, competing in some of the world's most iconic locations, Ernesto Bertarelli's stand out squad: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Bryan Mettraux and Yves Detrey, closed the grand finale in first place on the double points Act leaderboard – their incredible five Act wins this year cementing them as victors in the overall rankings.

"I'm happy but it's actually relief that I'm feeling now," said an overwhelmed Psarofaghis, co-skipper and helm for the team. "I was a bit stressed with all the pressure mounting for an end of season win. The team did a perfect job and made it so easy for me to sail with them. The trick is to stay calm throughout the event. To win the season and to win the last Act, it's the perfect way to finish the year."

Alinghi's shore team also won the award for the best shore crew of the season, a new prize created by Extreme Sailing Series logistics partner, WTC Logistics.

For last year's Series champions, SAP Extreme Sailing Team, the Los Cabos Act was a bitter pill to swallow. Despite their talented crew of some of the world's best sailors, including Kiwi match racing champion Adam Minoprio, the Danish squad sailed inconsistently in Mexico.

As their Act scoresheet became littered with low results, the gap grew between them and Alinghi in the overall rankings; the Danes' hopes of securing a second consecutive Series win sailing off with the Swiss into the distance.

They eventually finished the Act in fourth, resulting in a third place finish overall behind Phil Robertson's Team Oman Air.

"We're pretty disappointed," admitted helm Minoprio. "We didn't give ourselves many chances this regatta, and we didn't sail our best as a team. I didn't get us off the start line very well and it showed in our results. We could blame it on the light wind but really we just didn't sail well. Alinghi were consistent as usual. They meant business and so did Oman Air. They just left us scraping our way through the middle of the fleet."

SAP Extreme Sailing Team did, however, win the Zhik Speed Machine Trophy for the fastest speed achieved in the final Act of the season - an insight provided by Series technical partner, SAP.

Red Bull Sailing Team, on the other hand, consistently sailed first-rate races throughout the Los Cabos competition, closing the event on the Act podium in second. Their tumultuous year of back to back obstacles, including collisions, breakages and crew changes, has prevented them from securing a podium until this point, making this a momentous occasion for the Austrian team.

"This result is the best one we've had all year," said an elated Hans Peter Steinacher, the team's double Olympic gold medallist mainsail trimmer. "We're very happy with second place in the Act. Alinghi were so calm and cool in the last race. They were enjoying everything because they knew they'd won overall. We had a good fight with Oman Air and it went our way - we're very pleased."

Los Cabos rounds off an exceptional twelfth year of the Series that captivated audiences all over the world. Visiting seven countries across three continents, the ultimate Stadium Racing championship once again delivered a truly unique, unparalleled sailing experience for fans and teams alike.

For more information on the Extreme Sailing Series, please visit their website.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2018 Los Cabos Overall Results: (12 races)

1st, Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey: 141pts
2nd, Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Dan Morris, Rhys Mara, Micah Wilkinson: 130pts
3rd, Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Stewart Dodson, Nasser Al Mashari: 126pts
4th, SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Adam Minoprio, Julius Hallström, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason: 123pts
5th, INEOS Rebels UK (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, Oli Greber, Mark Spearman, Joey Newton: 110pts
6th, US Team Extreme (USA) Taylor Canfield, Riley Gibbs, Matt Woodworth, Scott Ewing, Brian Porter: 97pts
7th, Team México (MEX) Erik Brockmann, Tom Buggy, Alex Higby, Tom Phipps, Yanic Gentry: 92pts

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2018 Overall Standings:

1st, Alinghi (SUI) 92pts
2nd, Oman Air (OMA) 83pts
3rd, SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 83pts
4th, Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 72pts
5th, INEOS Rebels UK (GBR) 70pts
6th, Team México (MEX) 56pts

Oman Air team overcomes light wind challenge to earn second place in Extreme Sailing Series season (from Oman Sail)

Team Oman Air have finished the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series as runners-up after a challenging light wind season finale in Mexico.

The lack of a sailing breeze at the Los Cabos venue restricted racing, with only 12 races held over the four days of the deciding event of the campaign.

Having led going into the final day Oman Air slipped back to third place, but crucially were able to finish ahead of season-long rivals SAP Extreme Sailing Team, allowing them to leapfrog the Danish team in the overall season standings.

The Omani crew of skipper Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, Stewart Dodson, James Wierzbowski and Nasser Al Mashari finished the season level with SAP on 83 points, taking second place thanks to their better result in Los Cabos.

The Extreme Sailing Series title went to the Swiss crew on Alinghi, the long-standing season leaders who won again in Mexico – their fifth victory of the year from seven events – to take the trophy with 92 points.

"We didn't win the Act here, but we led for a couple of days which is pretty good," said Greenhalgh, Oman Air's mainsail trimmer.

"It was a brilliant achievement to get in front of SAP as we were a notch behind them in the early part of the season. But we managed to close the gap. To have four days of such light winds is very unusual, so to get second overall was a real achievement for us at the end of the season."

In Los Cabos, Alinghi revelled in the light conditions and pulled out all the stops to win the last three races to top the table ahead of Austria's Red Bull Sailing Team, who had their best result of the year. Oman Air completed the podium thanks to finishing ahead of SAP in fourth.

The Omani boat had headed down to Mexico having won the penultimate Extreme Sailing Series event in San Diego, putting them within striking distance of the Danish team.

"Our main aim in Mexico was to finish the regatta here in front of SAP, as we knew that if we could do that we would be second in the season," said Oman Air's bowman Al Mashari.

"We of course hoped that we might be able to get in front of Alinghi as well, but that was not possible though we tried. They are very, very good in light winds, and they showed that over the four days."

In the final overall standings, Red Bull finished the season in fourth place, ahead of INEOS Rebels UK and Team Mexico.

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