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Extreme Sailing Series : Where East meets West in Istanbul

Less than two weeks after the conclusion of Act 5 Cardiff, presented by Land Rover, the Extreme 40 fleet is due for arrival in Istanbul, where the historic city will play host to the 12 competing international teams. The 100 square mile city, that straddles both Europe and Asia over the Bosphorus Bridge, will become the Series’ temporary residence, 11-14 September. With only three Acts left on the 2014 calendar – in Istanbul, Nice and Sydney – the pressure cooker is close to boiling over as the fleet head into the business end of the season, with 40 points still up for the taking, and less than that separating the top 10 boats. But how has the season been so far?

The Swiss America’s Cup winners Alinghi have showed stunning form all season as the only team to have finished on the podium at every Act, including three Act wins. But the Swiss, who will welcome back Aussie Stuart Pollard in the tactician’s role in Istanbul, haven’t had it all their own way. Helmsman Morgan Larson’s long standing rival Leigh McMillan and the Omani team The Wave, Muscat arguably have more at stake as defending champions who are aiming for a record three consecutive Series titles and are currently within two points of Alinghi on the Series leaderboard. McMillan looked ahead to Istanbul: “For sure Cardiff has given us a boost. The momentum has been with Alinghi all season and it is great to get one back off them and put the pressure back on. Istanbul is going to be interesting, despite racing and winning there in 2012, it is going to be a new venue, so we will have to start with a fresh and open mind for the conditions and what to expect. The prevailing wind was offshore and very gusty. It keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure!”

Jérôme Clerc and Realteam have made the paddock sit up and take notice so far this year; the surprise stars of the season according to the Series’ live broadcast commentator and a former winner of the circuit David Carr. Their consistency over the first five Acts finds them in third place heading into Istanbul, with everything to play for to hold their podium standing, as skipper Clerc explained: “We’ve been working very hard as a team to get there and we are very proud of this accomplishment. In order to keep this position, our plan is to keep things simple. Our team will remain almost the same. We won’t put any unnecessary pressure on ourselves; just keep sailing the way we do and try to improve the areas we have identified after Cardiff. But we prefer not to plan anything and to be ready for everything!”

Another team still very much in the hunt for the podium is Emirates Team New Zealand, despite finishing in an uncharacteristic last place in Cardiff, the Kiwis are in fourth place on the Series leaderboard. The team welcomes back the talented Aussie Glenn Ashby, who brings 14 World Championship titles, across three multihull classes and an Olympic silver medal to the already impressive line up. J.P. Morgan BAR, who are eight points behind the Kiwis in fifth place after their first podium position of the year on their home waters in Cardiff, will also make a change, welcoming back Olympic champion Paul ‘Goody’ Goodison to the pack.

Groupama sailing team will make the most significant crew change in the fleet, with François Morvan taking over the helm and Tanguy Cariou taking the captain´s armband from Franck Cammas, as Cammas continues his path to Rio 2016, competing at the Nacra 17 Worlds. Welcoming Morvan to the team and looking ahead to Istanbul, Cariou commented: “François Morvan is a young sailor with an important background in multihulls, including the Tornado, F18, D35 and MOD70, and he will bring a lot of skills to the team. Istanbul is an iconic venue for the Extreme Sailing Series. Sailing on the Bosphorus will be great challenge, we already look forward for this on Saturday morning. It will be fantastic.”

Many of the teams challenging mid-fleet had their best result in Cardiff, including Red Bull Sailing Team, GAC Pindar and Oman Air, giving them all a real confidence boost before heading into Istanbul. For Oman Air skipper, Rob Greenhalgh, he is hoping his team can go one better then their sixth place in Cardiff. “Istanbul will be very tough, with all the teams constantly improving. Every place will be hard fought. Our aim will be to finish in the top six.”

The fleet will go full pelt from the 11-14 September in a venue that lends itself perfectly to stadium sailing, with racing right in the heart of this iconic city on the Marmara sea, including a morning race on the Bosphorus. For those in the fleet who have raced in Istanbul before, it is one of the highlights on the 2014 calendar, as SAP Extreme Sailing Team’s co-skipper Rasmus Køstner concluded: “Istanbul will be a fantastic race venue. We sailed there the first year of our campaign and loved the racecourse right off the Blue Mosque.”

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6 Istanbul, crew lists
Alinghi (SUI)

Skipper /Helm: Morgan Larson (USA)
Tactician: Stuart Pollard (USA)
Mainsail Trimmer: Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
Headsail Trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)

Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
Skipper/Helm: Dean Barker (NZL)
Floater: Edwin Delaat (NZL)
Mainsail Trimmer: Glenn Ashby (AUS)
Headsail Trimmer: James Dagg (NZL)
Bowman: Jeremy Lomas (NZL)

GAC Pindar (AUS)
Skipper/Helm: Nathan Wilmot (AUS)
Tactician/Mainsail Trimmer: Seve Jarvin (AUS)
Headsail Trimmers: Ed Smyth (AUS) / Troy Tindill (AUS)
Bowman: James Wierzbowski (AUS)

Gazprom Team Russia (RUS)
Skipper/Tactician: Igor Lisovenko (RUS)
Helm: Phil Robertson (NZL)
Mainsail Trimmer: Matt Adams (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Pete Cumming (GBR)
Bowman: Aleksey Kulakov (RUS)

Groupama sailing team (FRA)
Skipper/Tactician: Tanguy Cariou (FRA)
Helm: François Morvan (FRA)
Mainsail Trimmer: Romain Motteau (FRA)
Headsail Trimmer: Thierry Fouchier (FRA)
Bowman: Devan Le Bihan (FRA)

J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR)
Skipper/Helm: Ben Ainslie (GBR)
Floater: Bleddyn Mon (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Paul Goodison (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Nick Hutton (GBR)
Bowman: Matt Cornwell (GBR)

Oman Air (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Kyle Langford (AUS)
Headsail Trimmer: Ted Hackney (AUS)
Bowmen: Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA) /Musab Al Hadi (OMA)

Realteam (SUI)
Skipper/Mainsail Trimmer: Jérôme Clerc
Helm: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Tactician: Bruno Barbarin (FRA)
Headsail Trimmer: Cédric Schmidt (SUI)
Bowman: Thierry Wasem (SUI)

Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Skipper/Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)
Tactician: Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Floater: Stewart Dodson (NZL)
Jib Trimmer: Mark Bulkeley (GBR)
Bowman: Shaun Mason (GBR)

SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Trimmers: Thierry Douillard (FRA)/Christian Kamp (DEN)
Bowman: Brad Farrand (NZL)

TeamTurx (TUR)
Co-Skipper/Helm: Mitch Booth (GBR)
Co-Skipper/Tactician: Edhem Dirvana (TUR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Selim Kakış (TUR)
Headsail Trimmer: Ateş Çinar (TUR)
Bowman: Anıl Berk Baki (TUR)

The Wave, Muscat (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Leigh McMillan (GBR)
Tactician: Sarah Ayton (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Kinley Fowler (NZL)
Bowman: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)

Photo Credit : Lloyd Images

Tags on NauticNews: Extreme Sailing Series, Extreme 40

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