4th place, Act 4, 4th overall
Very light conditions started the final day of Act 4 and the Race officer postponed the start of race 17 until the Wind stabilized. When the starting gun finally went off the race officer annonounced it was the final race, hence the medal race – double points scores.
SAP Extreme Sailing Team took off at the starting line and grabbed an early lead battling out in front with Sail Portugal. At the first mark the team had to avoid collision and being on port tack they were forced to take two costly tacks at the top mark and suddenly the gap to the fleet had diminished. After a chaotic rounding with a lot of the fleet catching up, the team came out on 4th place, a position they managed to hold for the rest of the race.
Unfortunately, Red Bull Racing came in at 2nd place in last race and managed to climb up the ranks and tie for 3rd place on the final scoreboard – each with 166 points – equalizing with SAP Extreme Sailing Team. To make things worse, race director Phil Lawrence annonounced that Red Bull would take 3rd place – hence the podium spot – due to a better individual placing series over the SAP Extreme Sailing Team. Needless to say that it was a gut wrenching blow decided by one race, but thats life as a maritime warrior.
“It’s one of those situations that will be rewinded a lot of times the next couple of days and then we will mentally be on for Act 5…” said Rasmus Køstner shortly after returning to the dock and followed up “…but as it has almost been the standard on the Elbe, we suddenly had a 15 degree header and from being clear ahead, we suddenly had to change plans and avoid Sail Portugal with the right of way and then we got into a series of moves. There were no other way of tackling that situation, unfortunately. Thats how it goes sometimes”.
Jes Gram-Hansen has made no secret of Hamburg being a challenging venue and had a snappy comment after last race: “The spectators can’t possibly complain about the thrill and entertainment value in Hamburg. We been through the whole register of drama, close racing, tight scores and one of the most spectator friendly venues on the Series. I hope they’re not dissapointed about the lack of capsizing… But they got everything else”.
There was also drama on top of the board where Oman Air faught of a hard charge from Alinghi, managing to stay on top by a single point. See the scoreboard here…