Extreme Sailing Series™, Cardiff 2015

Eight elite international teams battled it out over four days on a typically tricky Cardiff course in another thrilling Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™.

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Land Rover is the main partner of the Extreme Sailing Series™, endorsed by the International Sailing Federation. It is contested by a fleet of Extreme 40 catamarans at iconic venues around the world. Find out more information here.

The Extreme Sailing Series™ lived up to its name during Act 4, as almost 60,000 Cardiff spectators saw some of the most exciting and demanding racing of the year.

The eight-strong fleet battled to keep control in gusts of up to 30 knots, using all their skill to avoid collisions and capsizes. 

Day 1

The first day consisted of ten short sprint races, and The Wave, Muscat team finished with an 11-point lead.

However, it didn’t all go to plan for The Wave, who were last year’s Extreme Sailing Series™ runners up. A collision with SAP Extreme Sailing Team in the third race resulted in serious damage to their tiller bar, causing the team to limp back to the pit lane for repairs. The setbacks seemed to spur the The Wave on, however, as they fought back to record two wins and a third-placed finish in the final three races.

The ESS Act 4 Cardiff start line, The Wave, Muscat, and Oman Air

“It was quite tricky to get into the rhythm, but we managed to come out on top… just”

The Wave, Muscat skipper and British Olympian Leigh McMillan.

Eleven points behind The Wave, Muscat in second place, Oman Air had an outstanding day, with podium finishes in eight out of the ten races.  

Day 2

Cardiff offered blue skies and breezy, beautiful conditions on Day Two as eight elite-level Extreme 40 teams completed seven tough races.

Maintaining their first-place position with four race wins and two podiums finishes out of a possible seven, The Wave, Muscat dominated the day. Leigh McMillan and his experienced crew were able to significantly extend their lead at the top of the overnight leaderboard to 21 points. 

Meanwhile, despite struggling throughout the day, current Extreme Sailing Series leaders SAP Extreme Sailing managed to add 55 points to their score to put them in second place, whilst British Olympian and Series veteran Chris Draper led his GAC Pinder team up the rankings into third place for Act 4.

The Wave, Muscat team in action

Day 3

The action continued in earnest on the third day, and with all the teams struggling with the conditions, there was no runaway leader. Still, there were significant developments on the league table: act leaders The Wave, Muscat had their lead cut to 15 points by SAP Extreme Sailing, as they could only manage 57 points to the challengers’ 63 on the day. 

SAP Extreme Sailing co-skipper Rasmus Køstner explained: “We stepped it up. The starts weren’t perfect but we still managed to catch some points.”

By contrast, Red Bull Sailing were perhaps the team of the day, with three wins lifting them past GAC Pindar into third going into the final day’s racing. 

Just 27 points separated the top three going into the fourth and final day and with similarly troubling conditions forecast, the Act was very much all to play for. 

"We stepped it up. The starts weren’t perfect but we still managed to catch some points"

SAP Extreme Sailing co-skipper Rasmus Køstner

Day 4 (Final Day)

Uncertain conditions were forecast for Day Four, and with just 27 points separating the top three teams going into the fourth and final day, everything was still to play for.

But it was The Wave, Muscat who held their nerve on the final day, posting five podium finishes to wrap up the Act win after a gruelling 32 races in total. 

The Wave, Muscat were looking to move top in the overall Extreme Sailing Series™ 2015 standings, and a bold move from their experienced crew in the final race helped push SAP Extreme Sailing into second place in Cardiff. Red Bull Sailing were the ones to capitalise, barely putting a foot wrong all day to record an impressive four race wins to snatch second. 

The Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 podium finishers

As the dust settled on another exhilarating Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™, The Wave, Muscat team were able to reflect with pride on their performance, which saw them rise to the top of the Series table. 

Just three points now separate the top three, with the Wave, Muscat, one point ahead of SAP Extreme Sailing, who are in turn two points ahead of Red Bull Sailing. 

For full standings and results, visit the Extreme Sailing Series™ website.

Land Rover Above and Beyond Award

Home team GAC Pindar’s fourth place Act finish – their best this year – helped them receive the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award, to reward their teamwork and performance under pressure. 

Land Rover Above and Beyond award winners GAC Pindar