After eight acts in seven countries, at the final stop of the Extreme Sailing Series in Sydney, Australia on Sunday, the Red Bull Sailing Team led by double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher claimed third-place honors for the 2016 season.
Red Bull Sailing – which also includes Hagara’s Olympic partner Hans Peter Steinacher (AUS) as tactician, as well as Stewart Dodson (NZL), Adam Piggott (GBR) and Brad Farrand (NZL) – came to Australia as the only team to have captured a podium in every one of the seven previous acts. The Sydney regatta was a roller coaster for the Austrians, who came back from an early gennaker break to dominate Saturday’s racing against the backdrop of the famed opera house and Harbour Bridge. Red Bull Sailing won Sunday’s penultimate battle, but slipped to fifth in the final race, which was worth double points, leaving them fourth on the Sydney leaderboard, though tied in the points with third-place Oman Air.
“Of course we would have liked to complete the season with a win here in Sydney where Hans Peter and I earned our first Olympic medal back in 2000, but I’m very happy to be on the overall podium again this year,” said Hagara. “We’ve got an exceptional team, and we want to thank all the fans for their support and encouragement. The series moved into the future this season with the introduction of foiling, and it was great to be part of it.”
The 2016 Extreme Sailing Series brought the action right to the public in seven countries, and the historic season marked not just the introduction of the super-light GC32 catamarans – which can reach speeds of almost 40 knots (74 km/h, 46 mph) – but also innovations including a new coastal race and match racing that complement the unique stadium format. Like America’s Cup yachts, the GC32 appears to “fly” as it lifts off the water and rapidly builds speed.
Sydney Final (25 races): 1. Alinghi (SUI) 238 points, 2. SAP Extreme Sailing (DEN) 226, 3. Oman Air (OMA) 215, 4. Red Bull Sailing (AUT) 215, 5. Land Rover BAR (GBR) 193, 6. RNZYS Racing (NZL), 178, 7. Visit Madeira Team Portugal (POR) 177, 8. Team Australia (AUS) 132
Final Overall Ranking Extreme Sailing Series 2016: 1. Alinghi (SUI), 2. Oman Air (OMA), 3. Red Bull Sailing (AUT)