Sailing’s elder statesman Nick Moloney was spot on about Team Alinghi’s class, as it stretched its reign at the top into day three of the Extreme Sailing Series’ E40 championships at the Marina Bay here on a sweltering Saturday.
Consistency proved to be the Swiss squad’s forte, making sure it never slipped below a lone sixth position, despite winning only two of the day’s seven races.
Realteam and Red Bull had two wins each but never seemed to threaten Alinghi, which stayed clear of its nearest rival by at least a dozen points through the day.
Saturday began with a sailpast by all the boats, each manned by crews who’ve collectively bagged several international titles.
So the claim that this event featured some of the best sailors on the planet proved to be no empty boast, several of them members of squads that have won the America’s Cup or are world or Olympic champions in various classes.
Alinghi seemed to have reserved its best for the end, signing off the penultimate day in style. Spurred by a superb start, it set off on a starboard tack, swung the boom midway through once and then again. The Swiss quintet circled the left leeward mark, while the rest of the fleet went for the one on the right.
As if following in the footsteps of the leader, the fleet trailed Alinghi thereon, which preferred a port tack on the beat. Alinghi, Realteam and Red Bull rounded the first windward buoy on the left and in that order. It was status quo on the second run, it’s completion again finding the trio circling the inflatable on the left.
On the second upwind leg, it was literally smooth sailing for the Swiss side as it separated itself from the rest even further.
On the concluding but short downwind section, the seasoned side streaked to the finish line with the speed of a motor boat. All the day’s races got off to downwind starts, some featuring one or two loops, depending on wind velocities.
The course came in for changes too with wind shifts calling the shots.
1. Alinghi, 178 points (Switzerland); 2. Red Bull, 151 (Austria); 3. The Wave, 145 (Muscat).