Extremely Extreme

Extremely Extreme

three days of fast and furious action in the iShares Cup, in Hyères,
France, newcomers Alinghi came out on top.

Day 1 saw just three short, sharp windward-leeward races in over 20 knots,
with no fifth men onboard due to the conditions. Even so, only four skippers
opted to reduce sail area for the first race.

In race three, TeamOrigin tried to dive between Oman and Alinghi on the
approach to the gate, buried bow and capsized. Rob Greenhalgh said, “Basically
we would have piled straight into the back of Oman Sail, so were forced
to go around their transom just to avoid a crash; we rounded up, stuck
the nose in and over we went.” Shirley Robertson, winner of the
Lugano event, had a breakage and trailed in last, having had to learn
how to race with just one rudder.

Day 2 was just a bit less windy, but with 9 races run there was plenty
of action, including crashes and near capsizes. The most spectacular by
far was Tommy Hilfiger, which pitch poled in a bear away, just off the
breakwater, literally standing the boat on its nose before somehow skewing
round and landing the right way up! There was disappointment for Oman,
which crashed into the back of Hilfiger and broke the bowsprit.

Day 3 again started in gusty 20 knot conditions that saw several boats
narrowly avoiding a capsize. The 18th and last race of the event was set
for a spectacular finale, with a finish line just yards from the crowd
of spectators on the breakwater. With just a dozen points separating the
leaders, Alinghi & TeamOrigin, and the scores counting for double
there was all to play for. Origin led the fleet all the way round, with
Alinghi back in sixth, but as the fleet gybed up the shore Alinghi held
the line close into the rocks, overtaking two boats right at the finish
to win the overall event. More great pix