LOS CABOS (MEXICO) – With skipper Hagara and his Olympic partner Hans Peter Steinacher (mainsheet/tactician) leading three young guns, Red Bull Sailing faced the sport’s top teams at the Extreme Sailing Series finale in Los Cabos: Not only were SAP Extreme Sailing, Oman Air and two-time America’s Cup winner Alinghi desperate to take the title, but INEOS Team UK had called in America’s Cup skipper and four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Sir Ben Ainslie to helm their GC32. Red Bull Sailing, however, never gave the Brits a chance, starting the regatta with a four-race winning streak. In front of thousands of spectators, the battle for the regatta triumph came down to Red Bull Sailing and Alinghi, and it was decided only as the sun set over the Pacific, when the Swiss team took the win in the double points final race. Red Bull Sailing accumulated eight podiums across 12 races, including five race wins, to leapfrog over INEOS Team UK and earn fourth overall for the second season in a row.
“It took us a while to put together the right formula this season, but we’ve found it, and I’m very happy of how our young team handled the boat here, with unstable winds and against opponents who are truly world-class,” said Steinacher, who lifted the Red Bull Sailing to success when he and Hagara returned on-board after coaching off the boat in many of the 2018 acts. “With this kind of momentum, I hate to see the season end!”
Joining them on the Red Bull Sailing GC32 were Rhys Mara of Australia, Dan Morris of the USA, and the youngest member of the team, 22-year-old Micah Wilkinson of New Zealand. Wilkinson won the Red Bull Foiling Generation World Final in 2016 and the Flying Phantom Series of the Extreme Sailing Series in 2017; earned the podium in the 2017 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup; and is currently conducting a campaign for the 2020 Olympics.
“This was only my second regatta on the GC32, and I just keep learning,” said an elated Wilkinson. “Roman and Hans Peter did an amazing job on the starts and tactics, and it was incredible to take a podium with this team – and to race against sailors who are the best at what they do.”
The Extreme Sailing Series calendar for 2019 will be announced in late December 2018.
Final result Extreme Sailing Series Act 7, Los Cabos, Mexico (12 races): 1. Alinghi (SUI) 141 points, 2. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 130 pts, 3. Oman Air (OMA) 126 pts, 4. SAP Extreme Sailing (DEN) 123 pts, 5. INEOS Team UK (GBR) 110 pts, 6. US Team Extreme (USA) 97 pts, 7. Team Mexico (MEX) 92 pts
Final standings Extreme Sailing Series 2018: 1. Alinghi (SUI) 92 points, 2. Oman Air (OMA) 83 pts, 3. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 83 pts, 4. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 72 pts, 5. INEOS Team UK (GBR) 70 pts, 6. Team Mexico (MEX) 56 pts
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