|RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL-(26-3-2006) Team Basilica from Britain wrapped up a triumphant week in the Volvo Extreme 40 Grand Prix series with three podium finishes, to win the Rio trophy after a challenging last day’s racing in Guanabara Bay.
Faced with tricky shifting winds which never rose above ten knots, helmsman Alistair Richardson steered Basilica to a win in the second race, sandwiched between a second and a third, where they competed after repairing a broken winch.
“This is a great result for us,' he said.
'We didn’t get off to a great start in the first event in Sanxenxo but obviously we have done a bit of work and put in a bit of practice. It has been a steep learning curve for us but we have come out on top so we are really pleased. We made a couple of crew changes after Sanxenxo so we now have some strong guys on the boat who enjoy pulling ropes.
“The secret to racing these boats well is staying calm. You only need a little gust and there are massive gains and losses to be had, which is different from normal sailing. It was difficult today because the wind was blowing off the land and we had heavy rain for the first half of racing which wasn’t as much fun.”
Motorola-CHR won the final race to finish 23 points behind Basilica and according to skipper Conrad Humphreys, performances across the fleet were improving as the crews became more familiar with the boats.
“These are powerful boats but all these sailors are world class so it has been a case of working together and practising the manoeuvres but I think at the end of two events, we are all of a similar standard and that has been reflected in some close racing this week,” he said.
Tommy Hilfiger, helmed by Randy Smyth (USA), finished third place overall in Rio, which was good enough to maintain first place in the overall rankings for the Grand Prix Series. Basilica moves up to second place overall and Motorola-CHR is one point behind in third.
The Volvo Extreme 40 was developed as a strict one-design catamaran for high speed racing both inshore and in short offshore regattas. It was created by dual Olympic medallist Mitch Booth and designed by Olympic Gold Medal winner Yves Loday and in the space of a year has created an explosion of interest in a burgeoning speed sailing market. The class is being showcased during five stopovers of the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06.
“There is a lot of interest and there are people all over the world who want to get involved,” commented Booth.
“We have another three boats in production and we hope that by Portsmouth or Rotterdam, the Volvo Extreme 40 fleet will be bigger. We want as many people as possible to experience these boats because this is what sailing is all about.”
“This week in Rio has been a great success. This Bay is precisely what Volvo Extreme 40s were created for because we race close to the beach - a bit too close at times - so both the sailors and spectators get a slice of the action.”
“This is only our second event and we aren’t even a year old yet but our vision is to grow the class into a worldwide fully blown one design grand prix class and we are well on our way.”
The next leg of the Volvo Extreme 40 Grand Prix Series will take place Baltimore, USA, from the 28 April-3 May.
Final Results (after 16 races)
1. Basilica (1,1,1,2,3,3,1,2,2,1,4,2,1,2,1,3) 133 pts
Alister Richardson (GBR), James Grant (GBR), Pete Greenhalgh (GBR), Jonathan Taylor (GBR)
2. Motorola – CHR (2,3,2,1,1,2,2,3,3,4,5,3,4,3,5,1) 110 pts
Leigh McMillan (GBR), Conrad Humphreys (GBR), Will Howden (GBR), Hamish Oliphant (GBR)
3. Tommy Hilfiger (3,5,4,4,5,1,5,5,1,2,3,1,3,5,2,5) 98 pts
Randy Smyth (USA), Jonathan Farrar (USA), Stan Schreyer (USA), Juliano Viana (BRA)
4. Holmatro (5,4,5,3,4,4,3,1,4,3,2,4,2,4,3,2) 96 pts
Mitch Booth (AUS), Taylor Booth (AUS), Daan Koene (NED), Herbert Dercksen (NED)
5. Volvo Ocean Race (4,2,3,5,2,5,4,4,5,5,1,5,DNF,1,4,4) 91 pts
Diogo Cayolla (POR), Gregg Homann (AUS) & various guests including; Emma Westmacott (GBR), Roberto Bermudez (ESP), Chris Nicholson (AUS), Dirk Neumann (NED), Eduardo Pinedo (BRA), Clinio Freitas (BRA), Marco Grael (BRA), Mauricio Santa Cruz (BRA),
Overall Series Rankings (after two events)
1st Tommy Hilfiger 16 pts
2nd Basilica 14 pts
3rd Motorola – CHR 13 pts
4th Volvo Ocean Race 12 pts
5th Holmatro 11 pts
Remaining Volvo Extreme 40 Grand Prix Series Dates
Baltimore, USA 28 April – 3 May, 2006
Portsmouth, UK 27 May – 3 June, 2006
Rotterdam, Netherlands 9-14 June, 2006