Extreme Sailing Series: Dean Barker's ETNZ prosper in Istanbul


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The Independent Online

A series of blocking measures by Alinghi skipper Morgan Larson in the final, double points race of the Extreme Sailing Series in Istanbul denied Leigh McMillan’s The Wave Muscat the victory on the Bosphorus that would have pushed him to the top of the leaderboard with six of the 2014 events completed.

It also allowed Dean Barker’s ETNZ to carry off the Turkish trophy, making the Kiwis only the third team to win any of the half dozen so far, the rest having been shared between McMillan and Larson.

That should make for a lively encounter in Nice at the end of the month between McMillan and Larson, who had to go to a countback to separate them in 2013 and give the Omani team its second consecutive title. Securing the third will surely go all the way to Sydney in December.

The rough and tumble left Ben Ainslie nursing a hole in his J.P. Morgan/BAR boat and a seventh place in Turkey,  but he now lies fifth overall, five points ahead of SAP but seven behind Realteam.

The second team in the Omani stable, Oman Air, skippered by Rob Greenhalgh and which had threatened to secure two podium places for the Oman Sail challenge, slipped to fourth in Istanbul but is one of three teams taking 23 points overall to the Cote d’Azur and defending not just a seventh place but is just one point behind SAP in the 2014 standings. 

A crash on day 3 with Team Gazprom saw GAC Pindar sit out the first four races on the last day but after a long night of repairs the team eventually made it back onto the water.

GAC Pindar principal, Andrew Pindar added: “This has been a very positive regatta for us. The team performed brilliantly and it was really encouraging to see them in fourth place challenging near the top of the leader board after day two.