Robertson makes light of Extreme series

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The Independent Online

Double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson won the opening regatta in the iShares Extreme 40 series in Lugano, Switzerland, yesterday despite failing to finish the eighth of the nine races sailed in very light winds.

She was clear ahead of last year’s overall winner, Rob Greenhalgh, at the helm of Britain’s America’s Cup challenge team boat Origin, with Sir Keith Mills onboard. Third was Nick Moloney, skippering Ellen MacArthur’s BT team.

After a frustrating three days, including a spectacular capsize, Ed Baird at least notched up in a win for Alinghi, which is using the series to hone its multihull sailing skills ahead of what is expected to be a catamaran or trimaran defence of the America’s Cup next year. A New York appeal court is expected to decide on Thursday whether the Swiss cup holders can challenge an earlier Supreme Court decision that Alinghi should face Larry Ellison’s San Francisco-based BMW Oracle challenge in a best-of-three shoot-out.

Ellison himself was leaving to the last minute and decision whether to be on board today as his latest racing boat, a TP 52, joins the Audi Medcup TP 52 series at its second regatta in Marseille. Leading after the first in Alicante is Dutchman Peter de Ridder’s Mean Machine, just one point ahead of the King of Spain’s Bribon, skippered by New Zealand America’s Cup winner Dean Barker. Britain’s John Cook on Cristabella is 10th as the fleet, 16 in Alicante, is reduced to 14.