Could the Act 8 results of the Extreme Sailing Series provide a clue as to who might be next up for the Cup?

By winning Act
8 of the Extreme Sailing Series the former America’s Cup winning team returned
itself to both the podium and the headlines. In a competitive season’s racing
on a busy globe trotting circuit, the action has been spiced up with the
speculation that several teams are using the events to develop their multihull
skills before making a step into the America’s Cup World Series.

The Kiwis make
no bones of the fact that the Extreme Sailing Series has a direct link with
their Cup campaign, allowing them to develop their crew work and techniques,
particularly for when they make the step into the AC72 in 2013 when eleven crew
will be required.

Others a more
coy about their future plans. But a scan down the results list from the recent
event in Almeria, Spain provides some possible clues as to who might be lining
themselves up for a future Cup season. In particular Luna Rossa (who finished 2nd
overall) and Oman Air with Ben Ainslie at the helm who took third by just one

Even more
tantalising would be the idea of Alinghi making a step into the Cup.

Here’s the
official word on how the racing panned out.

It came down to
the wire in the final double points race to determine the podium places of the
Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 in Almeria. Going into the final race the Swiss
team of Alinghi were in a strong position to claim overall victory, only a
major faux pas would have prevented what was rightfully theirs after such a
strong performance over the last five days and 32 races.

In the end,
Tanguy Cariou’s team on Alinghi secured victory by one of the biggest points
margins of 22 points over Italy’s Luna Rossa in 2nd place.

However, the
fight for second was by the closest of margins with Luna Rossa holding off Ben
Ainslie’s Oman Air by just one point.

Ian Williams’
Team GAC Pindar scored their best ever result of 2011 with a 4th place here in
Almeria, stealing it from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild on the final upwind beat
in the final race. It was a tough day for the French team on Groupe Edmond de
Rothschild who had been in contention for the podium throughout the event. But
Pierre Pennec’s team is still in the game for the Extreme Sailing Series
ultimate victory – on 68 points for the season with Luna Rossa on 69. Emirates
Team New Zealand was given redress after yesterday’s crash and maintained 6th
place ahead of double-Act winner The Wave, Muscat. Leigh McMillan’s team were
struggling to find their form in the light air Acts.

Red Bull
Extreme Sailing also had a tough end of regatta – Roman Hagara’s crew still had
everything to play for, lying in 8th overall, going into the final race but it
was not to be.

Alex Schneiter’s
debut in the Extreme 40 circuit was rewarded with two race wins today, and they
ended Act 8 in a respectable 9th place, four points ahead of Roland Gaebler’s
Team Extreme and Alberto Barovier’s Niceforyou team on 135 points, his team
enjoying a morale-boosting race win in the penultimate race.

Standings after
32 races (16.10.11)

1. Alinghi
(SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey, 254 points

2. Luna Rossa
(ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena,

3. Oman Air
(OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari, 232

4. Team GAC
Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemrskerk / Andrew Walsh / Brad Webb, 218

5. Groupe
Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry
Fouchier / Herve Cunningham, 216

6. Emirates
Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel / Ray Davies / Jeremy Lomas / Derek
Seward, 213.5

7. The Wave,
Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri

8. Red Bull
Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams /
Craig Monk, 202

9. Team TILT
(SUI), Alex Schneiter / Boet Brinkgreve / Charles Favre / Nicolas Heintz, 155

10. Team
Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Nahid Gaebler / Antón Paz / Tom Buggy, 151

11. Niceforyou
(ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele De Luca / Simone de Mari, 135

Extreme Sailing
Series 2011

standings after 8 Acts

1. Luna Rossa,
69 points

2. Groupe
Edmond de Rothschild, 68

3. Emirates
Team New Zealand, 60

4. Alinghi, 59

5. The Wave,
Muscat, 57

6. Red Bull
Extreme Sailing, 53

7. Artemis
Racing, 48

8. Oman Air, 47

9. Team GAC
Pindar, 29

10. Niceforyou,

11. Team
Extreme, 18