The Volvo Extreme 40s drew record crowds to Baltimore to see the cat's final day of racing 4/5/06

Nearly 350,000 people lined Baltimore’s inner harbour dockside for the waterfront festival for the chance to see the Volvo Extreme 40 catamarans and Volvo Open 70s slice up the harbour.

After four days of racing the crowd witnessed plenty of action amongst the 40ft catamarans, from lead changes to near collisions and protests.

After eighteen races, it was Tommy Hilfiger that took victory over the other teams. Skippered by double Olympic medallist Randy Smyth and his all American team of Stan Schreyer, Jonathan Farrar and Richard Feeney won by nineteen points from Team Holmatro.

Smyth commented: “We have been racing together for a while now and I think this is what makes the difference but there is never a dull moment in these boats and especially when you are racing in the harbour like this – it is what these boats are made for.”

He continued: “I think the audience that we have seen over the five days that we have raced is one of the biggest that sailing has ever had in the United States and that is so exciting. These are just such cool boats and it is great to be able to show them off.”

Olympic medallist and class founder Mitch Booth steered Team Holmatro into second place, and despite being overtaken in the regatta halfway through, was delighted to finish on the podium after a disappointing result in Rio de Janeiro.

Team Holmatro crew member and class Chief Executive Herbert Dercksen commented: “At the end of the day the best guy won. We are pleased to have moved up the leader board with how we raced but Randy and his team did a fantastic job.”

The improvement seen in Team Holmatro sees them move up from fifth place overall to third place after three events.

All-British Team Basilica didn’t walk away empty handed, filling the final podium position. Skippered by James Grant and with British 49er sailor Alister Richardson at the helm, Team Basilica could not quite match their performance from Rio de Janeiro, but a third place in Baltimore still sees them second on the overall series leader board, six points behind Tommy Hilfiger.

During the day’s racing, Team Basilica snatched third place on the line in race one, took second place in race two and winning the final race. Despite the top performance, Basilica was unable to make up the eleven points it needed to claim second place from Holmatro.

Basilica skipper James Grant was very happy with his crew’s performance on the final day:

“We sailed extremely well today and although it was disappointing not to snatch second place from Holmatro, we can be very pleased with our performance overall in Baltimore. Whilst the conditions have been tricky, this has been a unique event – stadium sailing in the heart of the city – and given the competition we are delighted to have finished on the podium.”

The Volvo Extreme 40s will be unleashed again at the end of the month in Portsmouth, England. Racing in Portsmouth takes place from the 27 May to the 3 June and will conclude with the boats taking part in the Round the Island Race – a race 50 mile race around the Isle of Wight.

Final Results
1st Tommy Hilfiger, USA (1,1,1,1,2,4,5,3,1,1,4,4,1,2,1,1,1,2) 149 pts
2nd Team Holmatro, NED (2,3,3,2,1,1,1,2,3,3,1,2,3,5,3,2,5,3) 130 pts
3rd Team Basilica, GBR (4,4,2,5,5,2,2,1,2,2,3,1,4,4,2,DNF,2,1) 123 pts
4th Motorola-CHR, GBR (5,2,4,3,3,3,3,4,4,5,5,3,2,3,4,DNF,3,5) 98 pts
5th Volvo Ocean Race, USA (3,5,5,4,4,5,4,5,5,4,2,5,5,1,DNF,DNF,4,4) 91 pts

Overall Series Rankings (after three events)
1st Tommy Hilfiger 26 pts
2nd Basilica 20 pts
3rd Holmatro 19 pts
4th Motorola-CHR 18 pts
5th Volvo Ocean Race 16 pts

Remaining Volvo Extreme 40 Grand Prix Series Dates
Portsmouth, UK 27 May-3 June, 2006
Rotterdam, Netherlands 9-14 June, 2006