Tommy Hilfiger took the lead from Holmatro in day four of the Volvo Extreme 40 grand prix 3/5/06

Yesterday, Tuesday 2 May, saw a dramatic lead change in the Volvo Extreme 40 grand prix series as American Randy Smyth sailing Tommy Hilfiger overtook Team Holmatro, skippered by Mitch Booth.

On the fourth day of racing, the sailors had to contend with 3-8 knots of wind around Baltimore’s inner harbour.

America’s Cup legend John Bertrand was the guest of honour for the day, sailing with Cam Lewis on Team Volvo Ocean Race for the first two races and then helping to lead Tommy Hilfiger to victory in the final and longest race of the day.

Pirates of the Caribbean sailor Anthony Merrington stepped back onboard Team Holmatro for another day of racing. Unfortunately the team could not quite match the results from Monday and they forfeited their overall lead, which they had held since day two.

With a one-two-one score line, Randy Smyth on Tommy Hilfiger and his team comprising of Stan Schreyer, Jonathan Farrar and Richard Feeney, have a nine point lead going into the final day of racing.

Smyth commented: “I had a good day and really enjoyed it out there – until I got thrown in by Conrad (Humphreys). I guess that is what happens when you’re leading the regatta.”

Mitch Booth and Team Holmatro are currently placed second overall, eleven points in front of the all British boat, Team Basilica.

Basilica encountered a difficult day with two fourth places and a second. This meant that the British crew have made up ground on second placed Holmatro but have conceded further points to leg leaders Tommy Hilfiger. The all-British boat remains in third position in the Baltimore grand prix standings on 101 points.

Basilica skipper James Grant was frustrated by the team’s inconsistency in the Baltimore waters but remains upbeat:

“We are all finding it difficult to be consistent over a day on this course which is understandable given the tricky conditions. With the constant variation in the wind, the results of each race are always balanced on a knife edge with any one of the five crews in with a chance. We got extremely close in race two to finishing second, missing out by only a couple of seconds. It was disappointing not to finish the day with a win but Randy sailed exceptionally well again today and deserved the two wins.”

Conrad Humphrey’s Motorola had Brunel skipper Grant Wharington onboard as a guest but unfortunately could not move up from fourth place overall.

Leigh McMillan, helm of Motorola-CHR commented: “It is always good fun when you are racing on a 100m width course – it is close and exciting with the potential of many position changes and protests.”

Despite sitting at the bottom of the leader board, Cam Lewis and crew for Team Volvo Ocean Race finally started enjoying the racing and even pulled off their best result so far in the regatta – their first race win.

Lewis said: “We had a wonderful days racing today and the team are really happy to have two near podium finished and a first place.”

The Volvo Extreme 40 grand prix series concludes today and then the boats get packed up and shipped to Portsmouth, England for the penultimate grand prix venue of Portsmouth.

Results – day four

1st – Tommy Hilfiger, USA (1,1,1,1,2,4,5,3,1,1,4,4,1,2,1) 121 pts
2nd – Team Holmatro, NED (2,3,3,2,1,1,1,2,3,3,1,2,3,5,3) 112 pts
3rd – Team Basilica, GBR (4,4,2,5,5,2,2,1,2,2,3,1,4,4,2) 101 pts
4th – Motorola – CHR, GBR (5,2,4,3,3,3,3,4,4,5,5,3,2,3,4) 84 pts
5th – Volvo Ocean Race, USA (3,5,5,4,4,5,4,5,5,4,2,5,5,1,5) 77 pts

Series Overall Points Standings:

1. Tommy Hilfiger – 16 points
2. Basilica – 15 points
3. Motorola-CHR – 12 points
4. Volvo Ocean Race – 12 points
5. Holmatro – 11 points