Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand clinched victory at Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in an epic showdown as the circuit made a very successful USA debut. As the country celebrated Independence Day, American Terry Hutchinson on board Artemis Racing went into the final race with an 8 point lead after heading the leaderboard for most of the past 5 days, but lost in the final leg of the final race of the final day. An enthralled US non-sailing public turned out in spades to watch up close what was probably one of the biggest ever on-site American audiences for a sailing event, estimated at 55,000 over five days. The Stadium concept developed for the Extreme Sailing Series certainly engaged a largely non-sailing audience in Boston.
In a finale that could have been written by a Hollywood scriptwriter (but wasn’t!), Emirates Team New Zealand had a blinding start, taking the lead once from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, only to lose it after painfully stalling in a tack on the final beat. Until this point, despite having to duck most of the fleet on the start line, Hutchinson had managed to stay inside the crucial four places behind Barker which were necessary to take overall victory. On the final beat, however, just one tactical choice decided it, with the right-hand side of the course for once not paying for the American, and as they approached the final top mark they were passed by four boats and scored an 8th place. A rare occurrence for Hutchinson, destroying his dream of winning on his home turf with Emirates Team New Zealand taking overall victory by four points on a total of 293 after 37 races.
For the complete story, go to www.extremesailingseries.com.