It was the young sailors of Britain’s Land Rover BAR Academy, though, who stunned the field in claiming their maiden second-place result.
Reigning champions Oman Air finished third with Denmark’s SAP Extreme Sailing in fourth and Austrian outfit Red Bull Sailing Team rounding out the top five.
Alinghi, who had finished second at the season opener in Muscat, were untouchable, sailing a textbook regatta in Qingdao’s “Mazarin Cup” despite variable conditions.
They ranged from light breezes on Day One and Day Three (and no wind or racing on Day Two) to constant winds that made for a thrilling foiling confrontation in Monday’s final action.
In only their second season in the stadium racing series, Land Rover BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) Academy jumped up to second place on Day Three with six podiums in seven races including two wins.
“Congratulations to Land Rover BAR! What a great performance from this young team. They are clearly one of the favourites for the upcoming Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda,” said Red Bull Sailing skipper Roman Hagara, who with Hans Peter Steinacher is Sport Director for June’s youth regatta on Bermuda’s Great Sound.
Red Bull Sailing earned two race wins, a result that didn’t satisfy their tactician Steinacher, who is already looking to the third regatta in the eight-stop series.
“Here in China we did not perform to our level,” said the Austrian, who previously won two Summer Games gold medals with Hagara. “We need to forget this regatta and concentrate on preparations for the next one.”
The Extreme Sailing Series will next return to one of the world’s most spectacular harbour destinations with Act Three in Portugal’s Madeira Islands on June 29 – July 2.
Thanks to Red Bull Content Pool