How important is the final double points race?
- 17th April 2014
The final race of each Extreme Sailing Series™ Act is worth double points, and more often than not the outcome of the event is riding on it. Using the SAP sailing analytics, we took a look at all of the final races from the last 16 months, and found that keeping a cool head and performing under pressure can make all the difference.
Over the last nine Acts (seven in 2013, and two in 2014), the reigning champions The Wave, Muscat have won an incredibly impressive 67% of the events. Of the events they won, they also sailed to victory in 50% of the final races, often winning the Act in that moment. For the Omani team, the double points race seems to be of the upmost importance to their Act winning tactics.
For the Swiss America’s Cup winners on Alinghi, consistency is the name of the game – albeit boosted by the double pointer. In 2013, Alinghi were the only team to finish on the podium at every Act, and of the seven Acts completed, they only finished outside the top three in the final race twice. Of all the teams, Alinghi have the highest average number of points in the final race, with 15.78, compared to The Wave, Muscat at 14.89, which is ultimately reflected in their consistent positioning on the podium.
At Act 2, Singapore in 2013, the Danish match racers on SAP Extreme Sailing Team secured their first ever podium finish, after finishing the final double points race in third place. They continued the trend at Act 3, Qingdao, where again a third place in the final race led them to finish the regatta in third place overall.
So it seems the double pointer can be make or break. One team that seems to be bucking the trend is the Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team, who have not managed to finish in the top three in the final race at all in the last 16 months. Despite this, in 2013 the team did secure four podium finishes, and finished the season in third place overall. But the question the double Olympic champions on board will surely be asking themselves, is if the team could remain cool, calm and collected during the final race and post a better result, could they finally take their first ever as yet elusive Act win?
So what should a teams tactics be in the final double pointer? Is it better to sail your own race, or to keep a close eye on the opposition and mark them around the track, and in doing so risk loosing out on valuable points? Of course, you need to look at the overall regatta to paint a real picture of what it takes to win an Act, but one thing that is for sure, is the final double points race can make all the difference.
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