Land Rover BAR Academy in Hamburg - Act 5 Extreme Sailing Series 2017

Day 3: Positive day for Land Rover BAR Academy in Hamburg

A wet day on the River Elbe coupled with a lively breeze saw Land Rover BAR Academy produce one of their best performances of the Extreme Sailing Series 2017.


Land Rover BAR Academy’s form started similar to the weather on the penultimate day in Hamburg with the first two races resulting in gloomy seventh and sixth placed finishes. However, after encouraging words from coach Andrew Walsh the young team regrouped in brilliant fashion to pull off their best run of results for over 6months.

These results included a dominate race win where they lead from start to finish and enjoyed a full race leg winning margin to their nearest competitor. The race win was long overdue with the last coming four months ago in China for Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series 2017. They followed the race win with 3,4,4 to end the day four points off second place on the leaderboard.


Land Rover BAR Helm, Chris Taylor commented “We started with a couple of tricky races but in the fourth race we dominated from start to finish. We came off a good start, we were then pretty confident in our speed once we got up on the foils and the guys did a great job with solid maneuverers around the course, a great race win for us. We are happy with the day, it’s our first race win for a few months so getting that out of the way and finishing in the top end of the fleet was really positive”  

Land Rover BAR coach, Andrew Walsh commented “It was a solid day. The conditions were incredibly difficult for all the teams and we didn’t start the day as planned but it was great to see the guys dig deep, review our strategy and come back to pull off some great results including the race win. We are set up nicely for the final race day tomorrow with only a few points separating the leaderboard, it’s all to play for”


The final day of racing starts tomorrow at 13:30 (UTC+2). Fans can watch the racing from the free-entry Race Village located at the Hamburg HafenCity Cruise Centre, or watch online via the live Facebook or YouTube stream. More information can be found on the official website

Current standings 

Position / Team / Points

  1. Oman Air (OMA) 92 points
  2. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 84 points
  3. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 84 point
  4. Alinghi (SUI) 82 points
  5. NZ Extreme Sailing Team 82 points
  6. Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 80 point
  7. Team Extreme (GBR) 63 points 

Land Rover BAR Academy Team line up:

Skipper/Bowman: Rob Bunce

Helm: Chris Taylor

Mainsail Trimmer: Oli Greber

Headsail Trimmer: Sam Batten

Jib / Floater: Adam Kay

Jib / Floater: Matt Brushwood


Day 2: Testing day in Hamburg


Hamburg’s River Elbe was the ultimate test in light wind racing today for the Land Rover BAR Academy, with the small race course being affected by passing traffic and 3knots of tide. Eventually the Race Committee managed to get two races completed with the Land Rover BAR Academy finishing fifth and third to end the day in second place overall.

In the first race, the Land Rover BAR Academy didn’t have their best start but managed to round the windward mark in good pressure with three teams ahead in sight. Unfortunately, they received a questionable penalty which in the light conditions meant it was unrealistic to better their position eventually finishing the race in fifth place.


In the second and final race, Chris Taylor, helm of Land Rover BAR Academy, took the strategy to stay away from the fleet on the start line. This tactic paid off as several teams where given OCS, the young British team managed to hang in there against the tide all the way round the course to finish in third place.


Land Rover BAR Academy Skipper, Rob Bunce commented “So far it has been a really tricky event with such a strong tide and little wind. Today, was a good day for the team we aim to get all our finishes in the top four and in such tricky conditions we have to be pleased with our results and end the day in second place overall. In these conditions with limited breeze and strong tide you need to stay focused and make the right calls and stick to your decisions, we did that today particularly in the last race. The next few days are looking much better with 10-12 knots and you never know we might even get some sunshine.


Day 1: A special guest in Hamburg for Act 5, Extreme Sailing Series 2017

The first day of racing in Hamburg for Act 5, Extreme Sailing Series 2017 proved to be a frustrating one for the Land Rover BAR Academy with super-light winds and no official races completed.


The lack of action means the next two days will be even more vital as the seven international crews look to put as many points as possible between them and their rivals before the regatta climax on Sunday.

As the fleet hit the water today with just a couple of knots of wind blowing through, the hope was for a repeat of yesterday’s practice race day with good breeze materialising midway through the afternoon.

But after hours of patient waiting, which included a handful of non-scoring exhibition races, Race Director John Craig made the decision to send the fleet back to the dock.

The team also had a special visitor today with former teammate Neil Hunter arriving in Hamburg as a guest of title and exclusive innovation partner Land Rover.  Last December heading into the final event of the Extreme Sailing Series 2016, Hunter received the call up from Sir Ben Ainslie to join Land Rover BAR’s senior team for the America’s Cup. This lead to a remarkable six-months which saw Neil become the youngest competitor in the 35th America’s Cup before re-joining Land Rover BAR Academy and going on to win the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.



Neil Hunter commented “It has been great visit the team today, only 12 months ago this was Land Rover BAR Academy’s first solo event without a senior team member onboard, and they are now winning races and securing podium finishes. It has been great to be part of the programme and become a key part of showcasing how it creates career pathways to the highest level of the sport”

Land Rover BAR Academy Coach, Andrew Walsh commented “Having Neil here today was great. He's a good character to have around and to show the rest of the squad where they can get to with hard work. It was a shame we couldn't get racing today, the wind gods weren't on our side, we would have loved to put on a good show. Tomorrow is all to play for!"


No points awarded today means the Act 5 leaderboard remains level heading into the first races tomorrow. Racing kicks off at 13:30 UTC+2 and fans can follow the action online via the live blog. Racing will then be streamed live on the official Extreme Sailing Series Facebook and YouTube channels from 13:30 – 17:00 UTC+2 on 12 and 13 August.


It was just a year ago that the Land Rover BAR Academy first competed ‘solo’ – without mentors from the Land Rover BAR senior team aboard – at the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series (ESS) event in Hamburg.


One year later, they return to the city for Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing series 2017 having won their first ESS races at the final 2016 series in Sydney last December, secured a podium finish in Act 2 of the 2017 ESS in Qingdao, China in April and most recently and importantly the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup win in Bermuda. The young team have come a long way in a very short time!

The six strong Land Rover BAR Academy team will skippered by Rob Bunce, with Chris Taylor on the helm and Oli Greber on the mainsheet. The trimmer will be Sam Batten, while Adam Kay and Matt Brushwood will be in the jib / float position. The crew will rotate as only five race aboard the hydro-foiling GC32s.


The Hamburg race village opens on the 11th August and competition runs through to the 13th starting each day at 1.30pm local time (UTC +2), and finishing at 5pm. This race course is one of the toughest on the circuit, raced on the River Elbe in the HafenCity area of Hamburg – a harbour with 800 years of history behind it. The Land Rover BAR team will have to negotiate a short race course, with strong tide, lots of wind shifts and harbour traffic.



Coach Andrew Walsh commented “We have a strong team for Hamburg with very little crew changes from the last event and we are keen to use that stability to push into the top four and bounce back from the last event in Barcelona which was a disappointing performance for the team. As always, we will use the strategy of swapping some of the crew positions between races, we don’t get that much sailing together so it’s important that we find the strongest combinations, this also benefits boat handing with each member of the team understanding the different roles on the boat”

Skipper Rob Bunce commented; “We are really excited to kick off racing here in Hamburg, we have had a few days rigging the boat and practicing on the water, it’s a fun race course with lots of tide and wind shifts. There are lots of geographical features and we need to be on top of the facts to understand where the shifts will come from and when the tide will come in to play. As always, we will be sailing against seasoned professional teams, with most having Olympians or America’s Cup sailors onboard, we are making really good progress and we are all fired up and with a quick turn around after Act 4 in Barcelona. The aim is a much-improved performance.”