Roman Hagara ahead by a point
Slovenia's stunning coastline was showcased on day two of the Extreme 40 World Championship with two coastal races. In a break from windward-leewards, the six Extreme 40 catamarans raced from their base at Portoroz 15 kilometres to the bustling port city of Koper and back again. The longer double-point coastal races gave crews an on-water tour of their host country.
Former Tornado world champion Roland Gaebler, skipper of Team Nokia/Hungary, said: “Today was a wonderful day on the water. Sometimes windward-leeward courses make you feel like a mouse in a cage – you just go up and down, up and down. But the longer course along the coast made a nice change and it was a really enjoyable day. It was lovely to see more of Slovenia too.”
Double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson, celebrating her birthday today, added: “What better way to celebrate your birthday than sailing along the beautiful coastline of Slovenia – we are very privileged.”
After an exciting day's racing yesterday, the second day of the first ever Extreme 40 World Championship, hosted by The Ocean Racing Club at the Kempinski Palace Hotel in Portoroz, was to be no let down. Racing started in building 6-8 knot breeze, with the first upset came when Shirley Robertson's Team Kempinski/Great Britain, which had led the fleet for the majority of the first race, were reigned in by home side, The Ocean Racing Club skippered by Mitch Booth. The Ocean Racing Club made use of crewmember and Portoroz resident Tomaz Copi's local knowledge passing Team Kempinski/Great Britain in the latter part of the race. Booth, co-creator of the Extreme 40 class, eventually steered The Ocean Racing Club to victory, crossing the finish line in one hour and ten minutes.
Andreas Hagara's Team Petras/France also sneaked by Team Kempinski/Great Britain to snatch second place with Robertson having to settle for third. Roman Hagara's Red Bull Extreme Sailing crossed the line in fourth, followed by Team Nokia/Hungary and Team IWC/Holland. After arriving in Koper, the teams were greeted by a reception to celebrate the Extreme 40 World Championship where Vice Mayor of Koper Jani Bacic welcomed the fleet to the city with open arms.
The most dramatic event of the day came 20 minutes into the afternoon's racing with Red Bull Extreme Racing locked in a close battle with The Ocean Racing Club for first place. After splitting up the first beat, the two boats rounded the windward mark within seconds of each other and the fight carried on to the leeward mark. On the next beat the main halyard on board The Ocean Racing Club snapped, sending the mainsail down the mast. It could have been race ending for The Ocean Racing Club but bowman Ed van Lierde was soon hoisted to the top of the 18m tall mast and swiftly sorted the problem. The Ocean Racing Club's skill was rewarded with a fourth place.
Booth said: “We were going upwind and the wind was building so we had everything strapped down. Suddenly the main halyard just let go. The mainsail came crashing down and we had to send a crewmember up the mast to sort it out. It ended our chance of winning the race but we fought back and finished fourth. That's just sailboat racing.”
At the front of the fleet, Red Bull Extreme Sailing were uncatchable giving Roman Hagara his third bullet of the week with Andreas Hagara's Team Petras/France continuing their fantastic run of second places. It was also a day for celebrating for Team IWC/Holland, which also notched up their best result of the series with a third in the second race of the day. Dutch sailor Pim Nieuwenhuis, skipper of Team IWC/Holland, said: "After the first race today we were pretty keen for a better performance and that's what we did in the second race. The guys sailed the boat brilliantly and we had good speed. We are very happy with the result."
Racing will return to windward-leeward courses tomorrow with four races scheduled.
Results after day two:
1. Team Petras/France: 2-2-2-2-2 35
2. Red Bull Extreme Sailing: 1-1-3-4-1 34
3. The Ocean Racing Club: 3-4-1-1-4 31
4. Team Kempinski/Great Britain: 4-3-4-3-5 22
5. Team IWC/Holland: 5-5-5-6-3 16
6. Team Nokia/Hungary: 6-6-6-5-6 9