Mitch Booth into the lead
Booth, a former Tornado class world champion and co-creator of the Extreme 40 class, steered his home side to two wins and two seconds to snatch the top spot from Andreas Hagara's Team Petras/France.
The six team competition in the World Championship, the first ever for the Extreme 40 class, went head to head in four races in the bay of Portoroz under clear skies and winds of between six and ten knots. Today saw a return to windward-leeward courses after two long passage races along the Slovenian coastline yesterday.
Going into the day's racing in third position overall, The Ocean Racing Club dominated the first two races with two bullets. Persistent covering of Team Petras/France secured The Ocean Racing Club's lead.
Of their progress today, Booth commented: “Our objective was to stay clean all day long. There were a couple of times where we were caught on the wrong side of the course and we decided to get onto the favoured side early. That strategy worked well for us – we didn't take any risks and it paid off.”
The Ocean Racing Club now has 53 points, leading the Extreme 40 World Championship by two points after three days and nine closely fought races. “We are really happy to be leading,” added Booth, “but there is still a long way to go. The forecast is for a bit more wind over the weekend and the racing is still open. One race could change everything.”
Just two points behind are Austrian brothers Roman and Andreas Hagara, skippering Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Team Petras/France respectively, which are tied on 51 points. Andreas Hagara said: “We had problems with a couple of starts but we fought back and we hope to do better tomorrow. We are now tied with my brother's Red Bull Extreme Sailing on 51 points and just two points behind Mitch and The Ocean Racing Club. Tomorrow will be a tough day and we will just have to see what happens.”
Roman Hagara's Red Bull Extreme Sailing came back from two fourth places to win the last race of the day in a stylish display. Red Bull Extreme Sailing finished more than two minutes ahead of its nearest rival, The Ocean Racing Club, after holding onto the lead right from the start.
Dutch skipper Pim Nieuwenhuis' Team IWC/Holland continued their ascent up the leaderboard with consistent results, including a second place in race two, their best result of the regatta. Team IWC/Holland are now tied on points with Shirley Robertson's Team Kempinski/Great Britain, both on 31.
The five-day regatta is being run by The Ocean Racing Club, based at the stunning Kempinski Palace Hotel in Portoroz, and has attracted talented sailors from around the globe. Four races are scheduled for tomorrow, the penultimate day of racing.
The Ocean Racing Club: 3-4-1-1-4-1-1-2-2 53
Red Bull Extreme Sailing: 1-1-3-4-1-2-4-4-1 51
Team Petras/France: 2-2-2-2-2-3-5-1-3 51
Team IWC/Holland: 5-5-5-6-3-4-2-3-4 31
Team Kempinski/Great Britain: 4-3-4-3-5-6-3-5-5 31
Team Nokia/Hungary: 6-6-6-5-6-6-6-6-6 13