Red Bull challenge Emirates Team NZ
In the words of singer, Paolo Nutini, ‘What a day…!’ Four and a half hours of high-drama on the second day of Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series Qingdao. The Austrian Red Bull Extreme Sailing team thought they had snatched the overall lead from Emirates Team New Zealand in the final race only to find their victory in tatters after Dean Barker’s team were given redress (a rare occasion on this circuit); the 11-boat close combat racing resulted in two collisions; and, to top it all, Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme won their first race of the season with the Mayor of Qingdao on board in the 5th man spot, to the delight of the public!
Six ‘open water’ races were raced today outside the breakwater of Fushan Bay. The breeze was a up and down but predominantly strong enough to see the Extreme 40 fleet flying their hulls - when it dropped, the teams had to deploy a different set of tactics to find an advantage which split the fleet on numerous occasions as Hagara explains: “It was a pretty hard day today, especially on the start line as the wind was shifting a lot and there was a big difference in pressure. Quiet difficult to know where to go, which side of the start line is better, where the pressure is the most powerful.”
Dean Barker’s team was consistently good and finished inside the top four in the first five races, winning the penultimate race. It looked like the Kiwi team would retain their overall lead… But in classic Extreme style, the script appeared to be rewritten in the final race of the day… Barker’s team was called over the start line and Roman Hagara’s team were off leading the race all the way to the finish line. Emirates Team New Zealand needed to finish in 6th place or higher to keep their lead and fought all the way from the back, climbing into 7th place at the finish. It looked like they had lost their overall lead to Red Bull Extreme Sailing. But post-racing video footage proved that Emirates Team New Zealand were not in fact over the line and redress upgraded the team to 4th place - the overall lead at the halfway stage remains with the Kiwi team for now.
The Swiss team of Alinghi, skippered by Tanguy Cariou and helmed by ex-Groupe Edmond de Rothschild skipper Yann Guichard, had a strong day and has climbed into third place. Max Sirena’s Luna Rossa team, helmed by 2010 champion Paul Campbell-James, also had a strong day winning the first race of the day to climb from 6th overall yesterday to 4th overall today.
For Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme they were ecstatic to score their first race win of 2011: “It is only the second round for us so we do not have a lot of experience, so winning a race today is very nice. Especially as we had the mayor of Qingdao onboard, he kept smiling all the way! It's not just a race that we have won today, I really hope that it will bring awareness of professional sailing in the area. Chinese sailors are really talented here so they deserve to be in the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series with their own boat.”
Tomorrow is the first day of ‘stadium’ racing when the Act 2 in Qingdao opens formally to the public. “Obviously, it will be a completely different game tomorrow with the stadium racing,” said Hagara. “There is still a long way to go and a lot can still be won. The important thing is to stay in the leading pack and probably the final day will be the decisive. For sure, which Extreme 40 team gets to lift the Double Star Cup for the Extreme Sailing Series Qingdao is far from decided."
Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 Qingdao - Current overall standings after Day 2
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1st Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / Jeremy Lomas / Richard Meacham 98 points
2nd Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk 96 points
3rd Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 92 points
4th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 92 points
5th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 84 points
6th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 81 points
7th Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange / Rodney Ardern / Morgan Trubovich / Andy Fethers 70 points
8th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / William Wu 56 points
9th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari 54 points
10th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 54 points
11th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Brad Webb / Gilberto Nobili / Jono Macbeth 18 points