Alinghi into the lead
“Another difficult day for us, lots of ups and downs – we sailed some good races but also had a couple of issues in one or two races. It is very tricky sailing out there.
Overall it’s a good day though, we learnt so much and will continuing learning all the time. Singapore is great for this stadium style of racing, it’s pretty tough for the competitiors but the specators really enjoy the action on the racecourse, and there was plenty of action. The racing today made for a really good show."“Another difficult day for us, lots of ups and downs – we sailed some good races but also had a couple of issues in one or two races. It is very tricky sailing out there.
Overall it’s a good day though, we learnt so much and will continuing learning all the time. Singapore is great for this stadium style of racing, it’s pretty tough for the competitiors but the specators really enjoy the action on the racecourse, and there was plenty of action. The racing today made for a really good show."p a notch on the second day of racing at the Extreme Sailing Series season curtain raiser in Singapore, with the wind, and the heat from the city, cranking up. The 12 teams faced a huge wind range from three knots through to gusts that peaked at 24 knots, forced to use all their skill to muscle their Extreme 40s around the race course in a series of short, sharp races.
Six races were sailed on Marina Bay and Alinghi stamped their dominance, with two race wins, and three second places to move into first place. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Swiss, and in race 13 their Californian helm Morgan Larson did well to control the over-powered catamaran when the biggest gust of the day caught them off-guard, bringing it back from the brink of a capsize.
As Larson recounted: “Coming into today we said we wouldn’t push it as hard otherwise we’ll end up in the water. But early on, we got lifted right up on one hull, and we just thought, if we were to go any further we’re definitely going to tip over. Things were definitely smiling in our favour today! There was no shouting onboard, we all kind of looked at each other and thought: we got lucky there!” And the key to getting good results? “The winds are gusty and shifty, so it challenges you tactically. In a lot of venues, starting is crucial, but here I think it’s just getting away from the other boats and then picking your moments to build up the fleet.”
The Dean Barker steered Emirates Team New Zealand hadn’t competed together for five months before this week, and the team of Kiwi America’s Cup legends is quickly getting to grips with the stadium format of the Extreme Sailing Series. A string of results in the top half of the fleet, including a win in the fourth race of the day, promoted the Kiwis to second place from yesterday’s fourth.
But the biggest upgrade of the day came for the defending champions The Wave, Muscat with three bullets bringing them within six points of the Kiwis.
With two days left, McMillan’s attentions are already turning to the end result: “It was a pretty solid day and I’ll be pushing harder the next two days. We’re now in competition for the podium and that’s the most important thing for the first event.”
Realstone had a superb opening day yesterday, and were on form again today before they were T-boned by Oman Air, a collision which could be heard by the crowds around the bay and put an end to the Swiss teams winning run.
Realstone’s skipper Jérôme Clerc explained what happened: “Oman Air tried to bear away behind us, and under the pressure, that isn’t always easy, so Rob (Greenhalgh) didn’t achieve his manoeuvre and hit us at the back of the boat. They smashed into the rudder and created a big hole. We started sinking, but we pushed ourselves to finish that race.”
With damage to their steering system, the Swiss were forced to retire and limped back to the pitlane, missing the final race of the day, while the Omani team made a quick repair on the water to their bow. Both boats will be craned out tonight, but expect them to be back ready to race tomorrow. Oman Air received a 45 second starting penalty in the next race, and Realstone will be seeking redress form the jury first thing tomorrow morning.
Red Bull Sailing Team is a familiar fixture on the Series, but this year are fielding a new crew line-up. The Austrian team, which finished third overall in 2013 and is currently eighth in Singapore, has had a mixed bag of results so far this week as it adapts to its new line-up, but with just 40 points separating it from first placed Alinghi. The team' experienced skipper Roman Hagara spoke tactics for putting that right: “I think we just have to focus a little more on our starts, we had some really shocking starts today and then on the second downwind we made some major mistakes and we lost a couple of boats at times. We’ve just discussed this in our de-brief and that’s definitely what we have to look towards tomorrow!”
Even the most experienced Extreme 40 sailors are struggling to be consistent with the unpredictable breeze on the tricky compact race course. Paul Campbell-James, helm of Gazprom Team Russia, is a two-time Series winning helm, but admits returning for the first time since 2011 has been a challenge: “I’m really enjoying it, but I am definitely showing some sure signs of rust! It is a bit of frustrating obviously, the last time I sailed an Extreme 40 was here in Singapore and we won with the event! It’s a bit harder to be at the back of the fleet. The main thing is the starting and that’s the thing we didn’t do well at all the last couple of days. We will get there. We’re still on a learning curve. Everything is positive.”
The local representative on Team Aberdeen Singapore drew the biggest cheers from the fans around the bay, and narrowed the gap over 11th placed GAC Pindar to just one point. The public are expected to be out in the droves over the weekend to watch the elite level racing, right in the heart of this high-rise city.
Of his day, Ben Ainslie commented: “Another difficult day for us, lots of ups and downs – we sailed some good races but also had a couple of issues in one or two races. It is very tricky sailing out there.
"Overall it’s a good day though, we learnt so much and will continuing learning all the time. Singapore is great for this stadium style of racing, it’s pretty tough for the competitiors but the specators really enjoy the action on the racecourse, and there was plenty of action. The racing today made for a really good show."
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 111 points.
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 90 points.
3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 84 points.
4th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 81 points.
5th Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Thierry Wassem, Sébastien Stephant 81 points.
6th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 80 points.
7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 73 points.
8th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Haylee Outteridge 71 points.
9th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 61 points.
10th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 56 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, Alexandra South 32 points.
12th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Nick Moloney, Adam Beashel, Scott Glen Sydney, Tom Dawson, Justin Wong 31 points.