Emirates Team NZ in their Extreme 40 livery
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker, bowman Jeremy Lomas and grinder Winston Macfarlane have had a good introduction to top-level catamaran racing in the Extreme 40 series at Almeria, Spain.
Friday was practice day with a light 5-8 knot breeze.
With Australian multihull specialist Darren Bundock on board to help the transition from monohull tactics and boat handling to fleet racing catamarans in confined waters, Barker said: 'it was a day of lessons and we learned a lot.
'We made a lot of fundamental errors – and that’s hardly surprising. We were up against a lot of very experienced cat racers who were sailing aggressively while we were erring on the side of caution.
Skippers briefing Extreme 40’s - Dean Barker (ETNZ) second from right
'We have to find the balance between controlled aggression and stupidity in the multihull environment .... learning what we can get away with in terms of boat positioning and control.
'We’re not going to dominate in this fleet and there’s no point coming all this way, going racing like complete cowboys and then sitting out the regatta with boat damage. We won’t learn much sitting on the dock.'
The boys’ results improved as the day went on, with seventh, eighth fifth and finally a third placing leaving Dean confident about the rest of the regatta. 'We’ll get better at it. The confined courses and short races give only one option – get right in there.'
Tomorrow’s racing will start at 2pm, with two or three races outside the harbour’s confines. From 3.30pm racing will be inside the seawalls of Almeria’s harbour. The breeze will be light earlier in the day and is forecast to get up to 15 knots in the afternoon.