The Extreme Sailing Series 2011. Act 2. Qingdao. China
Emirates Team NZ, although having lost their overall lead going into the fourth day of the Extreme Sailing series in Qingdao, China, have put up a valiant stand to try to achieve a series victory.
The forecasted stronger winds did not eventuate and instead the temperatures at the 2008 Olympic sailing venue are cold and with 4-6kt winds.
After getting off to a slow start on the final day, Emirates Team NZ regrouped to put together some good results in the final races for the day.
With a race to go, the former 2000 America's Cup Challenger, Luna Rossa shone through, scoring a win, and taking the series lead. Emirates Team NZ had to finish five places ahead of the Italians in the double scoring final race.
With a six knot breeze prevailing for the final race consisting of a windward leg and return with a short beat to the finish, Emirates Team NZ and Luna Ross took opposite ends of the start line.
After the start, Dean Barker for Emirates Team NZ too the New Zealanders up the middle of the course, while Max Sirena for Luna Rossa opted for the left.
At the top mark Barker had made the better choice, rounding behind Groupe Edmund de Rothschild, with Luna Rossa third. On the run, another America's Cup team, Artemis put the heat on the Italians forcing a spinnaker drop error at the bottom mark pushing them back to fourth place, but with a big gap back to the chasing pack, which included Alinghi at its rear.
The positions remained the same to the finish, with Luna Rossa still dropping time on the chasing pack, but covered well on to cross 3secs ahead of the fifth placed boat, which was sufficient to win the series by five points from Emirates Team NZ, with Groupe Edmund de Rothschild in third overall.
To follow the action go to www.extremesailingseries.com