by Jo Uffendell
Extreme Sailing Series 2013 team SAP Extreme Sailing started the day as they meant to go on, making it first across the line in the very first race and sending a clear message to their race rivals. The early result was to set the tone for their performance on the last day of racing in Qingdao and an overall podium finish was in the teams’ sights.
2013 Extreme Sailing Series . Act3. Qingdao. China
As the fog cleared over Fushan Bay, Qingdao delivered a sunny day with seven knots of breeze on the race course. The top teams went into the final day with a podium place open to all due to the final race accruing double points. With the focus on sailing minimum distance under max speed, the Danish led team delivered a master class in positioning themselves perfectly on the track to create space between them and their rivals. Throughout the day, the SAP Extreme Sailing Team were careful to stay away from the wind shadow of the surrounding buildings, avoiding the areas of no wind on Fushan Bay and consistently delivering solid results.
Having crossed the line in first place in three of the races, the SAP Extreme Sailing Team went into the final double points race looking calm and collected. Maintaining their position among the leaders throughout, they crossed the line in third, securing a third place position overall in Act 3.
Commenting on their winning performance today Jes Gram-Hansen said: 'We have had a superb day on the water, maybe even our best ever, with three race wins and third place overall in Act 3. Clean racing, good boat handling and excellent crew dynamics translated directly to performance. We’ve had light and shifty winds but despite the tricky conditions we put in some solid sailing and stayed in contention for the podium. We’ve had a fantastic day and I am extremely proud of the team.'
As the teams look ahead to the next act in Istanbul, Gram-Hansen adds: 'The last three acts have all been in light winds and Istanbul should deliver some very different conditions. I think that we will almost see a new start as we move into the European venues and some of the other competitors will come into their own with it being a more physical game on the water. Last year we would have considered ourselves stronger in the breezier conditions but with the use of SAP analytics, we have been able to compare ourselves with other teams and really master our strategy in the light conditions. The work we have done reviewing and analyzing performance between acts has definitely paid off. We are improving and have really gained confidence this season, so let’s hope we can keep the pressure on the guys at the top of the leaderboard when we head out to Turkey next month.'
The results today have allowed the SAP Extreme Sailing Team to maintain their fourth place position on the series leader board, just four points behind closest race rivals Red Bull Racing.
The SAP Extreme Sailing Team will compete in Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Istanbul between 20 - 23 June 2013.