In Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Mascut, Oman the young all Australian GAC Pindar crew continued their education, posting some solid results including two podiums, two fourth places and two fifth place finishes.
Having started the Act slowly, results steadily improved for the team over the course of the four days. They equalled their best Series finish of third on day three, before registering an excellent second place finish on the final day to give them real confidence for future regattas.
GAC Pindar skipper, Seve Jarvin, is the youngest skipper in a fleet which boasts a number of World and Olympic champions, including Great Britain’s Ben Ainslie and Austria’s double Olympic gold medalist, Roman Hagara.
Jarvin believes that a first win would be the springboard to more success for the team: 'The Series is extremely demanding, and the challenge it presents is shown by how many world-class sailors want to be a part of it. It was always going to be a huge learning curve for us, but we’re improving all the time, and getting to know the boat better in every single race.
'Competing against sailors of the caliber of Ben Ainslie is a fantastic feeling, and it is great for younger crews, like ourselves, to be able to learn from them. However, we’re here to beat them, and as we become more accustomed to the unique challenges of the Series, we’re confident we’ll be challenging for those top places regularly before long. Some of the results we’ve had in the last couple of races here have shown what we’re capable of – we just need to make it more consistent.'
'It is a big learning curve but we are getting there. It is a very tough fleet and we expected we would be in the deep end a little bit and now we are improving.
'The racing is totally different to what we have ever done before. This is sprint racing and starting is pretty crucial. If you don’t get off the start line well, its all over and we haven’t been starting that great in this regatta. Bit overall its getting better.
'We have a strong crew, Dave Gilmour, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth and Sam Newton. (part of Hamilton Island's Team Australia America's Cup challenger crew)
'It’s just different racing. The top boats have been on the circuit for the most of the last five years. We are looking forward to having more time in the boat.'
As the Extreme Sailing Series moves on to China, the short-term aim for the crew remains their first race victory, but the team are confident of challenging on a regular basis towards the latter stages of the competition.
GAC Pindar Tactician, Australian Ed Smyth, was part of the 2012 and 2013 Series winning crew, and is a three-time America’s Cup sailor. His extensive knowledge of Extreme 40 is key to the team’s fortunes, and he sees great potential in the young crew: 'The cohesion between the crew is key to success in this discipline. A lot of the best crews have been sailing together for years, and although we’ve only been together for a short period of time, there is huge potential within the team. We have to take each race at a time.
'The style of racing in the Series is vastly different to what most of the guys are used to. The physicality, the number of races in a day and the short turnaround time between those races is hard to get used to when you first start out. The boat is a difficult boat to sail, and the more races we take part in, the more confidence the guys will have, and results will start to improve, as shown by the second place here today.'
Briton Ian Williams is the team’s coach and, as a four times world champion, brings a wealth of match-racing experience with him.
Williams believes the younger members of the team are learning fast: 'This Series is very difficult, as we’re only allowed one day of training before each regatta, so to be able to improve quickly is very challenging. All of these guys are fantastic sailors, and are used to success in previous disciplines that they have raced in. We are working hard, but with the only chance to learn coming at each regatta, progress will take a bit of time.
'We’re working on a lot of things, in particular getting a real feel for the boat and what makes it go fast. Each member of the crew is learning how to get the best out of the vessel, and we plan to move up the field steadily as the series progresses. A lot of boys are Australian, so by the Sydney Act, we want to be standing on that podium, and there’s no reason why we can’t achieve that.'
GAC Pindar Principal, Andrew Pindar, added: 'Following a difficult opening event to the Series in Singapore, Seve and his crew have posted some strong results in Muscat, and are improving all the time. The GAC Pindar team has a reputation for investing in young sailing talent, and this is epitomized in the raw talent we have at our disposal with this crew. We are confident that as the Series progresses, they will show just how good they are, and will be battling it out for top honours alongside some of the best in the business.' Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 2, Muscat standings after Day 3, 21 races (21.03.14) Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 132 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 128 points.
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 127 points.
4th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 122 points.
5th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 118 points.
6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 105 points.
7th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 102 points.
8th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 99 points.
9th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 96 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 88 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour 59 points.
Qingdao China will host Act 3 of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series from first-4th May 2014. GAC Pindar website Extreme Sailing Series