Extreme Sailing Series 2014- Realstone throw down the gauntlet on open
by ESS Media on 21 Feb 2014
The much-anticipated opening regatta of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series began today in Singapore under the gaze of the city’s soaring skyscrapers, with eight races producing six different winners. The Swiss-flagged Realtstone were the form team, executing a consistent strategy in the trying conditions, to finish the opening day of the global tour top of the leaderboard - their best result since joining the circuit last year. Some of the newer teams struggled to get to grips with the stadium racecourse, posting a mixed bag of results and a crash between defending champions The Wave, Muscat and GAC Pindar will leave the Aussies with a night of repairs ahead.
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 1. Singapore.
Credit - Lloyd Images © Lloyd Images
Realstone played a low risk game, setting up for manoeuvres and executing them precisely to give themselves breathing space on the packed racecourse. Eight races were sailed – the first of up to 300 this year – and in the continually shifting breeze, which ranged from 4-10 knots with slightly bigger gusts, the teams’ tacticians had it all on.
On such a compact course, and with such short, intense races, the mark roundings were nail bitingly close, and those on shore found themselves holding their breath as the Extreme 40s seemingly created space where there was none. In the sixth race of the day, The Wave, Muscat and GAC Pindar found out just how tight the course is, when the Omani boat t-boned the Aussies. Skipper of The Wave, Muscat, Leigh McMillan, said, 'We were both approaching on starboard, they were a little ahead of us, they went in for a tack, we were on starboard, they were on port side, then at the last minute when it looked like they weren’t going to avoid us we tried to miss them, but there was nowhere for us we could really go. We tried to bear away and it didn’t look like it was really going to happen, i tried to smash it into a tack and in doing so lost grip of the tiller and tripped over, and unfortunately went into them. I wasn’t expecting them to continue to tack onto port and was expecting some kind of avoiding action which is the normal course, and as a result we had a crash. It was a shame.'
Many of the fleet struggled for consistency today, and none more so than newcomers Emirates Team New Zealand and J.P. Morgan BAR, who finished the day with two race wins a piece – but also a handful of last places. Skipper of J.P Morgan BAR, Ben Ainslie commented, 'We’re all having to learn pretty quickly, and certainly in this tight venue - even for the experienced guys it’s pretty tough, because the wind changes so quickly and then you have to manoeuvre. Everyone had an up and down day, but I’m sure it was fantastic to watch for the spectators, it’s a fantastic venue and we really enjoyed it. It’s a really strong fleet, I did a couple of races two or three seasons ago but I can imagine it’s one of the toughest fields we’ve ever had.'
'We’ve just got to keep trying to improve, we’re obviously very new to this so we really learnt a lot today. We will have to go away, look at what we can improve on and as there’s so many races, just keep doing the best we can.'
There is little light on the leaderboard after day one, with just 18 points separating first placed Realstone from eighth placed Oman Air. The defending champion, The Wave, Muscat, Gazprom Team Russia, GAC Pindar and the local boat Team Aberdeen Singapore have a bit of catching up to do – and with up to 24 races still to come, there is plenty of opportunity to do it.
The Promontory@Marina Bay will provide a temporary residence for the 12 Extreme 40s for the next three days of stadium racing, and if today’s racing is anything to go by, Act 1 with the support of local event main partner Aberdeen Asset Management could be anyone’s game. The racing will be streamed live online tomorrow from 1600 -1730 local time around the world – watch it on the official event website, www.extremesailingseries.com.
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 1, Singapore standings after Day 1, 8 races (20.02.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 56 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 48 points.
3rd Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 48 points.
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 46 points.
5th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 44 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Haylee Outteridge 43 points.
7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 39 points.
8th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 38 points.
9th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 29 points.
10th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 28 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, Alexandra South 20 points.
12th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Nick Moloney, Adam Beashel, Scott Glen Sydney, Tom Dawson, Justin Wong 17 points.