Emirates Team NZ had a day of two halves on the third day of the Extreme Sailing Series In Qingdao, China. In contrast to the previous day of Act 3, winds were light, posing some interesting challenges for all crews.
The new afterguard combination of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, had a mixed day, starting in third overall on the leaderboard, before dropping down to fifth after some very average results. However they lifted their game in the final three races to be fourth overall, but more importantly are just two points out of second place overall, and with a 15pt cushion behind them.
Eight races were sailed, there were a few near misses, protest flags, a man overboard from SAP and a collision in the final race.
Teams are tightly bunched on the leaderboard and the stage is set once again for a final day showdown at an Extreme Sailing Series regatta.
With up to 90 points available on the fourth day and a weather forecast predicting 28-knot gusts, everything could come down to the last race which scores double points.
After 22 races, Alinghi has a 10-point lead. Only three points separate the next three teams – Realteam (123 points), The Wave (121) and Emirates Team New Zealand (120).
The first four races on Day 3 were sailed in eight knots of wind. Good starts were crucial. The fleet struggled to get across the line cleanly, on-water referees dished out penalties and called two general recalls.
Emirates Team New Zealand was not immune. Peter Burling was not happy with his first three starts but they improved as the day wore on and they won the last two races.
After five races, the southerly breeze built to 12 knots bringing with it a big swell. Burling and Glenn Ashby, Jeremy Lomas, Blair Tuke and Edwin Lomas settled in.
Burling sums up the day: 'In the last three races we really got off the start-line well, something we had been trying to do all week.
'We’re sailing better each day. We’re happy with the boat speed and hopefully we’ll be able to give it a good crack tomorrow.
'We’ll need to do the same as we did in those last races today – good starts and consistency.' Land Rover Extreme Sailing Series Qingdao: Standings after Day 3, 22 races
1st Alinghi (SUI) 133 points.
2nd Realteam (SUI) 123 points.
3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 121 points.
4th Emirates Team New Zealand 120 points.
5th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 105 points.
6th Gazprom Team Russia 96 points.
7th Oman Air (OMA) 92 points.
8th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 90 points.
9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 85 points.
10th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 81 points.
11th Team Extreme Qingdao (CHN) 80 points.
12th GAC Pindar (AUS) 66 points.
Today’s pictures are here.
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