Practice day in Cardiff for the fifth round of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series and teams got a taste of things to come over the next few days.
Starting the day in a light 4-6 knots, the breeze built quickly with gusts to 20 knots. Sails were reefed and, for reasons of safety, guests were absent from the back of the boats.
The forecast for the first two race days is for a light to medium breeze, but by the final day on Monday it will be back to 20 plus knots.
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker and tactician Ray Davies were pleased with the workout in the strong breeze. 'I think we’re in for some excitement this week,' he said.
Barker, back on an Extreme 40 for the first time since the Muscat regatta in March, said: 'It seems like a long time since I was last on the boat. Today I could see a big lift in the standard across the fleet.'
'Practice went well. This is a challenging and unforgiving venue and we have plenty to work on.'
He predicts a difficult regatta. 'We will have to work hard to retain or improve our third ranking on the leader board.' Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Leader board after four regattas
1st Alinghi 38 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat 35 points
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand, 32 points
4th Realstone, 28 points
5th Gazprom Team Russia, 19 points
6th J.P Morgan BAR, 17 points
7th SAP Extreme Sailing Team, 14 points
8th Red Bull Sailing Team, 13 points
9th Groupama, 13 points
10th Oman Air, 11 points
11th GAC Pindar, 4 points