Emirates Team New Zealand is taking to the water in Singapore this week at the first of the Extreme 40 Series 2014 championships.
Fresh from a remarkable success in the World A Class championships which ended in Auckland at the weekend, the sailing team steps up a notch in Singapore.
From the single-handed 18ft A Class cats at Auckland, they step into a 40ft cat with a crew of five.
It will be a baptism by fire – the team last raced the Extreme 40 catamaran in 2011.
Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, Jeremy Lomas, James Dagg and a member of the Royal New Zealand youth training scheme Edwin De Latt (17) will crew the Extreme 40. Eight regattas are scheduled this year.
Dean Barker says the Singapore regatta will be a challenge. 'We are really excited to be sailing as a team again but we know we have a lot of ground to make up on the teams that have been competing regularly since 2011.
'The breeze is always light and on the tight, inshore courses the fleet will arrive at the marks locked together. Mark roundings can be interesting.
'Each race takes only eight to 12 minutes and there can be six to eight races a day, so positions on the leader board are never secure.'
The sailing team will dovetail the Extreme 40 regattas into other commitments. Barker has commitments to wider team operations and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke will fit racing around their Olympic 49er programme.
Barker will helm the first two regattas and Burling the third a fourth. In all Barker will race in five of the eight regattas.
Emirates Team New Zealand sailing team members had the measure of the A Class fleet of 81 competitors. Four of the top places on the leader board were taken by the team.
AC72 wing trimmer Glenn Ashby was at the head of the fleet after the nine races, winning his eighth world A Class title.
Blair Tuke was second and Peter Burling third. Ray Davies, tactician on the AC72, was fifth.