Extreme Sailing Series Act 2 update from Morgan Trubovich who recounts Team Artemis' exciting day three in the Chinese city of Qingdao. I told you it would be crazy! But THIS crazy?
This is only our second event as a team in the Extreme Sailing Series, but we already know what to expect in 'Stadium Racing'. Short courses, plenty of excitement and plenty of randomness. But now we have a new word to add to the description: 'carnage'!
It was a unique day in every respect. When we first got out to the course right under the city's skyscrapers there was no wind. The whole city was shrouded in fog. Every 30 seconds there was a freezing puff of wind from the sea...then 30 seconds later there was a hot wind that suddenly shot out of the city! It was crazy. You just knew this was going to be a day to remember.
We started the first race in the cold breeze from the sea. At one of the marks 'The Wave, Muscat' crashed into 'Oman Air', suffice to say that neither boat finished that race.
Then for the second race the city breeze made its intentions known! It took everybody by surprise – none more than 'The Wave, Muscat'. They were sailing downwind at high speed when suddenly a huge gust pushed their bows down. We all watched as they did a full nose dive in front of us.
Then we saw all the crew falling through the sky towards the mast and mainsail which were both now in the water. It was scary to watch. Then it got worse. As the guys landed in the water, we heard the sickening sound of cracking carbon fibre as the mast broke. This allowed the hulls to fall on top of the crew that were in the water.
Thankfully, they were not seriously injured, but they were definitely shaken! This was the end of their day. The boat and sails were towed upside down all the way back to the dock. As I write this the boat is tied up on the same marina as this morning, but still completely upside down!
As if that wasn’t enough carnage for the day, there were three more capsizes! In the last race of the day 'Red Bull Extreme Sailing' capsized. But this time instead of turning all the way upside down, the top of their mast got stuck in the mud and after some pretty good work from the safety boats they were able to right the boat....with mast and sails intact! Lucky them. Right now they are at the top of their mast pouring water down it to try to flush the mud out!
Two more teams fell prey to a capsize in the last race. 'Oman Air' had come back out to the race course after rushing one of their crew to the hospital. They flipped out in the deep water. As did 'GAC Pindar'. As I write this those two teams are still out there in the cold, with their boats upside down.
A long night ahead for all of these teams as they try to get back out for racing tomorrow. Artemis Racing website