Extreme Sailing Series Istanbul saw another thrilling day in Act 3 with strong winds and numerous collisions. Luna Rossa had to take a break in order to inspect damage after first colliding with Team GAC Pindar and again with Artemis Racing. Luna Rossa and Team GAC Pindar will be back tomorrow and will no doubt come out swinging.
The team that started the second day on top, Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing, has extended their lead even further from one point yesterday to 19 points today after another seven races. The other two event podium places are now currently occupied by Alinghi, skippered by Tanguy Cariou and helmed by Yann Guichard, in second:
'The first two events were very difficult for us as we are a new team,' explained Guichard. 'We need to get to know how to work together. We are improving every day, in every race so we are happy till now, everything is coming together well.' But they will have to keep raising there game in this fiercely contested field as the Swiss team are on equal points with Dean’s Barker’s Kiwi team Emirates Team New Zealand going into the halfway stage tomorrow, as Guichard conceded: 'The game is really tight out there. It's fun, very fun but you you're not allowed to make one mistake!'
Overall series leaders Groupe Edmond de Rothschild from France bounced back from a difficult start yesterday - seventh this morning - up to fifth by the end of play today. And Roman Hagara’s Austrian Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team also climbed two places:
'It was a little mad on the water today,' said Hagara. 'Lots of up and down, lots of close finishes and close marks roundings. You can see some teams leading on one race and finishing last on the next one. The general level of the fleet is going up and that's good to see five different winners out of seven races today. I'm really happy with my team, we're having fun and loving it here. That's the first time we are racing in Istanbul and it's absolutely fantastic.'
The conditions were similar to yesterday with seven to ten knots of breeze and some fierce gusts that quickly turned these 40-foot Extreme 40 racing machines into one big handful for the 44 sailors representing some of the best in the sport. The short two-lap races lasting just 10-12 minutes, saw the sailors grappling with their huge gennakers as they flew into the downwind mark and it required slick handling to avoid a major incident:
'The racing is pretty brutal out there but we keep improving,' said Barker. 'We had a couple of shockers, but you know, you need to deal with what you get and try to do things a little bit better each time, and make less mistakes. Of course there's a lot we can do better, but we jump on every opportunity we can and try to make the best out it.'
Alberto Barovier’s team Niceforyou scored two second places today lifting them from 11th place into 10th. The all-Italian team enjoyed their first race win in Muscat and it is sure another one is on the cards as the team gets to grips with the Extreme 40 under the tutelage of 2010 series winner crew member, Mark Bulkley.
Tomorrow Act 3 moves up a gear into stadium sailing format as the doors open to the public here in Istanbul. For now the 44 sailors are resting, bruised boats being patched up, but the 11 Extreme 40s will all be back in front of the public tomorrow.