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Danes dominate on day one of wet and wild Extreme Sailing Series™ Cardiff competition

by Extreme Sailing Series 24 Aug 2018 20:14 PDT 24-27 August 2018
Extreme Sailing Series™ Cardiff 2018 - day one - SAP Extreme Sailing Team © Vincent Curutchet / Lloyd Images

Despite the heavy rain and grey skies, SAP Extreme Sailing Team shone on the water today at the Extreme Sailing Series™ Cardiff, winning five of the day's eight races.

Initial postponement due to rain squalls evolved into high octane racing on Welsh waters, as the seven international teams went full throttle around the racecourse, determined to take the top spot in the only UK Act of the 2018 Series.

Visibility may not have been the best, but this was no problem for the Danes who always had the first place finish firmly within their sights.

"It's great to be leading the fleet," said skipper Rasmus Køstner with a smile. "It was a challenging day with a lot of breeze. We really needed to keep it tight around the racecourse, but we had good starts so well done to the team. It's a short course here but it makes the sailing very entertaining to watch."

Despite their consistent podium finishes, the Danish squad requested a number of damage delays throughout the Cardiff opener.

"We had a few breakdowns with winches and locks which hold the sail at the top of the rig," explained their helm Adam Minoprio. "We managed to survive though, so it was a really good day for us overall."

It was no surprise that INEOS Rebels UK also performed well in today's conditions, the team evidently accustomed to the typical UK weather. Putting in a repeat performance of their podium success in Cascais, Portugal, the Brits bagged two bullets with a total of six podium finishes clocked over the course of the day.

"Today saw some solid boat work from the team," said the team's pleased skipper, Will Alloway. "There were a couple of small errors which we can definitely sort out tomorrow but I've got great confidence in the crew heading into the end of the season."

Having suffered a number of challenging setbacks so far this year, Red Bull Sailing Team hit the racecourse with all guns blazing, ending the day with a place on the podium in third.

However, the Austrians fine form appeared to tail off in the final two races, in which the team fell towards the back of the fleet.

"We knew Cardiff would be tricky," admitted the team's double Olympic gold medallist skipper, Roman Hagara. "You can gain a lot when you assess all the options you have, and that's what the team did during racing. We had a few bad races but we're looking forward to tomorrow."

Being fast learners and always improving, the tenacious crew on Team México were also seen breaking into the top positions today. Taking two consecutive third place finishes in races five and six, the Mexicans gave the Cardiff crowds a glimpse of the sheer talent they're sure to showcase on home waters in Los Cabos at the end of the 2018 season.

"We had two thirds back to back, which was great for us," enthused the team's skipper, Erik Brockmann. "The start of the day was pretty hard as we finished last in two races, but that's the good thing about having eight races a day - we were able to fight back and the team did amazingly."

Despite their string of Act wins, the Series frontrunners - Swiss team Alinghi - today suffered an array of setbacks on the water.

"We had some issues because Nils Frei, our headsail trimmer, had a minor injury in the first race," explained co-skipper and helm, Arnaud Psarofaghis. "We tried to compete in the second race but he couldn't continue. Gillies Monroe, the reserve sailor from INEOS Rebels was able to come on board, so thanks to the team."

The Flying Phantom fleet took to the water this morning for the first day of their Series finale. Big breeze saw the boats fly around the course, but it was far from plain sailing for some of the top dogs. Both Team France Jeune and Culture Foil suffered mishaps on the water, both resulting in capsizes.

"During the third race of the day, we capsized during a gybe and snapped the mast," explained Team France Jeune's crew, Antoine Rucard. "It was a bit dramatic but the boat is okay, it was just the mast that suffered some damage."

Both French teams will join the rest of the fleet on the start line tomorrow morning at 10:00 BST/UTC+1.

GC32 racing is scheduled to begin at 14:00 BST/UTC+1. Days three and four will be streamed LIVE on Facebook and YouTube. The free-to-enter Fan Zone is open from 11:00 tomorrow, with a range of activities available for all the family.

For more information, please visit the Extreme Sailing Series website.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2018 Cardiff Standings after Day 1: (8 races)

1st, SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Adam Minoprio, Julius Hallström, Hervé Cunningham, Richard Mason: 87 pts
2nd, INEOS Rebels UK (GBR) Will Alloway, Leigh McMillan, Oli Greber, Adam Kay, Mark Spearman: 82 pts
3rd, Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Chris Taylor, Ed Powys, Neil Hunter, Dan Morris, Rhys Mara: 73 pts
4th, Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, Gillies Monroe: 72 points
5th, Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Stewart Dodson, Nasser Al Mashari: 69 pts
6th, Team México (MEX) Erik Brockmann, Tom Buggy, Alex Higby, Tom Phipps, Danel Belausteguigoitia Fierro: 62 pts
7th, Team Wales (GBR) Adam Piggott, Alain Sign, Martin Evans, Gareth Fowler, Peter McCoy: 56 pts

Flying Phantom Series Cardiff Standings after Day 1: (4 races)

1st, Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Olivia Mackay, Micah Wilkinson: 78 pts
2nd, Idreva Zephyr Foiling (FRA) Charles Hainneville, Thibault Julien: 73 pts
3rd, Flying Frogs (FRA) Pierre Le Clainche, Arnaud Vasseur: 68 pts
4th, Team France Jeune (FRA) Solune Robert, Antoine Rucard: 65 pts
5th, EVO Visian ICL (GER) Raphael Neuhann, Elias Neuhann: 61 pts
6th, Culture Foil (FRA) Nicolas Ferellec, Théo Constance: 59 pts
7th, Masterlan (CZE) David Krizek, Milan Harmacek: 59 pts

Testing conditions for Oman Air team as Extreme Sailing Series returns to Cardiff, UK (from Oman Sail)

Strong gusts of wind and persistent squalls produced challenging conditions on Cardiff Bay for the Oman Air team as the Extreme Sailing Series began four days of intense high-speed racing.

With clouds, wind and rain sweeping across the stadium-style race course in the Welsh capital, there were several delays for repairs for a number of the teams between the eight races sailed.

Though boasting a strong record over the previous six years at the Cardiff venue, the Oman Air crew of skipper Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari, Stewart Dodson and James Wierzbowski finished the day in an untypical fifth place, though only three points behind overall Extreme Sailing Series season leaders Alinghi, who also found the conditions hard going.

"Because of the conditions the fleet sailed with reefed smaller mainsails, which was not a good sail configuration for us," said Extreme Sailing Series veteran Greenhalgh.

"We had some good starts but we struggled at various stages, so we will be looking ahead to the three days and aiming to climb the table.

"While it was great to have plenty of wind today, hopefully the weather will improve over the next few days!"

Also hoping for improved, not least warmer conditions, was Oman Air bowman Al Mashari.

"I have raced in many places around the world, but today was a challenge – so cold – not like any conditions you would find in Oman even in the winter," he said.

"But we will be back out tomorrow and working hard to get some strong results to help our position. With three days to go there will be opportunities."

Overall the first day of the Cardiff Act belonged to the Danish-flagged SAP Extreme Sailing Team who took five wins from eight races to finish with 90 points, eight ahead of INEOS Rebels UK.

Red Bull Sailing Team finished the day in third spot with 73 points, one ahead of Alinghi with Oman Air hot on their heels on 69 points.

Racing resumes in Cardiff tomorrow and continues until Monday, 27 August.

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