The opening day of the Extreme Sailing Series? Act 4 at the Fan Pier in Boston proved to be a challenging one as the 11 Extreme 40 teams made their USA debut.
Finding the best lanes of pressure and speed was the big ask of the day as the breeze fluctuated in strength and direction with the Fan Pier backdrop throwing in some wind holes for good measure, especially at the finish area only metres from the shore and the crowds. For some it presented opportunities, for others lost opportunities, rapid places changes were the order of the day but on top by one point was Terry Hutchinson
(USA), driving Artemis Racing
: "It's nice to come off today in this position but you know the racing is only going to get harder not easier and we're mindful that we've got probably another 25-28 races to go. It is intense and full on the entire time,"
said Terry. "Boston is such an awesome city to sail in and provided a great race track today."
It was a great comeback for Leigh Mcmillan
(GBR) who took over as skipper and helm of The Wave, Muscat
. In 2010 McMillan helmed Ecover
into third place overall but at the morning's press conference he was reticent about his hopes at his first 2011 event. These were quickly dispelled with a win in the first race and two more out of the seven races staged on the opening day: "I really just wanted to take it easy and in a way we did but when the race starts you just have to take every opportunity as it comes and that's what we did
," said Leigh. "We didn't have good starts but it was very shifty conditions and there were a lot of opportunities to overtake which is where we came into our own and made big gains in all of the races. I did not expect at all to be in second place so I am really thrilled with the day and thrilled to be sailing with these guys."
's Red Bull Extreme Sailing
pulled off two race wins in the final two races and consistency in the earlier races secured third place overall going into the second day. No doubt his team was inspired by the Red Bull Air Force skydivers who provided a stunning opening stunt to kickstart racing. The two parachutists performing loops on their descent, releasing smoke flares before landing on the floating pontoon right in front of the crowds with impressive precision.
Special guest and two-time Velux 5 Oceans victor, Brad Van Liew, dropped by to experience his first Extreme 40 ride as guest 5th man: "First time being at an event, let alone getting a ride and with Dean Barker so really a fun thing to do. For those that came down to the venue to watch its fantastic because we've had all these huge lead changes. Great fun to watch and even more exciting to see up and close
." For Brad who is more used to racing ocean-going monohulls, the lightweight Extreme 40s came as a breath of fresh air: "These things can go from 0-20 knots in a couple of boat lengths and they can also go from 20-0 knots in a couple of boat lengths so when they sail into a windless hole, they pile in on top of each other which reconsolidates the race. I can imagine sailing one in 25 knots would change your 'fun-meter' level!"
With Act 4 being part of the Boston Harborfest 4th July celebrations there is plenty for the public to enjoy over the coming days with 49er sailing, music on the main stage every night, street performers and more skydiving from the Red Bull Air Force.
Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 at Fan Pier Boston, USA
Current overall standings after 7 races, Day 1 (30.6.11)
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1. Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Julien Cressant - 60 points
2. The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri - 59 points
3. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk - 54 points
4. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham - 46 points
5. Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena - 44 points
6. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Adam Beashel / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas - 43 points
7. Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari - 41 points
8. Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari - 35 points
9. Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey - 28 points
10. Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth - 26 points
11. Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Bob Merrick - 25 points
Overall Standings Extreme Sailing Series 2011