The ever changing conditions on the second day of racing at the Extreme Sailing Series? Act 4 in Boston, resulted in a game of snakes and ladders for many of the 11 Extreme 40 teams and leaves Act 4 wide open going into the halfway stage.
After another seven races today there have been a significant number of place changes on the overall leaderboard, although Terry Hutchinson's crew on Artemis Racing extended their lead at the top ahead of The Wave, Muscat by seven points. So no change for the top two, however Dean Barker's Emirates Team New Zealand strong performance today moved the Kiwi team up to third place: "We were really happy with today
," commented Dean back on the dockside at Fan Pier. "We won four races and sailed in good shape for the rest. In the last race we copped a penalty and managed to fall back three places, so we were actually pretty happy with how we continued as it would have been easy to give up but we finished in 8th which is good, and an improvement on yesterday
The racing started out in really light and fluky winds. In the first race, won by Emirates Team New Zealand,
three boats fell foul of the time limit rule for not finishing within six minutes of the winning boat. It wasn't until the fourth race that the sea breeze really filled in and stabilized. Then the boat speeds picked up and the action moved up a few gears delighting the Boston crowd who turned out in force.
The Swiss team of Alinghi
, skippered by Tanguy Cariou, after a mixed bag of results yesterday, came back strongly in the second half to climb from ninth to sixth place. Unfortunately, for Austrian skipper Roman Hagara, skipper of the popular Red Bull Extreme Sailing
team, a collision in the fifth race with Team GAC Pindar
put them out of action with damage to their rudder system, and the team has dropped from third to eighth. Undoubtedly, Hagara's team will be seeking points redress as the fault for the collision sits with Team GAC Pindar
For many of the teams new to the circuit, the experience of three events already under their belts is starting to pay as they accelerate up the learning curve. Italy's Niceforyou
is in a great battle mid-leaderboard, only two points behind Alinghi
, and skipper Alberto Barovier is clearly enjoying the experience: "The racing is pretty tricky
," said Alberto. "We survived two days with a good consistency on results which is very good for us and an improvement on the other venues. We are looking forward to doing better tomorrow and the next day."
The final race of the day was one of joy for Roland Gaebler's Team Extreme
who posted their first win of the regatta with American 470 Olympic silver medalist Bob Merrick onboard, and one of huge disappointment for the Pierre Pennec's French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild
. The team crossed the line first but touched the finish mark and was instantly penalized, forcing them to re-cross the finish line. Pennec was visibly unhappy with his sixth place but the French team are still very much in the running having posted multiple second places for the day, and maintaining their fourth place overall.
A day of frustration for many and joy for others but there are still many more points up for grabs and no one is placing any bets on which teams will be standing on the podium come Monday. "It's just all about getting to Monday with a chance to win,"
said Terry. "Everyone is so good but I am very hungry to win here
." And with more breeze forecast for the final two days, the action is going to get hotter and hotter.
Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino visited the Extreme Sailing Series Race Village at Fan Pier to see the action first-hand: "It's very special to have the Extreme Sailing Series in Fan Pier
," said the Mayor. "Boston has a great harbour but to have these boats here is a very special time for us. We hope that the sailors have a great time and we hope that the event comes back in future. This could be the start of a great tradition in our city and I want to thank everyone involved in this for choosing Boston to be the place to come in America. In short this is awesome. There is no better place and time to be in America than on 4th of July on Boston harbour.
The Extreme Sailing Series Race Village at Fan Pier was rocking until late last night culminating in a fantastic firework display and there is palpable party atmosphere in the build up to Monday's Independence Day celebrations.
Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 at Fan Pier Boston, USA
Current overall standings after 14 races, Day 2 (1.7.11)
Position / Team / Skipper & crew / Points
1. Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Julien Cressant - 114
2. The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri - 107
3. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Adam Beashel / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas - 106
4. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham - 101
5. Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena - 88
6. Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey - 78
7. Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Mark Bulkeley / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari - 76
8. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk - 70
9. Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari - 69
10. Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Bob Merrick - 57
11. Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Andrew Walsh / Jono Macbeth - 44
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."
Roman Hagara'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