Friday, June 8, 2012

Red Bull Rock The Casbah - Extreme 40s, Act 3 Istanbul

Roman Hagara and his Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team dominated the opening day of the Extreme Sailing Series in Istanbul today, finishing the day in pole position. The iconic Turkish city kept the sailors on their toes with the winds ranging between 2 -13 knots.
Photo: © Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame
Light winds dominated the opening races before dying away to just two knots by the end of the third race. The patience of the eight teams was tested as they waited in the scorching sunshine for more breeze and were rewarded when the breeze kicked in at 13 knots and a further three races were staged.
Photo: © Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame
Roman Hagara’s cosmopolitan crew that includes two Austrians, an Englishman, Frenchman and an Australian,  finished four out of six races in a top-three position, enough to give them a five point cushion over The Wave, Muscat at the top of the leaderboard.
Photo: © Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame
“The wind picked up and in the end it was really good racing, the best racing we've had so far. It was really good communication onboard. Things are coming together on the boat, the crew is making jokes and everybody is laughing. All the team is happy and there were a lot of smiles today,” Hagara said.
Photo: © Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and GAC Pindar challenged at the front of the fleet a couple of times with the latter managing to secure a win in race three. But both teams got buried in the middle of the fleet too many times and finished the day in third and fourth respectively. 
Photo: © Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame
“It was a day of two halves for us. We went well in the light wind races and struggled when the breeze built. I think we have to think about our set up for the windier races and how we transition between the two conditions.”  said GAC Pindar’s trimmer, Mark Bulkeley.
Photo: © Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame
Morgan Larson led his team on Oman Air to two consecutive race wins. But the team’s dominance on the leaderboard was short-lived and they finish the day in fifth. In contrast, the newest team on the circuit, SAP Extreme Sailing Team co-skippered by America’s Cup compatriots Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Kostner sailed consistently to finish one point behind Oman Air in sixth place.
Photo: © Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame
The day's most impressive performance came from Alinghi, with Vendée Globe winner Alain Gautier on the helm making his Extreme 40 debut. Gautier struggled to get out of the blocks in the first two races but by race three turned things around and went on to secure three podium finishes by the end of the day's racing.
Photo: © Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame
“The level of the fleet around us is very high, it´s tough and we are learning at each race. In this kind of racing you have to be patient and to avoid contact,” said Gauter. “We need to progress slowly but surely. We know we can race well and the key is to try to stay closet to the leader.”

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 3, Istanbul, Turkey standings after Day 1, 6 races (07.6.12)
Position / Team / Points

1st Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matthew Adams / Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche 40 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan / Ed Smyth / Pete Greenhalgh / Hashim Al Rashdi / Rachel Williamson 35 points
3rd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Hervé Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Romain Petit 28 points
4th GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Nick Rogers/ Mark Bulkeley / Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh 26 points
5th Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree / Nasser Al Mashari / Max Bulger 25 points
6th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen / Rasmus Kostner / Pete Cumming / Mikkel Rossberg / Jonas Hviid 24 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), Alain Gautier / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Christophe Lassegue / Morgane Gautie / François Verdier 23 points
8th ZouLou (FRA) Erik Maris / Philippe Mourniac / Jean-Sébastien Ponce / Bruno Jeanjean / Patrick Aucour 15 points
Quotes:

Morgan Larson – Oman Air

"We came out of the blocks pretty good in the lighter air. Managed to get a couple of wins and then we started faulting a little bit and the breeze switched and we actually had some great sailing in the last four races. Tough racing – good teams out here – I’m still learning, so we just have to take it from here."

Leigh McMillan – The Wave, Muscat

"It was pretty light generally, but there were conflicting kind of breezes taking place in the middle, so very shifty. We had a pretty solid day, we are lying second overall, but it is good just to get out of the box without any disasters. That’s kind of generally how we approach these types of events. If we are having a bad one, just try to pick off a few boats, and if things are going well we just try to convert it. These events always come down to the last day, so as long as we are in contention going into the last day then we are happy."

Erik Maris – ZouLou

"I started this event with a bit of apprehension, not about my team because they are excellent but with me as a helmsman and what I can do on the water. Fortunately the first races of the day were in light winds so that helped me to get back in the game. We didn’t perform extremely well but at least we where in the pack. We have so much margin for improvement compared to the other teams that things should improve for the next two days. The weather today was fantastic, so even if we are at the back it’s an immense pleasure to be here. Loick Peyron helmed the first two events on my team and he gave me this tip: ‘The crew are really good, so if the team is at the back it’s the helmsman’s fault!’"

Rastmus Kostner – SAP Extreme Sailing Team

"I think that in the light conditions we still struggle a bit, but the pause in the middle of the day was good for us and we came back strong and we feel that we are hanging on pretty well so we are happy with the overall results and with out new boat. It´s good to have our new boat and to be able to keep it from now on, but first we need to get used to it. The boat definitely has good potential."

Lulu Roseman

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