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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Extreme 40 Crews Challenged On Opening Day in Saint Petersburg

Set against a city backdrop, the Neva River provided the playground for the first day of Stadium Racing at Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Saint Petersburg. Some teams thrived while others suffered within the confines of the tight stadium racecourse, which is just 300 metres wide at its narrowest point.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Testing conditions saw the crews battle massive wind shifts and a four-knot current across the racecourse, but Morgan Larson and the team on Alinghi were the picture of consistency that saw them take an early nine point lead.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We were pretty terrible yesterday in the practice, so today we came out with a little different attitude. We had decent starts, we tried to stay on the opposite side of the racetrack to the rest of the boats so that every time we split from the group we had cleaner air and finally, a little bit of luck went our way and things worked out for us. It's a challenging venue and it's going to keep being challenging throughout the week,” Larson said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Four races were sailed before an increasing current and decreasing breeze shut proceedings down, forcing Race Management to abandon the racing. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“Today was incredibly challenging for the sailors and they did a great job. We managed to get four reasonable races in, but I was forced to abandon the fifth race when the wind stopped, which was a shame but it was the right thing to do. We attempted to start a sixth race but by then the wind was just too light,” explained Race Director Phil Lawrence.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
 Three race winners emerged from the four races, with Alinghi taking two and the Swiss Realteam and Gazprom Team Russia winning one each. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“I think good starts are essential, and we did some good starts to be ahead of the game. You then have to be on the right shift at the right moment - if you take the shift at the right time, you can really jump ahead to the front. If you're in the front at the first mark, it's pretty easy afterwards. I wouldn't say this racecourse is any more difficult to anywhere else we've been, but the current made the racing really different. We just have to stay consistent, sail well as a team and then the points will follow,” Realteam’s skipper Jerome Clerc said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Saint Petersburg marks the halfway stage of the 2014 global tour, and the teams are really starting to feel the pressure as the Series moves into the ‘business end’. At this mornings press conference, which officially opened Act 4, defending champion Leigh McMillan described the level of competition in the Series as ”getting tougher and tougher each year,” but the Omani team, who is currently second on the overall Series leaderboard, were cool as ice today, keeping it consistent with three third places to finish the day in second place – two points ahead of Realteam.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Another point back in fourth place is Emirates Team New Zealand, and the new combination of Ray Davies calling tactics and Peter Burling on the helm, were unphased by both the fickle breeze and strong current, steadily improving their results throughout the day to finish in fourth. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It's been a pretty good battle out here, we're happy with our starts and we've got off the line pretty clean. The crew is doing a great job trimming the sails, and getting us around the course into some good lines,” Burling said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Olympic champion Nathan Wilmot made his debut on the stadium racecourse today after only stepping onboard the GAC Pindar Extreme 40 for the first time yesterday, and impressed with two fifth places. The Australian-outfit finish the day in ninth place, a point behind Gazprom Team Russia, in what is shaping up to be an extremely close, and hard fought week of Stadium Racing. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It was interesting out there today, really shifty and hard conditions, but it was good fun. This is only my ninth day of steering a catamaran ever, so we're just trying to build our experience, get a good team together, create a platform and try and build on from it from there,” Wilmot said. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Despite the difficult sailing conditions that saw the positions changing with every race, all the crews were in agreement that this is a spectacular racecourse, and before racing, the Land Rover Extreme Sailing Team and SAP Extreme Sailing Team took advantage of the 'White Night' in the heart of Saint Petersburg, sailing in the early hours of the morning, against a spectacular cityscape.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Saint Petersburg presented by Land Rover standings after Day 1, 4 races (26.06.14) 
Position / Team / Points

1. Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 37.
2. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 28.
3. Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Denis Girardet, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem 26 points.
4. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Peter Burling, Ray Davies, Blair Tuke, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 25 points.
5. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 22 points.
6. J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Phil Sparks, Matt Cornwell 20 points.
7.  Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Romain Motteau, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 17 points.
8.  Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Matt Adams, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 16 points.
9. GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, James Wierzbowski 15 points.
10.  Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 11 points.
11.  Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 7 points.
12.  RussianFirst (RUS) Georgy Shayduko, Sergey Dzhienbaev, Pavel Kalinchev, Leonid Kazinets, Pavel Karachov 4 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

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