At the pre-race press conference on the second day of Act 9 in Singapore, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild skipper Pierre Pennec told the press: “We are extremely happy to be in contention for the overall title – it’s going to be tight racing against Luna Rossa…” And the game of cat and mouse that started on the opening day, continued unabated on day 2. Paul Campbell-James, helmsman on Luna Rossa, was more emphatic stating: “We will make sure we beat them in as many races as possible!”.
The French and Italian teams are locked in a furious battle for the 2011 overall championship, and today the Italians’ game plan was on track giving Luna Rossa the advantage: “At the moment it’s working well but there are still too many races to go,” said Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena. “We are happy to be in front and we just have to do the same in the next three days. It was really hard today, really shifty and I’m really happy because normally in these conditions we struggle a little bit but today we managed to sail well.” But no one is underestimating the French team’s ability, as Pennec’s team has shown in the past with their backs against the wall, they can quickly rally and turn the tables on their adversary. Although the conditions today on Marina Bay were difficult for all the teams, Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Sailing Team has managed to retain the top spot on the Singapore leaderboard.
Tomorrow Act 9 of the Extreme Sailing Series reaches its halfway stage as the event opens to the public delivering more on-water action with Moth demo sailing and kids Optimist racing; then over the weekend the NeilPryde Racing Series will run alongside the Extreme 40 racing with 20 of Singapore’s top windsurfers, including the LED night Tron race.
Also tomorrow, WEBCAM will go live streaming the action from the race village and race course. The live stream will start at 0530-1000 GMT (1330-1800 local time in Singapore) and for those on a different time zone, you will still be able to watch the live coverage on YouTube when you’re up!
Red Bull Sailing Team’s tactician Hans Peter Steinacher, current leaders of Act 9, described the conditions today : “Today was really hard, the wind was changing all the time – down, up, down, up,”said. “Twice we started too early and one time we managed to get back to 6th but this happens. In the third race they said we were 20cms over – who can see 20cms?! Sometimes you have bad luck but you have to say ‘okay, we’re still in touch with the leaders and at the moment we are still at the front’ but it is not easy!”
Only four races were staged on the second day of Act 9 as the local conditions tested the skills of the race management and the patience of the sailors: “Well, wind all over the place sums it up!” said Race Director, Phil Lawrence. “When we first went out there the breeze was just coming out of the thunderclouds and going round in circles so we had to wait before we could lay a course and get racing underway. We then had a good 6-8 knots of breeze out of the SE and managed to get some good races in. Then the thunderclouds really started to build again over the city and as the clouds got close the wind did a complete 360. We were going round and round trying to lay a course that would be fair for the guys. It was just that kind of day.”
Dean Barker though will be happier with Emirates Team New Zealand’s performance today, posting a win in the second race of the day, to leave them in 2nd place on the leaderboard and Swiss team Alinghi climbed two places up the rankings to end the day in 6th place. Oman Air also had a better than average day and newly-appointed skipper, Chris Draper, was pleased with their performance which puts them in fourth place: “Our goal today was to finish in the top five of every race which we did,” said Draper. “We proved to ourselves yesterday we could be in the mix and we just need to learn from each day, keep that momentum and it will come good.”
The new crew on the block on Team Extreme – the first club™ were happy to win the final race but as skipper Sébastien Col explained the team is very much on a learning mission: “In the last race we rounded the first mark in front, just in front of The Wave, Muscat and ETNZ, and we managed to hold on to the end. It’s all in the starts in this Series so we have to improve on that and be more consistent.”
Position / Team / Points
1st Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk 64 points
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas 62 points
3rd Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 61 points
4th Oman Air (OMA), Chris Draper / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 55 points Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA),
5th Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 52 points
6th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 51 points
7th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 46 points
8th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Bulkeley / Andrew Walsh / Matt Cornwell 43 points
9th Team Extreme – the first club™ (FRA), Sébastien Col / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Franck Citeau / Christophe André 34 points
10th Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Charles Favre / Arnaud Psarofaghis / Nicolas Heintz 27 points