Austria’s Red Bull Team rules Extreme Sailing Series opening day
Cardiff, Wales, United States (4E Sports) – Red Bull Sailing Team of Austria survived gusty conditions Friday to rule the first day of action in the Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Cardiff Bay.
Red Bull, led by skipper Roman Hagara, blasted through tight courses with speeds of up to 25.4 knots (29 mph) to claim solo lead with 55 points, besting eight other Extreme 40s.
“This was racing on the edge up to 25 knots of wind but we never lost control of the boat. It’s nice to be in first place but there are still three days to go. We have to focus and to concentrate and we can win,” said Hagara.
Oman Air and GAC Pindar of Great Britain finished in a tie for second with 50 points apiece while SAP Extreme Sailing Team of Denmark had 44 points and Oman’s other entry — The Wave, Muscat – ended with 43 points.
Rounding up the standings were Alinghi with 39 points, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with 36 points, ZouLou with 22 points and Team Wales garnered 20 points after its 62-foot mast came crashing down due to strong winds but it is expected to return to action Saturday.
Oman Air’s American skipper Morgan Larson said good boat handling and few mistakes keyed their second-place finish.
“It was a wild day, things happened quick and it was some of the tightest courses and some of the strongest wind we’ve had and that made it pretty exciting,” said Larson, who has four America’s Cup campaigns under his belt and three Maxi World Championships
“It was kind of hectic, there were tight corners, it was gusty, shifty, and basically we’re happy to have got through that day without any damage. The racing today was tactical, but boat handling was really the key today, that is really what got us through, sharp boat handling by all the guys,” he added.
Several sports starts participated in the race, with ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan joining Andrew Walsh’s team on GAC Pindar while some of Britain’s top sailing talents Olympic silver medalists Luke Patience and Saskia Clark, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Paul Goodison and Team GB match racer Kate MacGregor tried Extreme 40s racing.