EXTREME SAILING SERIES – Despite Act 2 not opening officially to the public until tomorrow, thousands thronged to the breakwater to see the Extreme 40s in action on the first day of racing. The biggest support went out to China Team in their Extreme 40 debut and with two men-overboard incidents, the action was full-on. But it was the Austrian team of Red Bull Sailing skippered by Roman Hagara with his Olympic partner, Hans Peter Steinacher as tactician, who used their knowledge of the Olympic waters to edge ahead and top the leaderboard by the end of play on day 1.
Six open-water races were staged today, which saw four different race winners. Racing took place just outside of the breakwater, close enough for the public to follow the action, during a light breeze day, which required shrewd tactics from the sailors, as Roman Hagara explained: “It was difficult because of the light winds and their was a lot of tide so it was fairly unpredictable out there. If you were in a good position on the start line then you would do well. By the end of the day the wind had picked up and we could get the hull out of the water.”
The battle at the top of the leaderboard was supremely close between Red Bull Sailing Team, The Wave, Muscat and GAC Pindar. The British crew led by match-racing supremo Ian Williams on GAC Pindar made an early bid for the leaderboard, claiming the first race win of the Act, but Leigh McMillan’s The Wave, Muscat were waiting to pounce, claiming victory in the following two races. McMillan went on to win an impressive third race in race five of the day, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Hagara’s men: “It was a really good day for us – we are happy with the result,” said McMillan. “Red bull had an outstanding day and even when we were winning races they were right behind us so it was very difficult for us to get away from them.” MORE STORY