Friday, 27 June 2014

Extreme Sailing Series, underway in St Petersburg

From the following press release on the Extreme Sailing Series website:

In 2014, David ‘Freddie’ Carr, a former winner of the Extreme Sailing Series™ provides an expert insight into the global tour, as part of the live commentary team. Freddie, who was recently announced as a crewmember with Ben Ainslie Racing for the British America’s Cup challenge, looks ahead to Act 4, Saint Petersburg, where he predicts the potential for a shake-up in the Series standings.

I think you can draw a line in the sand after the first three Acts, and now it’s time for the new teams on the block for 2014 to stop talking about being the new teams. We’ve had two stadium venues (Singapore and Qingdao) and one open water venue (Muscat) so far this year, and it’s been no surprise that at the stadium venues, in the really tricky Extreme 40 style conditions, that the old hands - The Wave, Muscat and Alinghi have come to the fore. Whereas in Muscat, a more open water venue, with what you could call more ‘classical sailing’ we saw a top six boat shoot-out. Going into Saint Petersburg we’re moving into what could be the trickiest sailing venue of the year and arguably of all time. One of the main reasons for that is the current.

Having spoken to the boys building the boats out in Russia today, they’ve taken a look at the racecourse already – it’s super light, and the current is ripping. This racing will always be about boat speed and boat handling, but in this new venue I really believe the pre-race strategy where the teams will talk about the way they’ll manoeuvre in these conditions will be so important. I think it’s going to be really tricky like Singapore, but magnified.

Looking at the results so far it’s been about The Wave, Muscat and Alinghi, but you can’t look too far beyond Emirates Team New Zealand, who are the newest team to have come in and effectively done the best. Dean Barker came in and did a great job at the first two Acts, and then the team changed to Pete Burling. There was a lot of pressure on Pete, and people were looking at the team thinking, this might be the time they have their wobble, but to be fair to him, he’s sailed superbly and got a third in China. The team have changed crew again, and in my opinion they’ve arguably got one of the best, if not the best tacticians in the world with Ray Davies, and this might be the perfect place for Ray to come and join the fleet. Having sailed a bit with Ray, what he’s awesome at is the bits in-between the races (obviously he’s amazing at the racing!). Ray’s one of those guys that can look up the course, read the water superbly well and then really communicate his plan to the crew, so that everybody’s reading off the same hymn sheet. We’ve seen from our SAP Analytics that Emirates Team New Zealand do well in the light winds – but I wonder if this is the event where they go and lift the cup.

read more here

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