It was another action-packed, full pressure day at the Extreme Sailing Series. After yesterday’s collision between Artemis Racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild in the fourth race, the breezy conditions continued today (Monday, 8th August), and it was in the sixth race when the Extreme 40 ‘Aberdeen Asset Management’ cart-wheeled spectacularly in gusty 20-25 knot conditions that were pushing the fleet to their limits.
The British Extreme 40 team helmed by John Pink was charging downwind with reefed mainsail and gennaker, sandwiched between Italian team Niceforyou and Austria’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing. The bows dug in as a big gust hit all three boats, and with no room to manoeuvre, the boat cart-wheeled, flipped almost vertical, before capsizing: “We felt we were in control mainly and kept going a bit quicker today than we had on the other days,” said John Pink. “Coming down that run it just all got very close and the breeze kind of seemed to fill in behind so everyone bunched up a little bit and then we had no where to go!” The four crew (John Pink, Rick Peacock, Gregory Homann, John Gimson) hung on to the trampoline and all the crew were safe and unhurt. The experienced Olympic 49er sailors of Pink and Peacock have been putting in a great performance in the windy conditions over the last three days with two podium results today. “We were very happy, it was coming together and hopefully we can put the boat back together for tomorrow hopefully,” continued Pink. “We will work on it pretty hard tonight, sort everything out so it is back in shape and we’ll be back in the water tomorrow with a bit of luck.”
Once again, the Extreme 40 fleet had been split into groups to race on the tight stadium course off Egypt Point, but these excluded Artemis Racing who was unable to repair their significant damage from the crash yesterday and are out of Act 5. In the first race it was Leigh McMillan at the helm of The Wave, Muscat who led the way, the crew working slickly together in the testing conditions, and won the first race ahead of John Pink’s Aberdeen Asset Management. In the second race, it was Oman Air who came to the fore ahead of Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar after a close battle. By race 3, the French team Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were back racing – pretty impressive as the team only craned the boat back into the water just 2 hours before racing started – and Pierre Pennec nailed their first race ahead of the Italians on Niceforyou. Team GAC Pindar and Luna Rossa then both got a win in the following two races with Leigh McMillan getting his second win of the day in the final race. After three days and 16 races, and going into the midway point of Act 5, Luna Rossa tops the leaderboard with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild moving up to 2nd overall in the standings having been given redress for the races they missed.
Another busy night in the pitlane to get Aberdeen Asset Management back racing tomorrow but certainly feasible with a spare mast available.