The first day of the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series Act 3, Barcelona did not disappoint, with big breeze propelling the high-speed GC32 catamarans around the course from the word go.
Incredible wind and boat speed throughout the day saw the teams fly towards each mark, using clever tactics to push past their competitors at each busy rounding. Foiling at full-pelt, hitting speeds of up to 26.2kts, these boys meant business.
Austrian challenger, Red Bull Sailing Team, shot straight into the limelight. Charging through the ranks, the crew demonstrated exemplary boat handling, clocking five podium finishes over the course of the day.
Red Bull Sailing Team Sport Director, Hans Peter Steinacher, was thrilled with today's results, the crew having suffered a few blows to the points in both Act 1, Muscat, Oman and the GC32 World Championship in Riva del Garda, Italy.
“The team is young and the sailors play on the playground out there,” he said. “This is how you win Extreme Sailing Series events. They are focussed – you have to create your own mode but as a team, we are really strong.”
“There's always more to work on though,” added a cautious Roman Hagara, the team's skipper. “Still, if we keep doing what we're doing, we'll be fine.”
The Austrian contingent hopes to improve on last year's result in Barcelona, where they eventually finished third after a tough battle with Oman Air.
Snapping at the heels of Red Bull Sailing Team, last year's Barcelona Act winners Oman Air also showed fighting form. Their GC32 foiled with finesse but a few poor decisions forced extra manoeuvres, wasting time and costing them several places in the rankings.
“The conditions were really tricky out there today,” Skipper Phil Robertson explained. “Staying stable on the foils is difficult in a relatively big sea state. It was actually very hard to get the boat in a good mode and sail simply. We'll be working on that for tomorrow.”
Current Series frontrunners SAP Extreme Sailing Team sailed true to form once again, finishing the day just behind Red Bull Sailing Team in second. However, it was all eyes on comeback kids Alinghi in the final races, following issues with their mainsail that caused a retirement from race three, and prevented their participation in race four. They were pulling no punches upon their return to the racecourse, snatching a win from Red Bull Sailing Team in the fifth race of the day.
Local boys Spanish Impulse showed sheer determination, scoring a string of fourth place finishes in three of the six races. Skipper Diego Botín was pleased with his team's performance:
“We are super happy with today's results; being able to fight it out with all these boats, and face these sailors, it has been a success for us.”
The home team closed the day in sixth overall, just behind British-flagged INEOS Rebels UK. Team México round up the fleet.
Over on the Flying Phantom racecourse, it was Idreva Zephyr Foiling who took the top spot, finishing ahead of current leaders Team France Jeune.
Local sailors Jordi Booth and Joan Costa onboard Red Bull Sailing Team also grabbed a podium finish. Helm Jordi Booth commented on their third place finish.
“A great day for us. It was challenging for sure but overall we were pretty consistent with our results – it was a good start for us.”
With hopes of continued breeze for tomorrow, the teams are already deep in the debrief after today's action. The Flying Phantoms are due to begin racing from 12:15 CEST, with the GC32s scheduled for 15:00. The free-to-enter public Race Village will be open from 10:00, offering food from the Van Van market and refreshing drinks from the public bar, both provided by Estrella Damm.
Extreme Sailing Series 2018 Act 3, Barcelona standings after Day 1, 6 races (14.06.18)
Position / Team / Points
1st, Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Chris Taylor, Ed Powys, Neil Hunter, Dan Morris, Rhys Mara: 62 pts
2nd, SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Rasmus Køstner, Morgan Larson, Julius Hallström, Pierluigi de Felice, Richard Mason: 59 pts
3rd, Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey: 57 points
4th, Oman Air (OMA) Phil Robertson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Stewart Dodson, Nasser Al Mashari: 57 pts
5th, INEOS Rebels UK (GBR) Will Alloway, Leigh McMillan, Oli Greber, Adam Kay, Mark Spearman: 54 pts
6th, Spanish Impulse (ESP) Diego Botín, Joan Cardona, Luís Brito, Kevin Cabrera, Florian Trittel: 47 pts
7th, Team México (MEX) Erik Brockmann, Tom Buggy, Alex Higby, James Peters, Danel Belausteguigoitia Fierro: 42 pts
Flying Phantom Series Act 3, Barcelona standings after Day 1, 6 races (14.06.18)
Position / Team / Points
1st, Idreva Zephyr Foiling (FRA) Charles Hainneville, Thibault Julien: 113 pts
2nd, Team France Jeune 1 (FRA) Solune Robert, Antoine Rucard: 109 pts
3rd, Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Jordi Booth, Joan Costa: 104 pts
4th, Culture Foil (FRA) Nicolas Ferellec, Théo Constance: 103 pts
5th, Flying Frogs (FRA) Pierre Le Clainche, Arnaud Vasseur: 103 pts
6th, UON (POR) José Caldeira, Helder Basilio: 88 pts
7th, EVO Visian ICL (GER) Raphael Neuhann, Elias Neuhann: 85 pts
8th, Masterlan (CZE) David Krizek, Milan Harmacek: 77 pts