Emirates Team New Zealand has finished the first day of fleet racing at Cascais on top of the leader board.
Three races were held and the team’s consistency in difficult sailing conditions produced a third and two second
placings, enough to give Dean Barker 26 points, one more than the Swedish entry Artemis.
America’s Cup defender Oracle, racing two boats in the regatta, are third and fourth.
The breeze today was light and fluky and dominated proceedings. The first race was abandoned just as the fleet started
to round the top mark. The restarted first race was sailed in slow motion and in the two races that followed a flying
hull was a rare sight.
Dean Barker: “I don’t think we would have been racing at all today if we were still in Version 5 monohulls. I remember
the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup at Valencia when there were five days without a race.
Barker - with Ray Davies calling the tactics, Glenn Ashby trimming the wing, James Dagg trimming and Winston Macfarlane
on the bow - got to the first mark of the abandoned race with a narrow lead just as he race committee ended the agony
and called off the race.
“Light and shifty breezes certainly brings different dynamics to the racing. Everything slows down in the manoeuvres.
We prefer a decent breeze where the boats power up much more quickly.
“We had a good day but we still have plenty to work on ... and we’re still coming to grips with the courses.“
At Cowes, England, the fifth Extreme Sailing Series regatta of 2011 got underway in conditions at the other end of the
Adam Beashel, Richard Meacham, Andy McLean and Chris Ward, sailing together for the first time at an Extreme 40 regatta,
are on a mission to learn as much as they can about multihull fleet racing.
But racing was called off after only four races when conditions became too dangerous to continue after there had been
many near capsizes throughout the fleet.
Being the new boys on the block, the Emirates Team New Zealand crew are keen to get in as much racing as possible over
the five days of the regatta despite today’s baptism by fire.
Adam Beashel said: “It was a great initiation - plenty of ups and downs, unfortunately a few too many downs, but they
are all areas we know we can work and improve on. The main aim is to gain confidence in boat handling as the Extreme 40s
are new to us in the conditions we are sailing in right now.
“It’s good for the crowds as racing is amazingly exciting to watch. Tomorrow’s weather forecast is more extreme than
today so we are preparing ourselves for an arm off …… Forecasts are better for the rest of the week.”