Sailing: Erratic breeze taunts crews at St Petersburg

Day 2 of racing in St Petersburg for the Extreme Sailing Series was about as tough as they come for any race committee or sailing team.

If anyone wanted a lesson on the intricacies of wind then today was the day. It came, it went. It was left, it was right. It blew then didn’t blow at all and did that all over again on several occasions.

Helmsman Peter Burling: “Bottom speed today was probably zero, or actually even in the negatives. A few times we were drifting out to sea. Our top speed was probably 13-14 knots, so we had it all.”

Postponements, attempted starts, general recalls, the race committee had its hands full today on the River Neva, valiantly attempting to get as many races in as possible. Its toughest call of the day enforcing the time cut off rule, which saw boats finishing later than a calculated amount of time after the race winner be given a DNF and minimum one point.

Not only was the fleet racing each other but they were also racing the clock.

Fortunately for Emirates Team New Zealand they narrowly missed the cut off point crossing the line less than a minute before time was up. Alinghi missed the time by only seven seconds in the second race of the day giving the other top teams a prime opportunity to close the gap up on the leaders.

Peter Burling: “The race committee tried to get a fair few races away, which didn’t eventuate today. Finally we managed to get a couple of races in which were really happy to get a second and a fifth.”

“In the first race we had a pretty good opportunity to win but finished second. in the second race we were pretty deep and fought back to finish fifth. So it was swings in roundabouts and we are really happy to gain a few points on Alinghi today and that was definitely the target.”

Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, although the weather does not look promising. Winds from 2-4 knots are forecast. But as wed have seen this week, anything can happen on the River Neva.

Leader board after two days – six races

1st The Wave, Muscat 46 points

2nd Alinghi 43 points

3rd= Emirates Team New Zealand, 40 points

3rd= Realstone, 40 points

5th J.P Morgan BAR, 35 points

6th SAP Extreme Sailing Team, 31 points

7th Groupama, 27 points

8th GAC Pindar, 22 points

9th Oman Air, 21 points

10th Gazprom Team Russia, 17 points

11th Red Bull Sailing Team, 12 points

12th Russian First, 5 points


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