Extreme Sailing Series 2015 – The River Neva in St Petersburg lived up to its reputation for asking stiff questions of the Extreme 40 crews but The Wave, Muscat found some answers to finish in second place overall on the opening day while Oman Air impressed with a win in race one.
Regarded as one of the most difficult venues on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit, St Petersburg delivered the customary wind-against-tide challenge for the fleet with a strong current taking any punch out of a shifty 10-knot breeze.
It all took a while to get used to, said Leigh McMillan, skipper of The Wave, Muscat.
“We set off quite well and won the second race but couldn’t get our strategy right so had a bit of inconsistency in the middle races.
“But then things started to come together so we are not despondent at all. The racing was pretty tight and going downwind against the tide, the fleet started to concertina. Everyone was so close.”
In seven races, The Wave, Muscat recorded two outright wins plus two further podium places, rising to finish the day in second place overall with 52 points, six points behind leaders Red Bull.
Lying second, with three days of racing remaining was an encouraging position, added The Wave, Muscat bowman Nasser Al Mashari.
“It’s a great course here on the River Neva and the conditions have been nice but the wind is so shifty, you can never take anything for granted,” he said.
“So we are happy to be second. Our teamwork is good and that is really important on these tricky courses.”
Oman Air made a fiery debut in St Petersburg by winning the opening race but then the welcome cooled as the testing conditions took their toll and by the close, Stevie Morrison’s team were lying in sixth place.
But with just eight points separating the third and seventh placed teams in the fleet, there was everything to play for, Morrison said.
“We had some good races and some bad races so if I had to describe our day, I would say it was up and down. But we were always in the mix which was promising. We have never sailed here before but the course was what we expected – incredibly challenging!
“The points are close so we will go away tonight and talk about what we did well and where we could improve and come back tomorrow and try and do better.”
The forecast for the second day of racing is similar to day one with sunny blue skies and a light breeze which is expected again to be variable.
Racing in St Petersburg continues through to Sunday August 23 and can be followed on the Extreme Sailing Series website with live video, live streaming of the SAP analytics and dynamic leaderboards. Fans can also follow the new event twitter handle @exssLIVE for all the updates from the water.
by Oman Sail