Dutch sailor Carolijn Brouwer took three straight wins in the first Extreme 40 class regatta in Sanxenxo this weekend

The first three races in the brand-new Volvo Extreme 40 class were dominated by Dutch sailor Carolijn Brouwer on Sunday. With three wins in a row she and her crew beat respected world-class sailors like Olympic Tornado class medallists Randy Smyth and Mitch Booth.

Five strict one-design catamarans lined up for the start of this first Grand Prix Race, part of a series to be sailed during the Volvo Ocean Race stopovers. The wind was building to 12 knots, at times increasing to 15 knots in the beautiful bay of Sanxenxo.

At 1430 hours the start gun sounded and immediately four of the boats were into some serious fender bending. The spectacular 40ft multihulls squeezed together and exchanged some paint. It was obvious that these sailors were pushing it hard. As a result of this collision, Basilica, skippered by Hugh Styles, had to pull out of the race with a hole in the hull.

Brouwer recently switched from sailing a Europe dinghy to the Olympic Tornado with her Belgian boyfriend Sebastian Godefroid. The duo form the core of the team of four sailing the VOX 40s. She was delighted about the wins. “We sailed well today” she said at the dock after the racing. “I have a great team behind me. We won all the races on good positioning and near perfect boathandling.”

Creator of the boat and the initiator of the event Mitch Booth had mixed feelings about this debut day for the class. “It is great to see these boats out racing. With 12 to 15 knots of wind and this chop these boats gave us a great ride. They are like wild broncos, hitting 15 knots upwind and well over 20 knots on the reaches. I must compliment Carolijn and her team. We sail short race courses, so boathandling is very important and they did a fabulous job.”

But Booth was not so happy with all the damage. “Maybe we are pushing it too hard. I am not sure what happened to Basilica. I hope they can race tomorrow.”

The Volvo Extreme 40 will race 3 heats daily at 14.30 hours in Sanxenxo until Thursday, the last day of racing.