Red Bull Sailing get up to speeds of 30mph whilst Team Wales dismasts

Gusty conditions on Cardiff Bay ensured that the opening day of Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Cardiff delivered an action-packed day for the nine Extreme 40s. Austria’s Red Bull Sailing Team blasted round the tight courses, reaching speeds of 25.4 knots (29mph) relishing the conditions that put Roman Hagara’s men at the top of the rankings at the end of day one. “This was racing on the edge up to 25 knots of wind but we never lost control of the boat. It’s nice to be in first place but there are still three days to go. We have to focus and to concentrate and we can win,” said Hagara.

For local entry, Team Wales, skippered by young Welshman Dave Evans and with Team GB 470 Olympic silver medallist Hannah Mills calling tactics, the day ended in drama when the 62ft mast came crashing down. A component failure in the rig caused the mast to fall but it remained intact and the team expects to be back on the water today.

The day was about good boat handling and minimising mistakes. Oman Air and GAC Pindar did just that to end the day in second and third respectively. “It was a wild day, things happened quick and it was some of the tightest courses and some of the strongest wind we’ve had and that made it pretty exciting,” said US skipper Morgan Larson. “It was kind of hectic, there were tight corners, it was gusty, shifty, and basically we’re happy to have got through that day without any damage. The racing today was tactical, but boat handling was really the key today, that is really what got us through, sharp boat handling by all the guys.”

The fleet were joined by a host of sports stars. Ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan joined Andrew Walsh’s team on GAC Pindar, while some of Britain’s top sailing talent including Team Volvo sailors and Olympic silver medallists Luke Patience and Saskia Clark, 2008 Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison and Team GB match racer Kate MacGregor traded in their dinghies for Extreme 40s.

The event officially opens to the public today with thousands expected to descend on Cardiff Bay to witness stadium style racing for the first time. All the action will be streamed live with expert commentary from sailing expert Richard Simmonds from 1500 local time.

RESULTS after Day 1 (8 races)

Position / Team / Points

1.Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 55 points
2. Oman Air (OMA) 50 points
3. GAC Pindar (GBR) 50 points

4. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 44 points

5. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 43 points

6. Alinghi (SUI) 39 points

7. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) 36 points

8. ZouLou (FRA) 22 points

9. Team Wales 20 points