Blog: SAP Extreme Sailing Team’s Rasmus Kostner
Cardiff played host to the 4th Act of the Extreme Sailing Series. It is not only known as one of the most compact racecourses but, due to strong westerly winds, also one of the fastest. Off the start line you face a relatively long reach where hulls are flying, as the crew work hard to balance the power of the sails to reach the top speed of the boats. This section is followed by a very short up and downwind leg where manoeuvres and positioning between the boats are crucial. All expectations were met, and it became one of the physically and most intense regattas this year.
From the beginning of the regatta we knew we had to push hard to defend our overall lead to the Wave Muscat, who have won the regatta in Cardiff the last two years. The start of the day was a bit mixed but we managed to end the day with consistent podium finishes. Performance analysis from our coach showed we could improve the accelerations off the line but we took smart gatemark decisions.
Day two had similar conditions and we managed to keep a high consistency in the starts and sail well around the course but still posted fewer points than The Wave, whom seemed to do everything right.
Going into day three we were in second position overall. Well aware that further improvements were necessary if we should close the gap to the regatta leaders. We kept the right focus and bounced back with several solid podium finishes, seeing us as the best team that the day. The wind conditions were strong and many teams had breakdowns during racing. We were fortunate to see all potential breakdowns and get them repaired in time, before racing, and felt confident pushing the boat to the limit in every race.
On the final day, the podium places were still to be decided by intense racing in wind conditions where the boats were on the edge of control. We put in our best performance but did not secure enough points to threaten The Wave Muscat’s lead. At the same time, Red Bull had gained enough points to put our second place under pressure and in the deciding race, with penalty turns and multiple lead changes, we finally had to settle for third place in the event, but second place overall.
The next couple of weeks will give us time to reflect on the racing in Cardiff and analyze all potential performance gains to get ready for the 5th Act in Hamburg. It is a new venue where all teams will have adapt quickly to the local conditions. We are looking forward to the challenge and hope that local German support will make the difference in Hamburg.
A blog by Rasmus Kostner, Co-skipper, SAP Extreme Team Sailing. Originally appeared on sapsponsorships.com.