Extreme Sailing Series - SAP Extreme Sailing Team push up via the rank

The Extreme Sailing Series Rising through the ranks, SAP Extreme Sailing Team
© Lloyd Images
Today the Extreme Sailing Series Act 6, Cardiff grudge match continued with an epic 10 races. There were hulls soaring, bows diving and water spraying off the River Taff as the eight Extreme 40s hurtled round Cardiff Bay at 14 knots in 18 knots of wind - the cheering Cardiff crowds getting the stadium spectacular they came for.

Out on the course the big breeze certainly suited SAP Extreme Sailing Team, the finely tuned Danes recording two first and four second place finishes to see them rise from sixth to second at the end of the second day of the Act – narrowly missing out on pole position to the experienced Alinghi who clinched the top spot with a win in the final race of the day. Two of Rugby’s shining stars, British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton and Welsh national Alex Cuthbert also got stuck into the Extreme Sailing Series scrum, both players jumping aboard the invitational home boat Team Wales Land Rover, skippered by Welsh born Rio 2016 Olympic hopeful Dave Evans.

Still reeling from the exhilarating racing and their rise through the ranks, SAP Extreme Sailing Team’s co-skipper and tactician Rasmus Køstner was over the moon with his team’s performance: 'Yesterday didn't quite go our way, but we just continued to push forward as a team and today it came together and we definitely feel more comfortable in the breeze! We're really really happy with the day, it's the best day we've ever had on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit!'

After storming out onto the field beating their chests yesterday, day one leaders Realteam are now left clinging on to the top half of the rankings in fifth, after four race wins saw the long standing Swiss team Alinghi assert their authority at the top of the day two leader-board, and overhaul their fellow countrymen: 'It was a hard day for us today and I think the biggest breeze we have had all season,' explained Realteam skipper Jérôme Clerc.

'We struggled on the starts, and if you get a bad start, it's difficult to come back. We just have to work on our starts!' It was not only the light wind lake sailors from Geneva who found themselves on a steep learning curve out on the gusting River Taff race track today, with GAC Pindar’s Brad Farrand wearing the captains armband for the first time in Cardiff: 'It took me a while to adapt to the conditions today, it was really full on. Once we found where the limits were, we adapted and flew along the course nicely. It was our starts that let us down and a couple of penalties, but that's how it is.' The Kiwi team currently sits seventh in the ranks going into tomorrow’s penultimate day of racing.

Not used to standing on the left hand side of the podium, it too was a tough day at the office for Extreme Sailing Series giants The Wave, Muscat by their high standards. Despite a solid three races wins, their experienced skipper and British Olympian Leigh McMillan was quite obviously disappointed after racing. 'It's been a frustrating day for us, there's been a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes and that's cost us, but it also reflects how strong the fleet is for sure. We had a lot of opportunity to not hemorrhage some points, but we gave a lot of points away in certain situations, which is unusual for us. It's a bit frustrating but everyone's pushing hard, Red Bull and SAP have really stepped it up today and have done a great job, and that's put the pressure on us a little bit!'

The Extreme Sailing Series Rising through the ranks, SAP Extreme Sailing Team
© Lloyd Images

Further embracing the Cardiff culture, the Extreme Sailing Series presented by Land Rover and hosted by Cardiff Harbour Festival was joined by international Rugby legends British and Irish Lions captain and Sam Warburton and Alex Cuthbert for a day of hull flying racing action aboard local boat Team Wales Land Rover. More familiar with brawn on brawn than boat on boat, the Welsh sporting stars enjoyed a day of high-octane close contact Stadium Racing as part of the Extreme 40 fleet, as Warburton explained back on the dock: 'It’s been great to have the Welsh Land Rover team here today and to meet other sportsmen at the top of their field. I was impressed at the technical and tactical nature of sailing, every crewman on the boat has his job to do. We’ve just got to get one rugby ball across the tri line!'

Extreme Sailing Series 2013 Act 6, Cardiff presented by Land Rover standings after Day 2, 13 races (24.8.13)
Position / Team / Points


1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 105 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Pete Cumming, Mikkel Røssberg, Nicolai Sehested 102 points.
3rd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Musab Al Hadi, Hashim Al Rashdi 100 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Simon Cooke, Graeme Spence 100 points.
5th Realteam (SUI) Jerome Clerc, Bruno Barbarin, Tanguy Cariou, Cédric Schmidt, Thierry Wassem 86 points.
6th ChinaSpirit (CHN) Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, William Wu, James Williamson, Nick Catley 72 points.
7th GAC Pindar (NZL) Brad Farrand, Ian Williams, Thomas Hedegaard, Soren Secher, Tom Blampied 57 points.
8th Team Wales Land Rover (GBR) Dave Evans, Chris Grube, Bleddyn Mon, Tudur Owen, Trystan Seal 47 points.

They said:
Rasmus Køstner, SAP Extreme Sailing Team
'Yesterday didn't quite go our way, but we just continued to push forward as a team and today it came together and we definitely feel more comfortable in the breeze! We're really really happy with the day, it's the best day we've ever had on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit!'

Leigh McMillan, The Wave, Muscat
'It's been a frustrating day for us, there's been a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes and that's cost us, but it reflects how strong the fleet is for sure. We had a lot of opportunity to not hemorrhage some points, but we gave a lot of points away in certain situations, which is unusual for us. It's a bit frustrating but everyone's pushing hard, Red Bull and SAP have really stepped it up today and have done a great job, and that's put the pressure on us a little bit!'

Brad Farrand, GAC Pindar
'It took me a while to adapt to the conditions, it was really full on. Once we found where the limits were, we adapted and flew along the course nicely. It was our starts that let us down and a couple of umpire calls at the end, but that's how it is.'

'It was full on for the team today, especially for a crew who haven't sailed these boats before together, but they were awesome, it was the crew that got us around the course. We just need to keep learning and growing as a crew and hopefully we will get the results tomorrow!'

Jérôme Clerc, Realteam
'It was a hard day for us today, and I think it was the first day in the Series with us with some big wind. We struggled on the starts, and if you get a bad start, it's difficult to come back. We just have to work on our starts!'
Roman Hagara, Red Bull Sailing Team

'In these conditions, these four teams have a little more edge on the others. These boats are really fighting out in the races now, especially today. We had some ups and downs but overall we're pretty happy with the performance of the team, the communication onboard was good and so was the boat handling.'

'We have a lot of experience on this boat, and especially when the breeze is up we have a lot of experience (as well as the other top three boats). It's not easy to sail these boats around the course, when it's this breezy!'

The action continues on Cardiff Bay tomorrow with the penultimate day’s racing kicking off at 1400 BST, and online fans can join the action live online from 1600BST, Extreme Sailing Series