Black cat down…
What was supposed to have been the last swing for a podium finish in Act, Lisbon, became a challenged effort when SAP Extreme Sailing Team had an incident right before the start of the first race, leaving a large hole in the port hull and a bashed rudder.
But it ain’t over until it’s over. And the team skipped three races, had a lightning fix and repair, remounted the rudder and got back into the game in time for race 18 (number 5 of the 6 completed of the day). A team effort of epic proportions and especially from the teams boatbuilder and crew member Renato Conde.
Needless to say, that a shake-up like this can rattle the focus and beat up any aspirations of podium positions, but the fighting spirit prevailed and the team concluded the medal race with the rest of the fleet. 4 races of DNS (Did Not Start) without being the culprit, leaves the team with a right for redress from the Jury, but it will not affect the end result which is a comfortable 5th place of the Act – way ahead of 6th place and far away from 4th. Disappointing? Yes, but in the light of the first two days performances, there was a hill to climb and Day 3 certainly proved the teams worth as a podium contender. But Day 4 just had another turn of events than anticipated and shut out the possibility of a forceful comeback.
While the cat was being craned out of the water – once again – the helmsman Jes Gram-Hansen had a few words to share: “This is just tough luck and it is really hard to blame anybody. This is the risk we live with in this format. Actually, it is quite extraordinary that so few accidents actually happen and we were just unlucky to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. It could have happened to anybody…”
After a packed calendar and a high frequency of three acts since St. Petersburg, the Series have until mid December before they meet again for the final joust – Act 8 in Sydney, Australia. That will give SAP Extreme Sailing Team plenty of time to make a solid repair of the damaged port hull and get to analyze the last few months of performances in order to take a final swing at the fleet to complete the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series campaign.