Neva, never give up…
River Neva is not easy for any of the teams, nor SAP Extreme Sailing Team and today all teams had their ups and downs.
This morning the the team started in pole position, on top of the scoreboard and after todays racing ended at third place overall. Not surprisingly with Oman Air and Alighi right in front. The podium teams have moved slightly away from the rest of the pack, but no one is resting on their laurels with half way to go in this act.
In a patchy breeze with big shifts and lulls in an average of 6-10 knot breeze, the difference in speed – on a very short race course – can mean the difference between hero or zero. So getting good starts and a fast and free track is an obvious choice for all boats, but easier said than done. What have looked like a slight advantage on the left side of the course today, it was tempting to start at the pin end. But on a first beat that was very short, all gains could be lost when you have to tack on port and give way to the starboard coming opposition.
The team consistently went for the starts in the middle or the starboard end and yesterdays two premature starts had seemingly put a conservative approach to starting at the gun keeping a couple of seconds buffer to avoid damage of the starts. As helmsman Jes Gram-Hansen said yesterday: “…we sailed really well, pushed it a bit in the starts…”. He may have stepped off a bit in the starts today, because there were no overstepping today.
From there on you had to grasp whatever opportunity available depending on your position in the fleet. SAP Sailing Analytics brilliantly displays the reality of todays races in all sorts of way here and just shows the many ‘bumps on the road’ and position changes these short courses present. Today saw a lot of catching up from behind. It was very entertaining, but also nerve wrecking…
Tactician, Rasmus Køstner put todays performance rather plainly: “So many things just didn’t go our way and I did not hit the nails tactically as I should. I had some reluctance at certain points and hesitated on too many occasions that when we finally reacted, it somehow did’t pay out as well or the timing was off. Some call it offbeat, I just blame myself. Good thing is, that we do a lot of good, the guys have a lot of confidence and we are so ready for tomorrow”.