Bad day for Team New Zealand in Singapore

Last updated 12:45 23/02/2014
Dean Barker
STEPHEN LAM/ Reuters
SKIPPER: Dean Barker.

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Team New Zealand have slipped to fifth on the penultimate day of the Extreme 40 Sailing Series' opening regatta in Singapore as testing conditions ripped through the 12-boat fleet.

The third day saw more intense action with six races as the breeze across the tight course fluctuated from a gentle five knots to sudden gusts of 25.

The day was marked by a serious collision between Groupama and Aberdeen Singapore, as one of the strongest gusts of the day hit.

No-one was hurt, but Groupama's rig came down as Aberdeen rode over the top of them and the yachts were locked together.

Groupama skipper Franck Cammas described the moment as Aberdeen, approaching the finishing line as the gust hit, struggled to avoid the collision. 

"We had a big gust and as we were finishing a gybe we saw Aberdeen come really fast from behind and that's the moment they came over us breaking the mast. Three crew members ended up in the water."  

Other than the mast, damage can be repaired overnight: "The mainsail, the jib and a hole on the trampoline. I think we will be able to race tomorrow with another mast," Cammas said.

"What is tricky here is that the wind is quite strong and very gusty which is difficult to anticipate. It's not easy."

A full starting grid of 12 Extreme 40s is expected for the final day's racing although it will be a demanding night in the pit lane as the shore crews rally to make the repairs. Four boats are out of the water but the teams are confident they'll be ready for the last day of the regatta.

It was not a good day for Team New Zealand, slipping to fifth overall, although skipper Dean Barker remained upbeat about their return to action since the America's Cup.

"We're sailing well and still in the hunt for a podium finish. We need a good solid day and have a few breaks go our way," Barker said.

The four teams at the top of the leaderboard competed in the series last year. Alinghi, and The Wave, Muscat are first and second respectively. Realstone, who missed Day Three's racing, are third, after being awarded average points following yesterday's collision with Oman Air.

With 117 points, Emirates Team New Zealand are within striking distance of a podium finish. Fourth Red Bull Racing Team are also on 117; Leaders Alinghi have 163, The Wave 132 and Realstone 130.

Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 1, Singapore

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Standings after Day 3, 21 races

1st Alinghi (SUI) 163 points. 2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 132 points. 3rd Realstone (SUI) 130 points. 4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 117 points. 5th Emirates Team New Zealand  117 points. 6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 104 points. 7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 103 points. 8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 95 points.9th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 89 points. 10th Oman Air (OMA) 88 points.11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 49 points. 12th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) 47 points.

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