Mistake costs Team New Zealand in Singapore

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 10:28 24/02/2014

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A mistake in the final race has cost Team New Zealand a place on the podium in the first regatta of the Extreme 40 Sailing Series in Singapore.

Starting the fourth and final day in fifth place, Dean Barker's crew did all the hard work to give themselves a shot of being in the top three mix overall.

In the end they had to be content with fourth. That was down to an error on the last race that carried double points.

Team New Zealand came flying off the start line but it all went wrong shortly afterwards with a penalty on the first beat for a port-starboard incident against The Wave (Oman). They had to perform a penalty turn and couldn't get back into the mix.

Swiss team Alinghi took out the regatta with a domination that saw them finish in the top three of the 29 races more than half of the time.

The Wave finished second and Swiss team Realstone third. The Kiwis were 10 points adrift in fourth.

"It was a tough day for us," Barker said. "We started really well, making some inroads into the guys in front, but we had one where we were just over and had to go back.

"In the final race we had a gear issue before the start and didn't get our heads into the race like we should have."

Barker was upbeat as his team eye the second leg of the eight-regatta series in Oman on March 22.

"We've got lots of work-ons and we'll be better as we go to Oman," he said. "There are still a lot of positives. After five months without racing, we're feeling better for this."

The series features intense, short races sailed in non-foiling 40-foot catamarans where any mistakes are costly and four of the 12 boats competing in Singapore suffered retirements from accidents and gear failures.

Alinghi were delighted with their strong showing.

"We couldn't have dreamed for a better start," skipper Morgan Lason said.

"It was challenging here and with the level of competition a couple of notches higher this season. I think we just carried on from last year and we're the only team that hasn't changed any of our crew.

"We will try and build on from last year and enjoy this victory."

The regatta featured several America's Cup sailors, including Oracle's tactician Ben Ainslie whose British crew could only manage seventh.

Extreme Sailing Series, first leg, Singapore, final points:

1 Alinghi 217 points
2 The Wave, Muscat (OMA)193
3 Realstone (SUI) 178
4 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 168
5 Groupama sailing team (FRA) 160
6 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 156
7 J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 152
8 Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 128
9 Oman Air (OMA) 128
10 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 126
11 Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) 82
12 GAC Pindar (AUS) 59.

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- Fairfax Media

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