Thierry talks, pressure and pace in gusty Qingdao

Yesterday saw the opening of Act 3 Extreme Sailing Series in Qingdao China, the venue is renowned for high octane action, collisions and capsizes, as this race course has historically seen the most nail biting action of all the Extreme Sailing Series Venues. The racecourse is right next to the Olympic Rings at the harbour front, an unambiguous reminder for everyone of the competitive pedigree of this sailing city. The SAP Extreme Sailing Team are keen to transform their performance and secure more points but are very conscious of the risky conditions and balance between pushing too hard, and pushing just enough.

Thierry Douillard gave his thoughts on the first day racing, after two race wins on the Extreme 40 racecourse, which is no mean feat on this difficult course but even more is required of the SAP Extreme Sailing Team to push back into the top half of the fleet today.

“The game changes for us now” said Douillard “as the twelve boat Extreme 40 fleet move into the stadium inside the breakwater and with the breeze up – reaching 25 knots this morning – and still building we are expecting a full day of pressure.”

Yesterday we struggled to secure the points we wanted, with strong tides and light winds but did post some good race results with our two wins in Race 3 and the final race of the day, race 8.

Yesterdays racing insights, as highlighted by SAP’s analytics

Douillard continued:
“In Qingdao the circuit is recognized for high octane action, something I am pretty familiar with working on high performance multihulls and speed record attempts. But then that is what is addictive about this game. Committed to delivering short sharp racing with the SAP Extreme Sailing Team and launching Spindrift 2 for the North Atlantic and 24-hour team records have the same intensity levels in terms of full on action and operation. Working with specialists and up against those at the top of their game is really motivating for the team. The extreme 40 racing attracts a certain type of personality and working with SAP analytics and technology lets us know we are at the cutting edge with a team keen to innovate and do something pretty special.

In terms of key learnings from high performance multihulls for me the constant pressure and concentration needs to be maintained and balanced. The dynamic of the SAP Extreme Sailing Team works well, and keeping a cool head under pressure in this game is something we all share. As a team with a background in the Americas Cup and World Match Racing Circuit, we know racing will be tight this week but we are focused on fighting hard for it. But lets see what unfolds over the next few days racing.“