Afloat.ie caught up again with Howth Yacht Club's Shane Diviney, the only Irish sailor racing on the Extreme Sailing Series in Russia where the pro match-racer is onboard Gazprom Team Russia instead of his regular China One team.
You are here in St Petersburg racing with Gazprom Team Russia. How has that been?
I was able to join Gazprom Team Russia for the Extreme Sailing Series for the St. Petersburg Act because my usual team, China One, are not doing this event. This is Gazprom Team Russia’s debut event on the Extreme Sailing Series for 2016 and we are representing the St. Petersburg Yacht Club as the local entry for this event. I think the team has gelled really well considering we have never sailed together as a team. We have shown that we can mix it up with the more established teams on this tour. We were happy with our speed and have identified the areas where we need to improve.
You have done a few ESS events now. What is the best thing about the Series in your opinion and what is so appealing about the circuit?
The Extreme Sailing Series is the most challenging racing for the crews I have done. The race course is always so short and usually confided by numerous physical boundaries, although we do get the chance to do some open water racing at some events, which is also great. With the GC32s travelling at such high speeds you are never going in a straight line for more than a couple of minutes. This puts a big emphasis on your manoeuvres and often the teams that have the slickest and least amount of manoeuvres will be in the top 3. The highly challenging racing makes this circuit attractive to both the sailors and the spectators.
What can you tell us about the competition? Which are the strongest teams and why?
Oman Air and Alinghi have proved to be the boats to beat all season. The top teams always try to keep the racing uncomplicated and reduce the potential for error. There are always big gains to be made around the race course if you can manage to get your boat in clear air and reduce the amount of manoeuvres. This is what we have strived to achieve this week on Gazprom Team Russia here this week.
What is for you next after the St Petersburg Act?
My next regatta will be in Sotogrande (Spain) with Team Armin Strom sailing in the GC32 Racing Tour. We are currently sitting 3rd overall in that series so we will be hoping to consolidate our podium position in the final two events of the season. After this, I will hopefully be going to Lisbon for the Act 7 of the Extreme Sailing Series.