Red Bull Team's Roman Hagara talks about his first experience in the Extreme Sailing Series Europe
We partnered with Red Bull Reporter to give aspiring writer Francis Kelly the chance to get close to the Extreme 40s action down at Cowes Week. She spoke with Red Bull Team’s Roman Hagara to get his view from behind the sails of the speedy 40ft catamaran after a day of intense racing.
Francis Kelly: This is the fourth year of the Extreme Sailing Series Europe and the first for the Red Bull Team, how are you finding it so far against some of the seasoned pros?
Roman Hagara: It’s really hard because they have like two or three seasons over us. As we only started in November and two of the guys we have on board; the Spanish [David Vera San Luis] and Italian [Gabriele Olivo] are new to multi-haul. They have a lot to learn and you can see it sometimes in the manoeuvres we are doing onboard, but they are quick learners and we’ve had some good results.
Gabriele Olivo: We are pretty new as a team and for me and David we’re new to multi-hauls so it’s a completely new and different challenge for us – almost starting from scratch. We are learning a lot and getting better every day, but there’s still a lot to catch up on, as these guys have been doing it for so much longer. As a team though we are very strong because our experience comes from so many different backgrounds we just need to find a good equilibrium.
How are you finding the European event?
RH: So far it’s been perfect. We have had a lot of spectators; all close to the shore and here [Cowes] is the perfect venue. We are coming very close to the crowd and you can hear them cheering for you, it’s like being in a stadium.
GO: Well when we started in Sète it was our second event to sail together. We had a few problems with our hydraulics there, so got some wins and some last placed finishes – which is happening here [Cowes] again. The secret for us is to find that continuity, when we find that rhythm with the start the boat handling and all the rest then we will be ok. We still have a long way to go though.
How does the European event compare to the Asian Series?
RH: It was a little bit quite, because it was just for the media and not so much for the public, so completely different. Here it is all about the public.
What are your hopes for the rest of the European Series?
RH: It is a tough competition and the other guys know the waters pretty well. We hope to win some races and in the others not end too far behind, that way we can achieve a lot of points. So we have to catch up at the next stage and hopefully you never know maybe end up on the podium.
GO: We finished quite badly in Sète and I’d like to get a better result overall. I’m looking forward to Trapani myself, because I’m Italian and I’d like to get a good result there. But we just take it day-by-day and hopefully finish stronger.
What excites you about this format of sailing?
RH: The short racing is very thrilling for the crew, you have to be physically really fit and it is full-on all the time. Because it is so close to the shore and it is just one boat after the other then some crashes happen and it is really exciting onboard, and I think from outside it is also exciting.
A lot of sports are adapting towards a new market, will this type of sailing bring in a new audience to the sport?
RH: For sure. Normally sailing is all off shore and you can’t see it – this format brings everything to the shore, to the public. You can sit outside and you are so close to the action you’re almost able to touch it. I think that’s the future for sailing.
GO: Well if you look at television now all you want to see is action and adrenalin. It has to be fun to watch, not something that is boring even if it’s beautiful for the sailors – it must involve the public.