There was no shortage of action during Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series, held earlier this month in Quingdao, China.
Conditions during the third day of racing April 15 instantly went from flat calm to 35-knot gusts. The puffs apparently were hard to read as they whistled from shore because they changed direction quickly, deflected by the downtown skyscrapers. The situation produced four capsizes that rattled some of the world's best multihull sailors.
Perhaps none was more spectacular than that of The Wave, Muscat.
Click play to watch the crew's close call as they're tossed into the water. Mobile users can click here.
The Extreme 40 had just rounded a mark when it was hit by a violent gust so quickly that the crew could not blow the jib sheet as the wind pushed the narrow bows down. The cat simultaneously lost steering because both rudders came completely out of the water.
The pitchpole turned into a headstand and forward roll. As the cat began to invert, the crew, dangling from the trampoline netting, dropped into the 46-degree water. On the way down, two of them hit the carbon mast, snapping the spar in the process.
Luckily, no serious injuries were reported, and the crew assisted rescuers with the tow back to shore to right the boat and rig a spare mast.
"It was a crazy day in Quingdao," said match-racing world champion Ian Williams, skipper of Team GAC Pindar.
And it sure was spectacular to watch.