The Grand Prix in Hyères-TPM begins on 3rd July
The second event in the iShares Cup 2009 circuit is being held in France. Indeed from 3rd to 5th July, the town of Hyères – Toulon Provence Méditerranée is playing host to the ten Extreme 40 crews in the running this season. Victorious in Venice in mid-May, Yann Guichard and his men are arriving in the Var region, in pole position in the general provisional ranking. However, the skipper of Gitana Extrême – LCF Rothschild Group warns: “Each event has its own specific characteristics and Hyères is another race entirely so we’ll be setting out from scratch again!”

Bound for Southern France
The 40 foot container, which enables the transport of the one-design to each new event, left the Saint-Philibert technical base in Brittany this Tuesday. From Friday, Cyril Ducrot and Marie Dixneuf will be ready to get down to work to receive the catamaran in Hyères, the aim being for Gitana Extreme to be reassembled, with the mast stepped and ready to go sailing on Monday 29th June with the arrival of the crew. At that point it will be time for a few precious training days in order to acclimatise to the conditions specific to this race zone before the first day of racing, scheduled for Friday 3rd July. 

In fact, as regards this particular playing field, its azure waters are familiar to the men sailing the catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, as Yann Guichard explains: “I know the race zone well, as does Pierre Pennec, because we’ve often sailed here during the French Olympic Sailing Week (SOF). This time though it will be different as we’re going to be racing right next to the harbour wall, which will be a big first. This can change a lot of things so we’re going to have to get our bearings again.” Then, as a fine connoisseur of the region, the skipper of Gitana Extreme didn’t hesitate in recalling that in the Mediterranean, anything can happen as regards the weather: “In Hyères I’m expecting all the various kinds of conditions possible, whilst for the first event in Venice, we knew that the majority of races were going to be coloured by light airs. At this time of year, we can nevertheless hope for some stiffer winds on the Var region’s race zone, and why not with some added thermals picking up in the middle of the day.”

Change of crew for Hyères – TPM
During the three days of racing in France’s Var region, the crew of the Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group will change physiognomy slightly. Indeed, Hervé Cunningham, committed to another event a long time ago, will be replaced for this grand prix by Simeon Tienpont. This young, 27 year old Dutch sailor, loaned for the occasion by the American challenger in the next America’s Cup -  BMW Oracle -, has a wealth of experience in Extreme 40’s, an athletic physique which may prove to be extremely advantageous in stiff weather conditions, and incredible motivation.
Last week, the four sailors met up in La Trinité-sur-Mer for four days of training in the bay of Quiberon. An essential “running in session” given that Yann Guichard and his men had noticed in Venice that crew cohesion was one of the keys to success. The results of these daily sessions out on the water have proven to be very positive.

Crew of the Gitana Extreme / LCF Rothschild Group
- Yann Guichard / skipper-helm
- Pierre Pennec / mainsail traveller trimmer, tactics
- Christophe Lassegue / headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres
- Simeon Tienpont / headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres

General provisional ranking (after 1 event - Venice)
1. Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group (Yann Guichard) – 10 points
2. BMW Oracle Racing (James Spithill) – 9 points
3. Oman Sail Renaissance (Loïck Peyron) – 8 points
4. Oman Sail Masirah (Pete Cumming) – 7 points
5. Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) – 6 points
6. BT (Nick Moloney) – 5 points
7. Luna (Erik Maris) – 4 points
8. Holmatro (Carolijn Brouwer) – 3 points
9. iShares – Shirley Robertson – 2 points
10. Ecover – Mike Golding –1 point

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