At 1300 hours UT, the nine competing Extreme 40s set off on the first race of this Cowes Grand Prix. After a mediocre introduction, Yann Guichard and his three crew enjoyed a more positive end to the day, which saw them take third place in the provisional ranking.
Brightened by sunshine yesterday, the race zone today was backed by a rainy atmosphere, albeit slightly windier. However, the currents so characteristic of the Solent were very much in evidence, spicing up the first nautical jousts of this English event. Crossing tacks and rounding marks in very close contact, there was certainly a fine spectacle on the water for the numerous sailing fans that live on the Isle of Wight.
Hot off the finish line of the 6th and final race of the day had been crossed, Yann Guichard gave us his impressions and his analysis of the day’s events: “It’s been a pleasant first day as there was some play with everyone’s performances… However, we’re sailing very close to the shore – too close even – and there are a lot of hidden rocks which aren’t signalled. Speaking for ourselves, we didn’t suffer any damage onboard today, but some of our rivals paid the price with some close encounters with the rocks.”
Uncompromising towards himself, the skipper of Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group willingly agreed that he’d erred in the start phases, which are so essential for the rest of the race: “We didn’t perform very well when it came to getting across the start line as I wasn’t really incisive as regards the timing and positioning. However, it has to be said that the starts took place with the strong Solent current on the nose. As such it wasn’t easy to cross the line at the given moment.”
The rotation and the strengthening of the wind midway through the course of the afternoon came just at the right point to power up Gitana Extreme - LCF Rothschild Group again. Constantly at the front of the fleet during the last three races today, Yann Guichard and his crew ended the day in 3rd place, behind the one designs skippered by English sailor Shirley Robertson and Pete Cumming’s men. Winner in Hyères, the Oman boat was once again able to show exactly what she was made of, winning five of the six races sailed.
At the same place and the same time tomorrow, but with slightly more established weather conditions, the spectacle will doubtless be amazing.
Crew of Gitana Extreme - LCF Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard (skipper-helm)
Pierre Pennec (mainsail traveller trimmer, tactics), Christophe Lassegue (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres) and Hervé Cunningham (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres)
Ranking on the first day (after 6 races)
1/ Oman Sail Masirah (Pete Cumming) – 58 points
2/ iShares – Shirley Robertson – 43 points
3/ Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group (Yann GUICHARD) – 41 points
4/ Oman Sail Renaissance (Loïck Peyron) – 39 points
5/ BT (Nick Moloney) – 36 points
6/ Luna (Erik Maris) – 35 points
7/ Groupama 40 (Gildas Philippe) – 25 points
8/ Holmatro (Carolijn Brouwer) – 24 points
9/ Ecover – Mike Golding – 21 points
10/ Bmw Oracle (James Spithill) – 0 point (Not present in Cowes)