Amsterdam, the turning point in the iShares Cup 2009?
The sailors needed nerves of steel in Amsterdam today! Between 0 and 4 knots of breeze and half the number of races as yesterday, such was the scenario on the second day of racing on Dutch waters. Getting off to a very bad start by running out of time on the first race, the crew of Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group managed to follow on with a solid performance and rounded off this Saturday’s racing on a high: a victory and first place in the grand prix’s provisional ranking. With a two point lead over their closest rival, Yann Guichard’s men will have to keep the pressure on tomorrow if they are to stand a chance of repeating their performance in Venice.
What a day for Yann Guichard and his three crew… Finishing over five minutes behind the winner of the first race, the men of Gitana Team really got off on the wrong foot. Indeed, according to the rules in force in the iShares Cup, any boat crossing the finish line over five minutes after the winner is classed as a non finisher and hence scores zero points. However, the cohesion of the crew of Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group did them proud once again. Far from giving up, the four sailors were able to concentrate themselves again and end on a blinder: “It was a difficult day for everyone but the results are incredibly positive. We got off to a very poor start unfortunately as we ran out of time on the first race, but we managed to get ourselves fired up again despite the highly complicated wind conditions. We couldn’t even see gusts on the water!” explained Yann Guichard. “However, we sailed a very fine last race, making good gains as six boats simply ran out of time!”
More tactical than physical, today was certainly a testing day for the men of Gitana Team. Indeed the skipper of the one design equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild again applauded the job done by the sailors in his crew: “It was the conditions we had today that were the most difficult because we had to stay concentrated despite the to-ings and fro-ings on the race zone and the constantly changing weather conditions. All in all though the crew’s strength lies in the fact that whatever happens, we remain as one aboard and there’s never an angry word”.
Third yesterday, Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group is at the top of the ranking this evening, which augurs well for the last day of racing tomorrow, especially as their current position is reminiscent of when the crew won in Venice… Everyone has their fingers crossed! “The ranking is very bunched but we’re in the lead this evening and I much prefer this situation of playing the hunted as opposed to the hunter. I think that we sailed very well and never gave up today despite the downwind starts which aren’t my forte” admitted Yann Guichard.
Tomorrow the results of this penultimate grand prix of the season will be in and everyone is hoping that the forecast weather conditions will be right, with the wind set to be stronger on the Dutch race zone.
News of Oman Sail Masirah
After being involved in a collision with BT yesterday, forcing the Oman team to throw in the towel for the rest of the day’s racing, Pete Cumming’s team were back in the competition today. Following the redress after the first two races today, the Oman team are up to sixth place in the provisional ranking, over 20 points behind Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group.
Crew of Gitana Extreme - LCF Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard (skipper-helm)
Pierre Pennec (mainsail traveller trimmer, tactics), Christophe Lassegue (headsail trimmer, control of manoeuvres) and Hervé Cunningham (headsail trimmer, control of manoeuvres)
Ranking on the second day (after 12 races)
1/ Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group (Yann GUICHARD) - 89 points
2/ Oman Sail Renaissance (Loïck Peyron) – 87 points
3/Holmatro (Mitch Booth) - 76 points
4/ iShares (Shirley Robertson) – 72 points
5/ Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) – 72 points
6/ Oman Sail Masirah (Pete Cumming) – 69 points
7/ Luna (Erik Maris) – 57 points
8/ BT (Nick Moloney) – 50 points
9/ Ecover (Mike Golding) – 32 points