1400 hrs this afternoon will see the start of the first races in the 2010 season of the Extreme Sailing Series. And it’s in Sète, France, a town that has earned itself the nickname of the Venice of the Languedoc, that the eight Extreme 40s competing in this inaugural Grand Prix, will take centre stage. Second in the 2009 championship, the men on the one design Edmond de Rothschild Group are eager to see how they measure up to their rivals.
Last year, Thursday was exclusively reserved for the media and any races contested that day didn’t count towards the event ranking. Now though, any points racked up during these ‘press’ races will form part of the outright ranking. This change in proceedings will thus extend the length of the Grands Prix from three to four days.
Yesterday Yann Guichard and his three crew spent time familiarising themselves with the sensations of sailing such craft during the training races: “The boat is quick and the change we made as regards the weight of the crew is already proving to be a satisfaction. The manœuvres are fluid and I’m really keen to take the start of the first race.”
Just a few hours from kick-off, the weather forecasts would have us believe that the Grand Prix in Sète will be windy. However, the local effects and the sheltered race zone could cause conditions to be somewhat different: “Today we’re expecting a WNW’ly air flow of around ten knots, which may increase in strength during the course of the afternoon. However, the wind should come off the land and given that we’re just behind the Saint-Louis jetty, which is protected from the coast, this air flow could be highly variable both in terms of strength and direction” confided Yann Guichard.
The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard - Skipper, helmsman
Pierre Pennec – Mainsail trimmer
Hervé Cunningham – Headsail trimmer
Nicolas Heintz – Bowman
The team competing in the Grand Prix of Sète
Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding)
Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas)
Oman Sail Masirah (Loick Peyron)
Red Bull Extrême Sailing (Roman Hagara)
The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James)
The Ocean Racing Club (Mitch Booth)
Team GAC Pindar (Nick Moloney)
Edmond de Rothschild Group (Yann Guichard)