Rendez-vous tomorrow, Sunday, for the verdict!
After bagging three race victories today and managing to hang onto their position at the top of the leaderboard against an increasingly honed set of rivals, the results this Saturday are largely positive for the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group. With one day to go till the end of the Grand Prix of Sète, Yann Guichard and his three crew are still ahead of the two Omani boats, even though the deficits are slightly smaller. However, the top trio seem to have made a clean break tonight, with their closest rivals over fifteen points down on the third placed boat.
Leader in the provisional ranking, Edmond de Rothschild Group got off to a great start on its third day of racing. The crew put up a faultless performance with two race victories, which says a great deal about their desire to win and the concentration reigning aboard the one-design fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild: “We began the afternoon very well with some good starts and a certain amount of ease in stretching away from our pursuers, which culminated in two great race wins. However, in the 3rd and 4th race, I was less inspired, and in these types of courses the start phases are essential, because it’s hard to get back into the action after messing up early on” admitted Yann Guichard. However, it didn’t take the crew long to buck their ideas up and the following races (5 and 6) resulted in another victory and a second place!
However, the seventh and final race of the day won’t go down in history for the Gitana Team. The authors of a good start, Yann Guichard and his crew were on the attack in third position, but unforeseeable complications with the onboard mechanics were to put a different turn on their race. Indeed the attachment point on the jib (small upwind headsail) broke, forcing two of the crew to make a temporary repair during the race: “Hervé and I had to make a small temporary repair, which consisted of replacing a sheet so as to hold the bottom of our jib in the position where the attachment point had just come away. Naturally this wasn’t the best possible solution, because fixed in this way the genoa lost the bulk of its effectiveness” explained Nicolas Heintz.
During this same race, Edmond de Rothschild Group copped a penalty after fouling the Extreme 40 skippered by Mitch Booth: “The penalty inflicted on us by the on-the-water umpires was deserved and regardless of whether or not that had happened, our earlier gear breakage had already dictated that we wouldn’t have been able to keep pace with our rivals upwind. As such the 8th place was inevitable” explained the Gitana skipper.
The seven races contested this Saturday in a wind oscillating between 10 and 15 knots, in addition to the eight races run over the first two days, have really put the sailors to the test, as Pierre Pennec confirmed on his return to land: “It was a tiring day and the races followed on, one after the other, at a steady pace. I don’t think it’ll be hard to get to sleep tonight!” A good night’s rest will doubtless see the crew in good form to tackle the fourth and final day’s racing in this Grand Prix of Sète tomorrow. For the time being, the weather forecasts are suggesting a windy Sunday, but the organisers remain confident this evening that they will be able to run the races as planned. It should be noted that this forecast of breezy conditions comes as good news to the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group, who are especially cut out for such conditions.
Provisional ranking for the Grand Prix of Sète on 29th May (after 15 races)
1. Edmond de Rothschild Group (Yann Guichard) – 89 points
2. The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) - 85 points
3. Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) - 81 points
4. Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) - 66 points
5. Red Bull Extrême Sailing (Roman Hagara)- 60 points
6. The Ocean Racing Club (Mitch Booth) - 59 points
7. Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 59 points
8. Team GAC Pindar (Nick Moloney) - 39 points
The crew of the Edmond de Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard - Skipper, helmsman
Pierre Pennec – Mainsail trimmer
Hervé Cunningham – Headsail trimmer
Nicolas Heintz – No.1