Edmond de Rothschild Group masterfully wins in Sète
Leader of the ranking from the first day of the Grand Prix of Sète, the sailors from Edmond de Rothschild Group held their ground and handled the pressure marvellously. As such their masterful performance couldn’t be bettered in this the first event of the Extreme Sailing Series 2010, the two Omani boats trailing them on the final podium. This very fine victory rewards the vast amount of work and consistent performance by Yann Guichard’s men, thus confirming their status as event favourite.
With a four point lead over the second placed competitor and eight over the third spot prior to this final day of racing, the instructions were clear for the men of Gitana Team as they left the port of Sète at noon: to maintain their lead, and if possible extend away from their direct rivals, namely The Wave Muscat and Oman Sail Masirah. Evidently they managed to pull this off to perfection, since the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild won the event, fifteen points clear of the team in second place: “It’s an initial victory which I would dare to describe as well deserved. We’ve been leading since the first day and we’ve battled hard in all the races. This final day proved to be particularly intense with a huge contrast in the conditions: from five to eight knots at the start and ending up with a wind oscillating between 20 and 25 knots and more in the gusts. That led the race committee to cancel the last race on the schedule and it was a very good decision by them, to prevent the boats being damaged” admitted Yann Guichard, grinning from ear to ear.
Winner of the opening event of the season in Venice in 2009, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group have repeated the performance in Sète a year on, despite a crew change which potentially could have required the men aboard the 40 foot one-design to make a few adjustments: “Nicolas Heintz, who was joining us for the first time, handled the boat superbly. He’s already performing very well in his position. Overall we’re at about the same level in the light airs, but his presence has enabled us to really make good progress in the breezy conditions, as has been demonstrated in this rather breezy last day.”
By leading this Grand Prix of Sète from beginning to end and winning seven out of the twenty races contested over the course of the weekend, Yann Guichard and his three crew - Pierre Pennec, Hervé Cunningham and Nicolas Heintz – have set the tone for the 2010 season, and it is clear that they’re hungry for outright victory: “We’ve won the first event, as we won in Venice last year, but for me this victory has a different taste to it, because in this instance we controlled the play from beginning to end! It augurs well for the next stage. I think the level of the competition in Sète has really stepped up a gear so it promises to be a thrilling season” concluded the skipper of Gitana.
Cyril Dardashti, the director of Gitana Team, was absolutely ecstatic on his return to shore: “This year we’ve set ourselves some ambitious goals with Gitana 11 and the Route du Rhum, as well as the Extreme Sailing Series. I’d like to say a hearty congratulations to the crew for the work carried out on the water over the past four days of racing, as well to the shore crew for preparing the boat. We’re delighted to kick-off the 2010 season in this way and we’re happy to be able to give this victory to the Baron and Baroness de Rothschild, as well as our colleagues from the Edmond de Rothschild Group, who support us and enable us to express our passion.”
Overall ranking for the Grand Prix of Sète on 30th May (after 20 races)
1. Edmond de Rothschild Group (Yann Guichard) – 124 points
2. Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) - 110 points
3. The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) - 98 points
4. Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 90 points
5. Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) - 90 points
6. The Ocean Racing Club (Mitch Booth) - 77 points
7. Red Bull Extrême Sailing (Roman Hagara)- 76 points
8. Team GAC Pindar (Nick Moloney) - 53 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
The Extreme Edmond de Rothschild Group supports the Peace Parks Foundation
Restoring South Africa’s harmonious coexistence between nature conservation and socio-economic development is its primary ambition. The Peace Parks are cross-border conservation areas, that is to say areas breaking down the borders of Africa that date back to colonial times for the benefit of the people, the wildlife and the flora. These reserves are selected for their rich biodiversity, as well as for their cultural heritage and potential for growth. Thanks to support from the regional governments, the international organisations and the private sector, no less than 10 Peace Parks have been created.
Created in 1997, the Peace Parks Foundation was set up by three visionaries, Nelson Mandela, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Dr Anton Rupert.
Baron Edmond de Rothschild has subscribed to this ambitious project from its creation and he is one of its overseas treasurers and ambassadors abroad. As such the Peace Parks Foundation is actively supported by the Edmond and Benjamin de Rothschild Foundations who share its mission: sustainable development, environmental protection, education and training.
To learn more about Peace Parks: www.peaceparks.org