Edmond de Rothschild Group sets the tone
The Grand Prix of Trapani couldn’t have had a better start for the crew of the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. Winners of three of the six races contested this Thursday, and only once stumbling off the podium during the fifth race of the afternoon, Yann Guichard’s men have straightaway taken control of the penultimate event of the Extreme Sailing Series 2010. Hot on their heels though are the crews of Paul Campbell-James and Mike Golding… which is a strangely familiar sight!
The weather really laid on a great atmosphere for the opening of the Grand Prix of Trapani. Yesterday’s storms gave way today to glorious blue skies, a gentle breeze of around ten knots and a generous sunshine, which pushed the thermometer up to beyond 25°C. The summery conditions were described as ideal by the crew on their return to shore.
With every Grand Prix, the crews are able to sharpen their weapons, and the level of the competition this Thursday offshore of the Sicilien town of Trapani testifies to that. Within this context, there was no observation round so Yann Guichard and his crew got straight into battle mode. The men from the Gitana Team were right on track from the outset: as the horn sounded for the first race, they cut across the start line on port tack. It was a bold move, as the rules dictate that boats arriving on starboard tack always have priority, but they handled themselves perfectly and the move immediately paid off since they took the lead of the fleet. The same scenario repeated itself in the next two races, which enabled the Edmond de Rothschild Group to win the first three bullets of the afternoon. Up against such domination, the crew change in operation aboard the Gitana one design went by unnoticed. However, there is indeed a new bowman at the front of the 40 foot catamaran for this Italian event. Yves Detrey, a Swiss sailor, has joined Yann Guichard’s crew as a replacement for Thierry Fouchier, who has long since had another commitment in a regatta in the South of France. “It’s always pleasant to begin an event like this… The atmosphere onboard is excellent and our crew change was virtually imperceptible. Yves, who’s sailing with us for the first time, merged perfectly into the group made up of Pierre and Hervé. The three of them did a fantastic job” admitted the Gitana skipper, before explaining the day’s proceedings in more detail: “today was a one-off as we raced outside the port of Trapani and along past the beaches. Tomorrow though, there will be a change of setting with a slightly different format. We’re going to have to pay attention to the rocks which extend out from the wall at the entrance to the port. We’ll also have to watch out for the much greater proximity of our playmates as our playing field will be smaller. Despite all that though, everything will centre on whether or not you get off to a good start. We say this over and over again but the starts are essential when races last an average of 10 to 12 minutes and it’s very hard to make a come back.”
This evening the provisional podium is made up of Edmond de Rothschild Group, The Wave Muscat and Ecover respectively. This trio, which has been in power since the Grand Prix of Cowes at the start of August, seems keen to stick together. Nevertheless, the leading teams will have to remain on the alert because, at the foot of the podium, the crews of Groupama 40 and Masirah are hot on their heels and certainly haven’t had their final say.
Tomorrow, forecasts are suggesting rather more sporty conditions as a S’ly wind of around 15 knots is expected to liven up the second day of Italian racing. As such the race committee has asked the Extreme 40s to be ready to race at 1400 hours.
The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group in Trapani
Yann Guichard - Skipper, helmsman / Pierre Pennec – Mainsail trimmer / Hervé Cunningham – Headsail trimmer / Yves Detrey - Bowman
Provisional ranking for the Grand Prix of Trapani on 23rd September (after 6 races)
1. Edmond de Rothschild Group (Yann Guichard) - 33 points
2. The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) – 32 points
3. Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 27 points
4. Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) – 26 points
5. Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) - 23 points
6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (Roman Hagara) - 18 points
Trapani The Sailing Seacily (Gabriele Bruni) – 9 points