Onward to Amsterdam
The fourth grand prix of the season came to an end in Germany this Sunday with a 4th place for the men on Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group. Decidedly performing very well this season, Pete Cumming’s men scored another win for the 3rd consecutive event, even though ultimately there was precious little between them and their compatriots.
This lunchtime, as the ten Extreme 40 crews calmly climbed aboard their steeds, the competition was more open than ever given the very slight separation between the top four one designs, which augured well for some high tension racing. Indeed the false start by Gitana Extreme in the first race was a perfect illustration of this. However, Yann Guichard had warned of this at the start of the grand prix: “you have to be an opportunist and know how to take risks if you’re playing to win!”
The stormy downpours once again livened up this third and final afternoon of confrontations. Between the squalls and the comings and goings of the ferries, which leave Kiel in their wake as they head into the Baltic Sea, the race committee managed to launch six fine races today. However, there were mixed results for the catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild: “Our first three bad races of the day put paid to our chances of a podium finish in this fourth stage of the circuit. The reasons for this were that, despite a good final race, in which we came second, we weren’t able to come back on Groupama 40” explained Yann Guichard. “However, one positive point that I’d like to highlight, is how the crew handled these tricky moments. Indeed, even though we finished at the back of the leading pack in half the races, everyone remained concentrated to get back into the action!”
Applauding the performance of the three crews in front of him on the podium, the skipper of Gitana Extreme was keen to, quite rightly, pass harsh judgement on the problems encountered once again by the jury presiding over the race zone: “The umpires weren’t up to scratch with events and I’m very disappointed. We had three big errors committed on us which weren’t penalised and these have cost us dearly in the final ranking. However, we aren’t the only crew in this situation. Since the grand prix in Hyères, we have been pointing the finger at the lack of referees on the water…”
In the championship ranking, this German meeting hasn’t been a very good operation for the Gitana Team. However, though they’ve lost ground on the men from Oman Sail Renaissance, Yann Guichard and his crew – made up of Pierre Pennec, Christophe Lassegue and Hervé Cunningham – are hanging onto their second place, just four points behind the leader Oman Sail Masirah.
The 5th event of the championship will take place from 25th to 27th September 2009 in the charming Dutch city of Amsterdam. In the meantime however the Gitana Team will be back in Brittany for the launch of the revamped Gitana 11. In fact, in a few days time, the victorious trimaran from the Route du Rhum 2006, will return to her natural element, where her new lines will be revealed.
To conclude, a hearty congratulations to the crew of Ecover who were back on the water this Sunday! Victim of a capsize on Friday, Mike Golding’s troops weren’t sparing of their efforts as they readily took part in today’s racing.
Ranking from the Kiel grand prix (after 19 races)
1/ Oman Sail Masirah (Pete Cumming) – 149 points
2/ Oman Sail Renaissance (Loïck Peyron) – 149 points
3/ Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) – 134 points
4/ Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group (Yann GUICHARD) - 129 points
5/ Luna (Erik Maris) – 114 points
6/ iShares (Shirley Robertson) – 104 points
7/ Holmatro (Mitch Booth) – 95 points
8/ BT (Nick Moloney) – 95 points
9/ Wirsol Team German (Roland Gäbler) - 88 points
10/ Ecover (Mike Golding) – 16 points
Crew of Gitana Extreme - LCF Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard (skipper-helm)
Pierre Pennec (mainsail trimmer, tactics), Christophe Lassegue (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres) and Hervé Cunningham (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres)