On the attack
Another sunny day comes to an end on the race zone in Istanbul. Just like yesterday, the wind has been generous across the Golden Horn, enabling the race committee to set the Extreme Sailing Series fleet off on seven action-packed races. Victorious in the first two races of the day, Edmond de Rothschild Group has made up two places in the provisional ranking and has closed the gap on the leading boats. The battle is more intense than ever, even though Artemis seems to have a bit of an edge over its adversaries this evening.

The Gitana Team got off to a great start on this second day of competition, taking victory in the first two races. However, during the next four races, Pierre Pennec and his men found it more difficult to get into a comfortable position on the start line. “In the first two races we won, we opted to set off from the pin end of the line. This positioning is very effective when it works, but it’s also more risky. In the following races, I opted to start from the more conservative race committee boat end but the wind oscillated more there so it was more complicated to remain manœuvrable and position ourselves on the line as we’d have liked”, explained the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group.

Back on shore the smiling, relaxed faces of the four crew expressed the satisfaction of a job well done: “Even though we made a few mistakes at the starts today, the results from this second day are really positive, because even though we got off to a bad start in certain races, we always managed to get back with the leaders and, at times, we even finished ahead of the boats which had had a very good start. I’m a little frustrated about the penultimate race, where we were bringing up the rear following a gate error by me, but once again today we were able to see that on this demanding race zone everyone committed errors”, explained the skipper of Gitana, before going on to praise the outstanding job done by his three crew: “Hervé, Thierry and Christophe are doing a fantastic job and the manœuvres are linking together perfectly aboard. The courses change from one race to the next and we’re turning every which way so the fluidity in the communications aboard is a real asset. Every point is important and we’re battling constantly so as not to let them slip out of our grasp stupidly and have regrets about it.”

Edmond de Rothschild Group has performed brilliantly to take fourth place in the provisional overall ranking, tied on points with Luna Rossa. Most importantly, Pierre Pennec and his three crew, have got back within grasp of their rivals. At the end of the initial racing, they lamented a deficit of seven points in relation to second place, compared with just two points this evening. “We’ve raised our game in relation to yesterday and we still have a bit left in our tanks”, concluded Pierre Pennec. A sentence which illustrates the confidence which reigns aboard the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. The crew of Artemis have confirmed that they’re in great shape by stretching out their lead thanks to the best performance of the day, again. This evening they have a comfortable lead over their closest pursuers. However, we can wager that the Extreme Sailing Series, which is never short of developments, hasn’t yet delivered its final scenario.

Tomorrow, for the third day of competition in Istanbul, the race committee has once again summoned the fleet of eleven one-designs at 1400 hours (local time). However, the similarities with the past two days stop there as the weather forecasts are announcing a steadier breeze.


The crew speak out

Hervé Cunningham, bowman
Today, the wind was a little further to the left and more stable so it was easier to anticipate than yesterday. That enabled us to pull off two wins in the opening races, which are worth having for the points as well as the confidence boost. We still have some imperfections to correct but it’s been a good day for Edmond de Rothschild Group. After two seasons on the circuit we know that we have to battle for every point and that’s what we did again today. We have complete cohesion within the team and that’s our strength. Here, the courses are so short that my time is completely dedicated to manœuvres and managing our 5th man. I’m so into it that at the end of the day I’m incapable of telling you how many races we’ve competed in and during the races themselves, I don’t know who’s overtaking us and who we’re overtaking… When the courses are longer, my main role is to announce when the gusts are about to hit, but in this Grand Prix, it’s Thierry and Christophe who share this task in addition to our positioning in relation to the fleet and our approaches at the mark.”

Christophe Espagnon, mainsail trimmer
Artemis was extremely consistent today, always in the top five, and we can see that this strategy really pays off in the ranking. For our part, we were a bit lacking in that department, despite some very good races, and that’s what we have to work on for the next stage. Our days are really intense as we race a sequence of short courses which require a great deal of energy . Personally I’m responsible for trimming the mainsail and controlling the boat’s trim. With the conditions we’re encountering here, it’s incessant aboard the boat.”


Provisional ranking in the Istanbul Grand Prix on 26 May (after 14 races)

  1. Artemis Racing – 116 points
  2. Alinghi – 97 points
  3. Emirates Team New Zealand – 97 points
  4. Edmond de Rothschild Group – 95 points
  5. Luna Rossa – 95 points
  6. The Wave, Muscat – 87 points
  7. Red Bull Extreme Sailing – 78 points
  8. Oman Air – 76 points
  9. Team Extreme – 64 points
  10. Niceforyou – 64 points
  11. Team GAC Pindar – 55 points


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