Storms laying down the law in Singapore
The ten crews currently competing in the Singapore Grand Prix have had to be patient on this second day of competition. Indeed the storms which threatened the city in southern Asia throughout the afternoon asphyxiated and then disrupted conditions on the Extreme Sailing Series racetrack, situated at the foot of the famous Singapore Flyer, the biggest Ferris wheel in the world spanning some 165 metres in diameter. Despite that, the wind finally picked up shortly after 1500 hours (local time, or GMT+8), enabling the race committee to run four races, during which the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group proved to be less inspired than yesterday.

It was a tough second day for the Extreme Sailing Series fleet. With the sailing coloured by an overpowering heat and a very light wind, there was a lot of sitting about on the race zone. However, somewhat trickier than these conditions, it was the start phases which made life difficult for the French crew, as Pierre Pennec explained on his return to the dock: “I didn’t perform well at today’s starts and we had some of our worst races. In this final, it isn’t enough to simply position ourselves well on the start line as our adversary for the title is constantly seeking to block us in the start phases. That’s the name of the game but it’s something else to think about and something I have to improve on. It’s also worth remembering that it’s not just the two of us on the race zone and I also have to be aware of our positioning in relation to the rest of the fleet.”

Managing to gain second place in the provisional ranking at the end of the second race of the day, Gitana Extreme is unfortunately paying for her poor races in the second half of the afternoon. Indeed Pierre Pennec and his three crew are in 5th position in the Singapore Grand Prix this evening: “today’s results aren’t positive in terms of places but it’s certainly not crippling as regards points. We have to remain calm and focused as we have three days of racing left. The boats at the top of the table are very close to each other and there are still a number of cards yet to be dealt” recalled Pierre Pennec. The change in hierarchy experienced this Thursday is a perfect illustration that, in the blink of an eye, everything can take on a whole new tone in the Extreme Sailing Series. However, the previous Grands Prix also demonstrated that this can go either way: “We made too many mistakes today and even though they’ve cost us very dearly, we deserved it. Right now, there are a number of races left to run and the crew certainly isn’t demoralised. This circuit is made up of highs and lows and we now know how to manage them. We’ve identified and analysed our mistakes between each race and today is already behind us!” concluded Hervé Cunningham, bowman on board.

In this way, each day isn’t always quite the same as the previous one… As such we can wager that the men of Gitana Team, aren’t about to let the current situation on the leaderboard get the better of them, quite the contrary in fact. Indeed they’re already gearing up to show us a whole new side to their performance on the Singapore race zone tomorrow.

Singapore, a freshwater playing field

For the final act of the 2011 season, the Extreme Sailing Series is being hosted on a rather atypical race zone, not solely due to the fact that it is small and positioned at the very heart of the city. Indeed, the fleet of catamarans is sailing on one of Singapore’s largest freshwater reservoirs. In fact Singapore is involved in an ambitious programme to gain independence in terms of its water supply because since 1965, the city has been forced to buy in its water from Malaysia so as to provide for its 4.5 million inhabitants. The Marina dam project, which is enabling this freshwater reservoir to be established, has three objectives: to supply water to the island, to battle against flooding as well as create a new attraction zone for inhabitants and tourists alike.

Standing in the Singapore Grand Prix at the end of the second day

  1. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – 64 points
  2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ) – 62 points
  3. Luna Rossa (ITA) – 61 points
  4. Oman Air (OMA) – 55 points
  5. Edmond de Rothschild Group (FRA) – 52 points
  6. Alinghi (SUI) – 51 points
  7. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – 46 points
  8. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) – 43 points
  9. Team Extreme - the first club™(EUR) – 34 points
  10. Team Tilt (SUI) – 27 points

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group

Pierre Pennec (Skipper / helmsman), Christophe Espagnon (mainsail trimmer), Thierry Fouchier (headsail trimmer), Hervé Cunningham (bowman)

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