Edmond de Rothschild gets the edge in Lisbon
A little less than 48 hours after their arrival in Lisbon, the MOD70s in the Route des Princes were back down to business. On the programme this Friday, there were three races on the River Tagus, at the very heart of the Portuguese capital off Praça do Comercio. The generous northerly breeze of 10 to 20 knots, which blew across the river this afternoon, enabled Edmond de Rothschild and its adversaries to put on a unique show in the dazzling sunshine. Winners of the first race of the day, Sébastien Josse and his men are in the provisional top spot this evening.

The setting for these two inshore races takes your breath away! Contested at the heart of Lisbon, the races are run on the River Tagus, just metres from the docks in the city centre and Praça do Comércio. Though the spectacle for ‘landlubbers’ is nothing short of magnificent, for the sailors, this race zone has proven to be a real enigma, where opportunism is the name of the game more than ever before: “It’s a complicated race zone as there are a lot of parameters to be taken into account: the offshore current as well as the landform, which is significant in this undulating city, makes for a very shifty wind. I think we had a wind variation of over 100° over the course of the day in the different puffs of air! In terms of strength we had between 10 and 20 knots according to the different areas of the race zone,” explained Charles Caudrelier. 

Sébastien Col, Edmond de Rothschild’s tactician, went on to give his analysis of the playing field: “It’s an atypical race zone. You have to keep your eyes wide open here! In the second race, I made the mistake of over anticipating and that cost us a place. We saw that the wind was rotating a great deal and you constantly have to adapt and lie in wait to reap the immediate gains. Aboard Edmond de Rothschild, I was lucky enough to be able to rely on a crew which was perfectly into its stride and performed very well in the manoeuvres, and that enabled me to announce my choice of marks and tacks late in the game.”

A helmsman-tactician pairing which works in harmony and a crew which harvests the fruit of its labour both in terms of coordination and power, such appears to be the recipe for Gitana Team’s success today: “Aboard the boat, we’re very happy with our day, even though we stupidly lost second place in one race. In these conditions it’s tough to be consistent. The crew’s behaviour is really positive as we can see that when we’re behind we manage to get back into contact and snatch back some places, as we did in race 3 where we overtook Oman right on the line. The two Sébastiens on the boat (Josse and Col) did a super job at the helm and on tactics and the crew is gaining more and more confidence,” admitted Charles Caudrelier.

Winner of the opening race, third, then second in the final race of the day, Sébastien Josse and his men opened the scoring and Edmond de Rothschild is topping the leaderboard after this first day. They have a two-point lead over Jean-Pierre Dick’s crew, which performed very well in the second half of the afternoon. Spindrift Racing, helmed by Xavier Revil, completes the podium.

Tomorrow the trimarans are due to come together at 1400 GMT to contest three new races on the waters of the Tagus. Winner of this particular exercise in Valencia, just a week ago, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild are naturally keen to put up a repeat performance. However, as we saw this afternoon, there is very little separating them from their rivals, who are anxious to put paid to the Gitana Team’s plans for a double whammy. We’ll learn the outcome tomorrow, shortly after 1700 GMT.

Day 1, results per race:

Inshore 1
1. Edmond de Rothschild / 2. Musandam – Oman Air / 3. Spindrift Racing / 4. Virbac Paprec 70

Inshore 2
1. Spindrift Racing / 2. Virbac Paprec 70 / 3.Edmond de Rothschild / 4. Musandam – Oman Air

Inshore 3
1.Virbac Paprec 70 / 2. Edmond de Rothschild / 3. Musandam – Oman Air / 4. Spindrift Racing

Provisional ranking for the Lisbon Inshore Races
  1. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) / 24 points
  2. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) / 22 points
  3. Spindrift Racing (Xavier Revil) / 20 points
  4. Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) / 18 points
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