The five days of competition in Andalusia took place in some very light and particularly shifty weather conditions. With the exception of yesterday, where the breeze livened up proceedings to the great delight of one and all, the light airs gave this Almeria Grand Prix a rather lacklustre tone. A nerve-racking experience to say the least, these wind conditions also made things difficult for the crews, who had to constantly adapt to these variations. It was an exercise in which the men of Edmond de Rothschild Group struggled to get their bearings: “I think we lacked impulsiveness in this regatta! We found it harder to get into our stride. Of course there are lessons to learn from our result, which wasn’t as good as we’d hoped, and we still have progress to make in a lot of areas. However, there’s no point trying to find explanations for every last detail either. Up until the final race, we could still have finished second on this Spanish leg, which would have been a good result. The ultimate race, which scores double points, cost us dearly. All of that comes down to very little in the end and it will be same in Singapore for the grand final! However, I remain very confident for the future”, said the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group assuredly.
The Swiss sailors on Alinghi, particularly at ease in these light conditions, which they’re familiar with on Lake Geneva, scored their first Grand Prix victory of the season today. Hot on their heels were Max Sirena’s men, whilst the Omani crew skippered by Ben Ainslie completed the podium. As such the English sailor finished his participation in the Extreme Sailing Series on a high, as he’ll be replaced at the helm of Oman Air for the next meeting. Of note is the fact that Emirates Team New Zealand weren’t able to repair the damage suffered during yesterday’s collision with Edmond de Rothschild Group and so they weren’t racing this Sunday. However, Adam Beashel and his crew, who weren’t at fault, were awarded 6.5 points per race and conclude this leg in sixth position.
By finishing fifth in this Grand Prix, Pierre Pennec and his three crew have conceded the top spot on the provisional championship leaderboard to the Italians from Luna Rossa, who are just one point ahead tonight. It goes without saying that the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group would have preferred to have retained a slight advantage over its adversary prior to the last event of the season, but the men of Gitana Team aren’t overly bothered by the heated exchange: “Whether we have a one point deficit in relation to Luna Rossa or a one point lead, it doesn’t make any difference to us. The title will once again be decided on the final leg and most likely the closing race. We’re going to have to make sure we’re ahead whatever happens”, explained Pierre Pennec. From the position of being hunted, the four French sailors have now become hunters, and this role reversal seems to really appeal to Hervé Cunningham, bowman: “We’re a lot better as the outsider rather than the favourite and it’s a very good thing to arrive in Singapore without any pressure.”
The Extreme Sailing Series fleet will be back together again for a final confrontation from 7 to 11 December 2011 in Singapore. Furthermore, we now know that this city-state of eastern Asia will be the justice of the peace for the 2011 season.
The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group
Pierre Pennec (Skipper / helmsman), Christophe Espagnon (mainsail trimmer), Thierry Fouchier (headsail trimmer), Hervé Cunningham (bowman)
Standing in the Almeria Grand Prix (after 32 races)
Standing for the Extreme Sailing Series 2011 after eight Grands Prix
The Extreme Edmond de Rothschild Group supports the Joves Navegants foundation
The family of Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has always had a passion for nautical activities, a commitment embodied today by the Gitana Team. As such the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations have quite naturally been sensitive to the mission of Joves Navegants and touched by the profound collective commitment to helping these young people in precarious situations.
Inspired by the methods of British Sailing associations, which help young people in difficulty, some enthusiastic sailors who have settled in Palma, Mallorca, decided to create Joves Navegants. Aware of the complicated situation for certain youngsters on the island in serious economic and family difficulties, they have chosen to share their passion. The foundation organises several types of trips out to sea on the yacht, Galaxie. These days out involve journeys of discovery, awareness campaigns for sustainable development, participation in races and training aids to enable certain youngsters to envisage sailing as a professional career.
The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation will be supporting Joves Navegants in the organisation of trips out to sea during the summer, enabling the necessary technical improvements to be made on the Galaxie and making it possible for a team to take part in the “Ruta de la Sal” race in April.
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