Cardiff  © Nick Treharne

Cardiff © Nick Treharne

 

The UK round of the award-winning Extreme Sailing Series™ now in its sixth year will be staged in Cardiff the capital of Wales between the 24-27 August, 2012. In a three-year deal, Cardiff won the bid to host the UK event of this global sailing circuit that is only one of four events with ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Special Event status, positioning the city alongside the other seven premium international sporting venues hosting an Extreme Sailing Series Act in 2012. The host venue agreement with Cardiff City is backed by a Welsh Government grant for 2012-2014.

The Extreme 40 catamarans, raced by many of the world’s best sailors, will race on Cardiff Bay over four days with the event open to the public between the 25-27 August as the Extreme 40 fleet race in the circuit’s action packed ‘stadium’ format.

Executive chairman of the organising company behind the series, Mark Turner of OC ThirdPole, said: “The circuit continues to represent perfectly the developments in the world at large, with its balance of east and west, different cultures and languages and variety of conditions.

“Year on year the commercial value to the host cities of securing this event for the host venues has steadily increased, and this is reflected in 2012 developments. A pro-active and innovative host venue is critical to the success of the event, and we are very excited in this respect by the partnership with Cardiff and the Welsh Government.”

Cardiff Council’s Executive Member for Sport, Culture and Leisure Cllr, Nigel Howells commented: “It’s great news that Cardiff has secured the Extreme Sailing series for the next three years, as a council we will do all that we can to support the event.

“Cardiff has proved time and time again that it can play host to a variety of world class sporting events. From top class football and rugby to newer events like Extreme Sailing. Since the opening of Cardiff International White Water (CIWW) in 2010 more and more watersport events are coming to Cardiff, which is helping to attract a new audience to Cardiff and Wales.”

The 2012 Extreme Sailing Series will be staged at 8 different international venues across three continents, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. Alongside other significant media exposure, once again a dedicated TV series will be produced and broadcast on up to 40 channels around the world, including CNBC, Bloomberg, Channel 4 (UK), Sky (UK), Al Jazeera, Fox (Latin America, Australia Middle East), ESPN, Sport+ (France), RAI (Italy).

As we enter the final countdown to the first Act in Oman, the 2012 team line-up will be revealed this coming weekend at the Dusseldorf Boat Show.

2012 Calendar & Host Venues:
Act 1 : Muscat, Oman 28th February-2nd March
Act 2 : Qingdao, China 17th-20th April*
Act 3 : Istanbul, Turkey 7th-10th June
Act 4 : Porto, Portugal 5th-8th July
Act 5: Cardiff, UK 24th-27th August
Act 6 : Trapani, Italy 13th-16th September
Act 7 : Nice, France 18th-21st October
Act 8 : Brazil 29th November-2nd December

Due to official Chinese naval activities in the port of Qingdao, Act 2 will now be staged between 17th-20th April instead of the 19th-22nd April as previously communicated

 

Extreme Sailing Series Boston  Artemis and Red Bull (Photo © George Bekris)

Extreme Sailing Series Boston Artemis and Red Bull (Photo © George Bekris)

Cowes Action (Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Cowes Action (Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

It’s all to play for in Almeria this week as the final event of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2010 circuit kicks off on 9 October. Just four points separate the top four boats at the top of the leaderboard and two Omani, one French and a British team are all hoping to step onto the top podium position at 6.30pm on 12 October.
 
For the second year running, Almeria, on the Southern coast of Andalucia, Spain, will once again host the finale to the Extreme Sailing Series™. Eight teams will line up, including two new entries: a return to the circuit for Mitch Booth (NED/AUS) with his Spanish team, Rumbo Almeria, co-skippered by Guillermo Altadill (ESP), and Dean Barker (NZL) will skipper the first antipodean entry, Emirates Team New Zealand.

Event Director Gilles Chiorri commented, “With 103 races down and up to 30 more to come, Almeria will test the teams in new ways. There will be a mix of racing, some outside the harbour walls in ‘open water’ before the teams start the stadium battles right in the heart of the port from 3.30pm each day. For the teams that were there last year, they know that there is very little room for run-off and mistakes are punished hard. It will be challenging for the teams and exciting for the spectators. A perfect Extreme Sailing Series™ venue.”

Paul Campbell-James and his crew onboard The Wave, Muscat, leads the Championship standings, snatching the overall top spot from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, following some aggressive racing tactics on the last day in Trapani. “We are there to win and it all comes down to the end of the season. It isn’t quite going to be one on one racing, but not far off and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some fairly aggressive sailing by both teams,” Campbell-James commented.

“We are at every event with the sole purpose of trying to be on the podium and that is how we will start Almería. We will be conservative at the beginning but, as we did in Cowes and Trapani, keep the pressure on until we take the top spot overall. The best thing about the team, every time we go out, we enjoy it, and that’s really the key to our success,” Campbell-James finished. If Campbell-James manages to secure overall victory, it will be an impressive win for the youngest skipper on the circuit in his first full Extreme Sailing Series season – racing against some of the best names in the sport.

But there will be three other teams battling to stop them reaching the top… With two wins apiece for The Wave, Muscat and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, the Omani team currently leads the overall standings with 28 and 27 overall points respectively. Yann Guichard and his crew had to settle for second place overall last year, but the French team will be going for an all-out win this time. As proven many times over, when Guichard’s team get into their stride, they can be unstoppable. Mike Golding’s Ecover Sailing Team lies in third place with 25 points and in fourth, Oman Sail Masirah, skippered by Loick Peyron, with 24 points. With eight points for an event win in Almeria, the whole podium is open.

Joining the eight-strong fleet of professional sailors will be the co-creator of the Extreme 40 class, Mitch Booth, with Guillermo Altadill, a multi-disciplined round the world navigator with seven circumnavigations to his name.

“For several years I have been involved in multihulls, in ocean races as well as in Olympic Games when the Tornado was an Olympic class. I have always believed that the show and spectacle in sailing was there and last year I came to Almería to watch the Extreme Sailing Series. I told Mark Turner [Chairman of organisers OC ThirdPole] that I had the intention of having a team and one day take part in the circuit. I believe it’s fantastic and a show not only for the professionals but also for the public who come to watch the events.”

The second new team joining the circuit will be from New Zealand, skippered by Dean Barker, Emirates Team New Zealand. Barker will be joined by two regular ETNZ teammates, Winston Macfarlane, who raced in the 2009 Extreme Sailing Series in Cowes, and Jeremy Lomas, the regular bowman for the team. The final addition will be Australian double Olympic Silver medallist and multihull specialist, Darren Bundock.

Luciano Alonso Alonso, the Andalucian Minister for Tourism commented, “The winner of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series will be decided at the event next week in Almería. Andalucía is once again the host of a top sports event and Almería is going to be making headlines in the world of sailing. I’m particularly pleased because in Almería there will be two new teams competing, Rumbo Almería, with the name ‘Andalucia’ on the sail, and Emirates Team New Zealand. Therefore on behalf of the Junta de Andalucia I want to thank the organizers of the Extreme Sailing Series for bringing the top international sailors to Almería.”

In 2009, the Almeria event attracted over 85,000 spectators, over the same traditional family-centric Puente del Pilar weekend. Once again, the commercial port in the heart of the city will be transformed with bands, childrens activities and food and drink outlets.

Overall Series Standings:

The Wave, Muscat 28
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 27
Ecover Sailing Team 25
Oman Sail Masirah 24
Groupama 40 12
Red Bull Extreme Sailing 12
The Ocean Racing Club 8
Team GAC Pindar 3

 

Groupe Edmond De Rothschild (Photo by Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events)

Groupe Edmond De Rothschild (Photo by Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events)

In 30 degrees and 8-10 knots of the breeze the Sicilian town of Trapani provided a stunning backdrop for the opening day of racing on the penultimate stopover in the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2010.
 
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, skippered by Yann Guichard, fresh from their win in Kiel just three weeks ago, came out of the starting blocks with a bang, taking the first three bullets of the day, but The Wave, Muscat, is hot on the Frenchman’s heels, just one point behind after six races.

Seven teams are here in the Medieval town of Trapani, the fleet augmented by a local ‘wildcard’ entry from America’s Cup Strategist, Gabriele Bruni, with his team Trapani, the Sailing Seacily. “It was really great! We had three good races, then in the last three we finished last, but that’s part of the game. The most important thing is that we enjoyed ourselves on the water. The other teams are very well prepared, sometimes we were playing with them, but obviously generally a bit behind. It’s also fantastic to sail in Trapani, in front of the islands, with good breeze.”

Mike Golding’s Ecover Sailing Team, has seen some stunning performances over the past four months of racing and once again looks to be in a good position to challenge for the podium, but is threatened by the fastest man around the planet, Franck Cammas, just one point behind.

With six races completed on day one, there were four boats taking the top spot, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with three wins, but Groupama 40, Red Bull Extreme Sailing each taking a win and The Wave, Muscat finishing the day with a first.

Extreme Sailing Series (Photo by Roberto Foresti / Canon / OC Events)

Extreme Sailing Series (Photo by Roberto Foresti / Canon / OC Events)

The Extreme Sailing Series™ Trapani continues tomorrow, Friday 24 September, with the seven teams racing right inside the harbour, in front of the public and VIP spectators, from 2pm. Our weather partner WetterWelt expects 11 to 14 knots of breeze, with potential gusts up to 20 – which given the tight situation on the leaderboard will undoubtedly make for hotly contested races. 
 

Trampani (Photo by Toberto Foresti / Canon / OC Events )

Trampani (Photo by Toberto Foresti / Canon / OC Events )

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet  (Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Extreme Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

The beautiful, medieval port of Trapani, on the western coast of Sicily, will play host to the penultimate round of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2010 in just a few days time. Seven teams will line up on 23 September including local hero Gabriele Bruni with his ‘wildcard’ entry Trapani the Sailing Seacily.

“So far we have raced on the coastal waters of Sète, with its Mistral winds, then Cowes on the Isle of Wight, which challenged the crews with its complex, tidal conditions. At the end of August, Kiel in Germany gave the teams their tightest racecourses where over 60,000 people turned out in the pouring rain – their loyalty was rewarded with some thrilling, close quarter combat,” commented Event Director, Gilles Chiorri.

“And now Trapani, where the courses on the three public-facing race days will see the state of the art catamarans put through their paces inside the narrow confines of the medieval harbour. Not only will it be a spectacle, it will challenge the very best skippers and sailors we have on the circuit.”

French rising star, Yann Guichard, skipper of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, currently leads the overall Extreme Sailing Series™ leaderboard, having battled his way to the top demonstrating his picture-perfect starts and his team’s impressive boat-handling skills latterly at the last event in Kiel. Guichard, on 22 points, leads by just 2 points ahead of the youngest skipper in the fleet at just 28, Paul Campbell-James and The Wave, Muscat. The all-British Ecover Sailing Team team led by, Vendée Globe star Mike Golding, is in third place one point behind Campbell-James.

Trapani, Sicily

Trapani, Sicily

Gilles Chiorri concluded, “It’s very tight at the top of the leaderboard, with just three points separating the top three boats, it’s all to play for. There isn’t one clear winner in the fleet by far, anything can happen, and the overall 2010 champion will not be decided until the final event in Andalucia.”

The first day of racing on 23 September will see the fleet head out of the harbour for some longer, classic windward/leeward courses before finishing inside the harbour ahead of the official opening ceremony in the evening.

The in-harbour, stadium-style racing in front of the public will start on the afternoon of Friday 24 September for the seven top professional teams. With 48 World Championship titles, 21 Olympics attended, 14 round the World navigations and 19 sailing records amongst them, the pressure is on amongst the teams to prove their mettle.

Mr Mimmo Turano President of the Province of Trapani said, ‘We are very pleased to have concluded this agreement for many years with a major corporation that brings another important event in Trapani for professional sailing teams.
“We are really satisfied for us to see some of the sailors, who have already competed in Trapani in the America’s Cup in 2005, gladly return to the province of Trapani as evidence of good memories that they’ll bring to the event,” he concluded.

Local Sicilian sailing hero and Olympian Gabriele Bruni will skipper the ‘home’ team, Trapani the Sailing Seacily. Bruni, who represented Italy at the Sydney Olympics in the 49er class and along with his brother, Francesco, races with the Italian America’s Cup team Azzurra, will be joined by his fellow Hobie Tiger World Champion Alberto Sonino on the helm, European Lightening and Optimist Champion Mario Noto on the bow and Giuseppe Leonardi will be the Trimmer.

“I’m really happy to be involved in this international event held in the Trapani waters. The best sailors of the world will line-up and I’m sure we’ll enjoy a lot,” commented Bruni. “Our professional crew is proud to race the Extreme Sailing Series onboard Trapani the Sailing Seacily. In the last years we spent a lot of our time racing the monohulls so it is pretty exciting to come back, especially with my old mate Alberto Sonino, to the unique emotions that only the multihulls can provide.”

Trapani is the most Western port town on the Italian island of Sicily. Twinned with the famous French sailing port of Les Sables-d’Olonne, its crystal clear waters provide beautiful sailing and cruising conditions for thousands of sailors every year and its wind conditions are famed for delivering a consistent breeze throughout the year for both cruisers and racers alike. A rich trading centre throughout the early Middle Age, and a halfway point for Tunisia and Africa, Trápani is enjoying a renewed revitalization thanks to the huge salt pans to the south of town.

Gabriele Olivo, trimmer onboard Red Bull Extreme Sailing, was the lone Italian sailor in the circuit up until now. “I’m really looking forward to sailing in Italy and especially in Sicily. Trapani has been proved in the past to be one of the best places in the world for sailing. The crowds will love the event and I’m sure it will prove to be a really popular event and it will be a fantastic week.

“I’m very happy that I won’t be the only Italian in the circuit, like in the other venues, because we are joined by a local boat skippered by Gabriele Bruni. I hope this will help to inspire the Italian sailors to these incredible and extreme races.”

Teams/Skippers entered into the Extreme Sailing Series™ Trapani:

Ecover Sailing Team (GBR) – Mike Golding (GBR)
Groupama 40 (FRA) – Franck Cammas (FRA)
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) – Yann Guichard (FRA)
Oman Sail Masirah (OMA) – Loick Peyron (FRA)
Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – Roman Hagara (AUT)
The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – Paul Campbell-James (GBR)
Trapani the Sailing Seacily (ITA) – Gabriele Bruni (ITA)

Red Bull Sailing Team ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Red Bull Sailing Team ( Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events )

Paul Campbell-James and Muscat Crew Wins Extreme 40 Cowes (Photo by Mark LLoyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events)

Paul Campbell-James and The Wave, Muscat Crew Wins Extreme 40 Cowes (Photo by Mark LLoyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events)

Paul Campbell-James on The Wave, Muscat has won the UK Round of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week – the first ever regatta win for the youngest skipper on the circuit – claiming an OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean watch as part of the prize as top Skipper for the UK round.  Thirty-six races over six days in front of 60,000+ spectators – the UK round of the five-stop circuit has delivered everything that the Extreme Sailing Series is about. Spectacular, adrenalin-pumping action on the water, enthralling the thousands of spectators who packed into the Extreme Race Village at Egypt Point and along The Esplanade.

The conditions throughout the event have demanded the utmost focus and physical effort from the nine competing teams and today was no exception with 20-25 knots of south-westerly breeze across the short race course and a choppy sea state.  Classic conditions for a potential pitch-pole or capsize and the crews knew it, racing with one reef in the mainsail and an extra fifth pro crew to add a bit of extra weight. The top mark proved a dangerous turning mark as they hoisted their giant gennakers to head downwind at full pelt – the crews ready in a second to ease the sails if the bows dug into the waves too deep.

Going into the fifth and final double points race of the day, Paul Campbell-James and his crew had almost done enough to keep the lead from Britain’s Mike Golding, but they had to finish the race – zero points and Ecover would claim the top spot. As it was the team did enough, scoring a 4th in the final race, to win the UK round of the Extreme Sailing Series on 249 points: “We knew if we capsized it would be the end of the regatta so pretty pleased to get through it,” said a relieved Campbell-James on the podium. 

Extreme 40 Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Paul Weyth/ OC Events)

Extreme 40 Sailing Series Fleet (Photo by Paul Weyth/ OC Events)

But the Ecover team is ecstatic with their second overall place, their best result to date and appreciated the home crowd support: “It’s been great to have the support from the shore – you can even hear the yells and shouts from on board the boat,” said Golding. Tornado Olympic sailors Leigh McMillan and Will Howden have bought a new performance level to Mike’s team, who stepped back to allow the McMillan take the helm. It was a shrewd move and Golding’s team are really starting to gel, and will certainly be a force to contend with in the future.  Yann Guichard’s men on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, winners at the first round in France, always excel in light airs but struggle at times in heavy conditions. A final win in the last race would have lifted their spirits to secure third overall on the podium.

A real battle developed mid-leaderboard between Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Masirah, Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Groupama 40. Only a handful of points separated these three going into the final race. Peyron secured fourth overall, although he never really got into his stride here, and Roman Hagara on Red Bull Extreme Sailing claimed 5th and although lacked consistency they, nonetheless, scored six bullets, ahead of the fastest man round the planet Franck Cammas on Groupama 40.  Groupama 40 provided the most dramatic moment of the UK round on the second day when the 40-foot catamaran careered towards the concrete sea wall without steerage. Franck and the crew had no option but to leap to safety.

Team GAC Pindar, who had the satisfaction of claiming some race wins here, proving that when they get it right they are competitive, finished in 7th place ahead of Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement who is competing in the UK round as a one-off experience (for now!).  For the co-creator of the Extreme 40 class, Mitch Booth and the Team Ocean Racing Club, it proved to be a disastrous regatta, breaking their front beam ahead of the penultimate day and then having to sit and watch the other eight boats have some of the best racing this circuit has ever seen.

The Wave, Muscat’s victory here means they now share the top spot on the overall Series leaderboard with 14 points apiece.  Two points behind Oman Sail Masirah on 12 points.

Next stop for the Extreme Sailing Series is Kiel in Germany between 26-29 August.

Franck Cammas and Groupama 40 Crew In The Water After Collision with Boat and Wall ( Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events )

Franck Cammas and Groupama 40 Crew In The Water After Collision with Boat and Wall ( Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images / OC Events )

There was plenty of dramatic action on day two of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week today. With 18-20 knots of breeze, gusting over 20 at times, the nine teams were racing right on the edge, demanding 100% concentration and a constant rush of adrenalin for both the sailors and the spectators from the near capsizes, near misses and some not so near misses…
 
In race 11 (the fourth inshore race of today), approaching the windward mark Yann Guichard’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild hit Franck Cammas’ Groupama 40 wiping out both rudders, leaving Groupama with no steerage whatsoever. Groupama 40 were heading straight for the shore at speed and for safety the crew leapt into the water to avoid the impact of hitting the sea wall – deciding they would prefer getting wet than being thrown forward on the boat and potentially injuring themselves. Groupama 40 has sustained both rudder and daggerboard damage and it will be a long night for the shore team to get them back racing tomorrow. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild has lodged a protest which the jury will hear and award redress if relevant.

 

 
Paul Campbell-James, the youngest skipper on the circuit at just 28, ensured The Wave, Muscat finished inside the top four in today’s races including the morning offshore race and the five inshore races this afternoon held off Egypt Point. Two wins this afternoon, two seconds and two third places put them top of the Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard on 85 points: “We got good starts which is a big part of today and we were pushing really hard downwind when we needed to. Sometimes we were so close to capsizing but you have to push it hard at times and back off at others.”

Yesterday, British skipper Mike Golding said he didn’t mind if they didn’t score any ‘bullets’ today, stating finishing inside the top four was more important. But his helm Leigh McMillan and the crew had other ideas – posting a win in the offshore race in the morning, then two further bullets in the penultimate and ultimate race of the day to finish in second place with 80 points. This kept the home crowd, who packed into the Extreme Bar and along the shoreline, happy as they cheered Golding’s crew all the way.

The Wave, Muscat At Cowes Week Extreme 40 Sailing (Photo by Paul Wyeth /  OC Events)

The Wave, Muscat At Cowes Week Extreme 40 Sailing (Photo by Paul Wyeth / OC Events)

All the skippers talk about the importance of consistency but yesterday’s leader Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Masirah found his top form elusive today, only posting a third place in the second race this afternoon which leaves Peyron’s team in third place overall with 74 points – 7 points ahead of Guichard’s team in 4th.

Double Olympic Gold Medalist Roman Hagara had another day of mixed fortunes – one race win and a second place in the penultimate race, keeps them in contention in the middle of the leaderboard in 6th place, five points behind Mitch Booth’s The Ocean Racing Club who did well in this morning’s offshore finishing in second. Another frustrating day for Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement who had rudder problems before the start of the first race then had to drop the mainsail between races to sort out another problem. The team unpracticed in the art of Extreme 40 racing, put a reef in early and raced cautiously throughout the afternoon, although the 1989 Formula 40 World Champion demonstrated why he clinched that title with a couple of great starts.

 

Groupama 40 (Photo by Vincent Curutchet/ DPPI/ OC Events)

Groupama 40 (Photo by Vincent Curutchet/ DPPI/ OC Events)

At the penultimate day of racing at the first round of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series in Sète, France, three teams are taking control at the top of the leaderboard. A jib sheet problem for Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and a penalty dealt Guichard’s men a last place in the final race, but they had done enough to keep their lead and there seem to be very few cracks in their armour. “We started off really well, then had a couple of less than good starts and in those conditions it becomes hard to catch up. Overall we’ve done good things but at times we did not shine, yet we still retain our first place and tomorrow we’ll try and stay on the podium!” said Guichard. Oman Sail Masirah’s convincing victory in the final race keeps Loick Peyron in third behind Paul Campbell-James’ team on The Wave, Muscat in second. Only 4 points separate each of the top three teams going into the final day tomorrow.

Extreme Sailing Series Europe (Photo by Vincent Curutchet/DPPI/OC Events )

Extreme Sailing Series Europe (Photo by Vincent Curutchet/DPPI/OC Events )

Plenty of close combat resulted in a number of penalties and collisions. The winds shifts proved costly for many, at the same time the stronger gusts gave the crowds what they love – massive acceleration and flying hulls.

Another great battle is developing mid-leaderboard with Franck Cammas in 4th place on 66 points, Red Bull Extreme Sailing 5th on 60 points, then The Ocean Racing Club and Ecover, 6th and 7th, on 59 points apiece. Ecover helmsman, Leigh McMillan, did a fantastic job in the early races, getting Ecover right in the mix at the front but the team’s fortunes did not continue: “Probably a little bit disappointed because we started the day really well, we got three seconds and were winning at one point, and then the breeze got up, we started to struggle a bit and our strategies off the start just really weren’t paying off,” said McMillan. “We weren’t picking the right shifts off the line and we got thoroughly punished. We had a few close port and starboards which was a difference between us getting round in the second or third or last because we had to do some slow double tacks at windward mark so that set us back massively as well. On these boats the margins are so small and it is all so close that a matter of metres can make the difference between the first and last sometimes.” Nick Moloney’s crew on Team GAC Pindar had their best result of this regatta with a second place in the fourth race today but remain bottom of the leaderboard on 39 points.

Muscat The Wave Getting Some Air (Photo by

Muscat The Wave Getting Some Air (Photo by

Perhaps the surprise act for many of the European regulars is Britain’s Paul Campbell-James, skipper of The Wave, Muscat. His 49er and match racing expertise, and youngest skipper in the fleet, makes him a formidable opponent and he is putting pressure on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Oman Sail Masirah at every opportunity he can get, whittling down Yann Guichard’s 8-point lead of yesterday to just 4 points at the end of play today. His aggressive style can lead to repercussions as we saw in race 3 today – after being denied a penalty call Campbell-James tried to get passed Loick Peyron, jostling for position on the short downwind leg resulting in ramming Masirah from behind!

You can watch all the video action from day 3 HERE

2010 Extreme Sailing Series Sete France (Photo by Juerg Kaufman / go4image.com )

2010 Extreme Sailing Series Sete France (Photo by Juerg Kaufman / go4image.com )

Yann Guichard’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild may have retained control at the top of the leaderboard after five races today but the pressure is on from Paul Campbell-James’ team on The Wave, Muscat who are excelling here in France moving up to second overall.


The first day of the first round of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series may have proved challenging for America’s Cup helmsman Loick Peyron and his crew on Oman Sail Masirah, however, it is now no surprise to see the 2009 defending Extreme Sailing Series champions gelling well and getting it right on the water: “Things are falling into place gradually, it takes a bit of time and it’s perfectly normal,” said Peyron. “The crew were used to another helmsman, and I was used to another crew… Maybe I was lacking a bit of confidence as well, but it’s coming back and getting good results obviously helps. The good thing is that even when we start very badly we manage to get back in the game and overtake other boats.” Scoring a win in the final race today has fast tracked them up the leaderboard from sixth to third.

Again the wind direction proved a challenge for the race committee as it shifted from the north to north-west, and the best breeze came in the first race of the day with a good 10 knots, gusting 12, that saw the Extreme 40 hulls flying high and the bows digging in at the downwind mark roundings – the upwind legs taking no more than four minutes and downwind less than two! The public and VIPs basked in the sunshine whilst the eight teams went out of their way to keep them entertained.

Mike Golding’s Ecover got off to a flying start and nearly had the first race in the bag… Leigh McMillan, Ecover’s driver, did a great job on the first leg choosing the right side of the upwind course, tacking back onto starboard and rounding the mark first just seconds ahead of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. At the final downwind mark Guichard’s crew made a rare crew error briefly losing control of their gennaker and the Ecover team looked to have the race in the bag… But a twist in their huge gennaker cut their downwind speed in half. Guichard’s men were through and like yesterday took the first race of the day. Behind, like thoroughbreds let loose on the straight, The Wave, Muscat and Oman Sail Masirah came storming down to claim second and third. With Mitch Booth’s team in fourth this relegated an unlucky Ecover to fifth.

The fastest man round the planet, Franck Cammas’ and his Groupama 40 crew shone in the second race cruising to victory – literally, furling their gennaker with 50m to go to the finish line! Unfortunately, the next race didn’t quite go to plan incurring a penalty for touching The Wave, Muscat, and then a second penalty for not performing the first properly! Relegating them to last place and Cammas’ team are now fifth on the overall leaderboard, compared to third yesterday.


Red Bull Extreme Sailing had to sit out the second race with a hydraulic problem, likely the mainsheet ram, but Olympic Gold double medalist Roman Hagara came back in style to score two straight wins – not bad considering they still had hydraulic issues – moving them up to fourth overall on the leaderboard at the end of play today. Nick Moloney’s crew on Team GAC Pindar are struggling to find their form scoring three 6th places, a 7th and an 8th. However, driver Andrew Walsh has some solid Extreme 40 experience and Moloney’s team have been regular visitors to the podium over the last three seasons, finishing 3rd overall in 2007 and 2008.

 

With two days of racing to go “it isn’t over till the fat lady sings” as the French commentator said. Not sure the French crowd fully got the analogy but it was entertaining listening to the commentator trying to explain it!

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Photo by Vincent Curutchet/ DPPI/ OC Events)

Photos by Vincent Curutchet/DPPI/OC Events