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The script could not have been more perfectly written by the end of the penultimate day of racing at the final round of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series™ in Almeria. Yann Guichard (Groupe Edmond de Rothschild) and Paul Campbell-James (The Wave, Muscat) will go into the final day of the final round of the season on equal points – Guichard retains the top spot on count back, scoring seven first places at this regatta opposed to Campbell-James’ six. It is now likely that the final will go to the wire with double points up for grabs in the last race.
 
The script could not have been more perfectly written by the end of the penultimate day of racing at the final round of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series™ in Almeria. Yann Guichard (Groupe Edmond de Rothschild) and Paul Campbell-James (The Wave, Muscat) will go into the final day of the final round of the season on equal points – Guichard retains the top spot on count back, scoring seven first places at this regatta opposed to Campbell-James’ six. It is now likely that the final will go to the wire with double points up for grabs in the last race.

In contrast to yesterday’s breezy conditions that produced some incredibly close and on the edge of control racing, a gentle breeze of 5-6 knots ruffled the waters inside the port of Almeria requiring maximum concentration and good crew weight distribution to optimize boat speed. Paul Campbell-James and the boys on The Wave, Muscat knew they had to put in a strong performance today and they redeemed themselves admirably, posting two wins in the fleet races and winning the final match race of today against Guichard: “We couldn’t be happier! We are back in the game and it’s all to play for tomorrow. We are on a come back and they are going down so it should be interesting tomorrow,” said Campbell-James. “We’re pumped, it’s not only overall for this event, it’s overall for the whole series that we are playing for tomorrow. The whole year is down to one single day and I can imagine it will be decided in the last race.”

 Groupe Edmond de Rothschild came into the season as favourites, finishing second overall in 2009, but it has been the ‘young guns’ on the Omani team that have pushed them every step of the way: “It was a hard day for us but we keep the lead with the same points as The Wave, Muscat so it will be a big fight tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, we are feeling good and the competition should be high. The weather will be different tomorrow with more wind. But as usual we will take it race by race,” said Guichard. “We’re still leading the event here and that’s the main thing. The Wave had a really good day today while for us we struggled a little bit at the start.”

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The Wave, Muscat (Photo by Paul Wyeth/ OC Events )

 Desperate for an event win is the British team led by Mike Golding on Ecover Sailing Team, and they started the day with good intentions. Ecover won the first fleet race and three races later Guichard, Campbell-James and Golding were all on equal points of 76 going into the fourth race. Helmsman Leigh McMillan sailed a cracking race to put Ecover top of the leaderboard. Sadly, the glory was short-lived – a 5th and 6th place plus losing their match race scuppered their chances. However, nothing is decided yet with a full schedule of racing set for tomorrow and the game is still wide open for Ecover to get back in the mix.

 Loick Peyron and his crew on Oman Sail Masirah had an up and down day, and although they have managed to hold on to their fourth place in the event rankings, Franck Cammas (Groupama) is within three points: “It was a good day for us, we won a race and made it to the top three several times and we ended the day on a victory in our match race,” said Cammas. “We’re within reach of Masirah, Ecover in third is a bit further but tomorrow should be a great day with a nice battle.” Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing team now have their work cut out for them if they want to overhaul Cammas to claim the overall fifth place that these two teams are vying for.

The home team of Rumbo Almeria skippered by Guillermo Altadill delighted the local crowds by scoring a 2nd in the first race of the day and now have 54 points, putting them in 6th place going into the final day. Not bad for a team that have had hardly any preparation or training time. Go Almeria!

Extreme Sailing Series™ Almeria Results after Day 3

1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Yann Guichard, 97 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat, Paul Campbell-James, 97 points
3rd Ecover Sailing Team, Mike Golding, 91 points
4th Oman Sail Masirah, Loick Peyron, 78 points
5th Groupama 40, Franck Cammas, 75 points
6th Rumbo Almeria, Guillermo Altadill, 54 points
7th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, Roman Hagara, 49 points
8th Emirates Team New Zealand, Dean Barker, 47 points

Overall Standings Extreme Sailing Series™ 2010
Team / Skipper / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat, Paul Campbell-James, 28 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Yann Guichard, 27 points
3rd Ecover Sailing Team, Mike Golding, 25 points
4th Oman Sail Masirah, Loick Peyron, 24 points
5th Groupama 40, Franck Cammas, 13 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, Roman Hagara, 13 points
7th The Ocean Racing Club, Mitch Booth, 7 points
8th Team GAC Pindar, Nick Moloney, 3 points

Extreme 40's Race In iShares Cup In Hyeres, France (Photo by Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

Extreme 40's Race In iShares Cup In Hyeres, France (Photo by Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

Whilst football fans around the world obsess about the selection of their World Cup national squad, all bar one of the Extreme 40 teams have now confirmed their ‘squads’ for the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series that kick-offs in a week’s time on the south coast of France at Sète from 27th-30th. Eight international teams will be on the start line to battle it out over five events across Europe this summer. At the mercy of the on-water referees, the teams racing their high-speed 40′ catamarans will be hoping to avoid any ‘sending offs’! But on race courses that on average only equal the size of six football pitches, the teams are constantly engaged in close combat that frequently result in punishable infringements.

(Photo by Thierry Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events)


Across the fleet of 32 sailors there are two double Olympic Gold medallists, 61 World and 37 European Championship titles, 20 Round the World navigations, 20 America’s Cups sailed and 39 sailing records held or broken amongst the 14 nationalities.

Three top French skippers will be taking the helms of Extreme 40s this year – Franck Cammas, Yann Guichard and Loick Peyron. Franck Cammas, fresh from his Jules Verne Trophy record-breaking circumnavigation, will drive Groupama 40. Cammas will be joined by former America’s Cup sailor Tanguy Cariou (FRA) as his tactician: “We’ve spent the winter capturing the Jules Verne Trophy with an amazing team onboard Groupama 3, and so Groupama 40 looks pretty small!” Cammas joked. “But we like these close-quarter regattas. Our business is all about sailing so, big or small, in a team, or alone, it’s not important. It’s all about the sailing.”

Experienced offshore multihull sailor, Yann Guichard will once again be helming the Gitana Team entry, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Guichard finished an impressive second last season: “2009 was the year we discovered the Extreme Sailing Series and the style of Extreme 40 regattas: the notion of sport as a spectacle! We soon learnt that consistency pays and to perform well in this series and to post good results, you need to navigate really well and not have any on-the-water contact with your competitors.”

(Photo by Yvan Zedda / Gitana SA)


The final French skipper is ‘Mr Multihull’ himself, Loick Peyron who recently helmed Alinghi in the 33rd America’s Cup. Peyron has ‘jumped ship’ from one Oman Sail Extreme 40 to the other and for 2010 will skipper and helm Oman Sail Masirah. Peyron will be joined by the 2009 skipper, now trimmer and team manager, Pete Cumming (GBR). The Sultanate of Oman, as in the previous seasons, has a second entry in the circuit with The Wave, Muscat, skippered by British talent Paul Campbell-James (GBR). An experienced matchracer, ‘CJ’ demonstrated his aggressive starting talent on the winter Asia tour. Joining him will be the first Omani who has progressed through the Oman Sail Academy and now racing as a professional sailor, Khamis Al Anbouri (OMA).

(Photo by Mark Lloyd)


Following his debut in the inaugural Asian Extreme Sailing Series, double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara (AUT) will be joined by his Olympic crew Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT) for the Red Bull Extreme Sailing entry. Racing alongside Hagara will be Gabriele Olivo (ITA) and David Vera (ESP), both of whom participated in the last Volvo Ocean Race with the Spanish Telefonica team. Red Bull Extreme Sailing boasts a good balance between offshore and inshore racing experience and talent and will be strong contenders for a podium position.

Veteran Extreme 40 sailor, Nick Moloney (AUS) is back as skipper of the new entry Team GAC Pindar. From the America’s Cup to the solo Route du Rhum and Vendée Globe, and the Jules Verne Trophy, Moloney has seen it all! Helming the British entry Team GAC Pindar is British Tornado sailor Andrew Walsh. Joining them will be Fraser Brown (NZL), another very experienced Extreme 40 player and Team Pindar’s Olly Smith (GBR): a promising combination of talent.

Finally, one of Great Britain’s most accomplished single-handed sailors ever, with two IMOCA World Champion titles, a third in the solo Vendée Globe, Mike Golding returns to the circuit with an all-British line up in the Ecover Sailing Team. Golding will receive a shot in the arm from the combined Olympic Tornado talents of Leigh McMillan, Team GBR’s catamaran helmsman at both the Athens and Beijing Olympics, and Will Howden. Golding commented: “Training has gone really well. Will and Leigh have a great synergy onboard, so it has been a very smooth process working in the role changes. 2009 was a learning curve for all of us, and I hope this year will see us raise the bar in terms of performance on the water. Leigh will be fantastic on the helm, and we intend to make an impact on the leaderboard this season”.

(Photo by Mark Lloyd)
And with just one final team racing under the flag of The Ocean Racing Club in Slovenia, due to announce early next week, there will now be eight teams on the start line: “It’s a hugely impressive line-up again this year, the quality and depth of experience of the sailors increases year on year and guarantees us some spectacular action,” said Event Director, Gilles Chiorri. With more days racing than ever before, the four-day events will challenge every aspect of tactics, speed and finesse for the top international sailors.

Extreme 40 Sailing In Hong Kong (Photo by Marco Hong/OC Events )

Extreme 40 Sailing In Hong Kong (Photo by Marco Hong/OC Events )

As the inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia gets off to a successful start in Hong Kong (20-24 November), OC Events, organisers of the Extreme Sailing Series, take a look back at the highlights of the 2009 iShares Cup, revealing the key statistics from the series third season, and preview the 2010 European Extreme Sailing Series.
 
For the planned six events in 2010, four countries are already confirmed, with events taking place in the UK, Germany, France and Spain. Venue announcements will be made over the coming months, but it can be confirmed today that the final round of the Extreme Sailing Series 2010 will take place in the region of Andalucia, Spain, at the port of Almeria over the national holiday weekend in mid-October.

Almeria hosted the 2009 finalé and recently published the results of an Economic Impact Report produced by the Council of Tourism, Commerce and Sport for Andalucia confirming that the event had generated 2.7m Euros of return on their investment. Over 75,000 spectators attended the Spanish event in October this year. A total of 15,000 tourists visited the city, 92% visiting because of the event and 80% of visitors expressed their intention to return. Hotel occupancy was up by 19.2 per cent compared to the same time in 2008, with more than 606,000 overnight stays. The visitors scored the event 8.1 points out of 10, considering the event to be ‘well organised’.

Seven teams who competed in the 2009 European series have already expressed their commitment to return in 2010 ahead of the publication of the official Notice of Race.

Extreme Sailing Series Racing In Hong Kong (Photo by Guy Nowell/OC Events)

Extreme Sailing Series Racing In Hong Kong (Photo by Guy Nowell/OC Events)

The full media evaluation report of the 2009 iShares Cup will be published shortly by independent agency Havas Insight. In the meantime, enjoy some of the key statistics from the highly successful 2009 circuit that saw 48 of the world’s best sailors compete in 108 races across six European venues with only two capsizes, compared to five in 2008, but six collisions…!

To find out more about the current Extreme Sailing Series Asia, CLICK HERE…

2009 FACTS AND FIGURES:

Entries:

BT (EUR) – Nick Moloney (AUS)
Ecover (EUR) – Mike Golding (GBR)
Holmatro (NED) – Carolijn Brouwer (BEL)
iShares (EUR) – Shirley Robertson (GBR)
Gitana Extreme-Groupe LCF Rothschild (FRA) – Yann Guichard (FRA)
Groupama 40 (FRA) – Franck Cammas (FRA)
LUNA (FRA) – Erik Maris (FRA)
Oman Sail Masirah (OMA) – Pete Cumming (GBR)
Oman Sail Renaissance (OMA) – Loïck Peyron (FRA)
BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) – James Spithill (AUS) (Venice/Hyères only)
WIRSOL Team Germany Kiel Sailing City – Roland Gabler (GER) (Kiel only)
Rumbo Almeria – Fernando Echavarri (ESP) (Almeria only)

Sailors:

48 sailors across 12 teams
52 World Championships
17 Olympians
7 Olympic medalists (4 Gold)
27 America’s Cup participations
17 Round the World navigations
11 different nationalities

Racing:

108 races: Venice 17; Hyéres 19; Cowes 20; Kiel 19; Amsterdam 17: Almeria 16

Regatta wins: Oman Sail Masirah 4 (Hyéres, Cowes, Kiel, Almeria); Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild 2 (Venice, Amsterdam)

Number of 1st places: Oman Sail Masirah 36; Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild 19; Oman Sail Renaissance 16 (9 out of the 12 teams, all scored 1 or more race wins during the season)

Best number of race wins per venue: Oman Sail Masirah 11 (Cowes); Oman Sail Renaissance 5 (Kiel, Amsterdam); Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild 5 (Almeria)

2 capsizes: Holmatro at Cowes (practice day); Ecover at Kiel, day 1 (5 capsizes in 2008)

6 collisions: Oman Sail Renaissance hit Ecover (Hyéres); Team iShares hit spectator boat (Cowes); Oman Sail Renaissance hit WIRSOL Team Germany (Kiel) and Gitana Extreme hit WIRSOL Team Germany (Kiel); Oman Sail Renaissance hit Ecover (Amsterdam, practice day); BT hit Oman Sail Masirah (Amsterdam)

7 disqualifications: Groupama 40 (Venice); Oman Sail Renaissance (Kiel); Holmatro, Team iShares and BT (Amsterdam); LUNA and Team iShares (Almeria)

Venues:

Venice, Italy
Hyeres-TPM, France
Cowes, England
Kiel, Germany
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Almeria, Spain

(2007 x 4 rounds / 2008 x 5 rounds)

Spectators (estimated):

2009 200,000

(2007 57,000 / 2008 150,000)

VIP entertainment:

2,124 VIP guests were entertained in the VIP facilities at the six events in 2009

93% of VIP guests agreed that the iShares Cup fell within the top three events they had ever attended.

Extreme 40's Race In iShares Cup In Hyeres, France (Photo by Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

Extreme 40's Race In iShares Cup In Hyeres, France (Photo by Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

After a 6th position at the inaugural event of the iShares Cup in Venice, Nick Moloney and his team matched that again at the iShares Cup Hyères-TPM with another sixth place. This also leaves BT in 6th overall in the iShares Cup 2009 circuit going into Round 3 that takes place in the UK over 1st-3rd August at the start of Cowes Week.

BT had a strong first day, winning the final race: “It was awesome but also quite tricky at times. It was very aggressive out on the racecourse. We just tried to be consistent scoring thirds and fourths, then a win in the final race was good enough to put us second on the leaderboard at the end of the day. Our training session in Hyères a couple of weeks ago has really paid off – losing Darren was tough as you lose 25% of your consistency but Mitch has been the ideal replacement.”

 

Mitch Booth took over the helm of BT as Darren Bundock, regular driver of the BT Extreme 40, was forced to step down due to injury: “I have not sailed an Extreme 40 for three years,” explained Mitch who then summed up day two in succinct terms: “We did good on the first day before having a shocker yesterday! We had too many bad positionings, got locked out of the starts twice, and in that class once you’re out, you’re out! And every mistake is paid for in full.”

The racing for the 10 top international Extreme 40 teams was intense and aggressive. The conditions were near ideal with a similar weather pattern over the three days starting in light conditions before building during the afternoon – the bigger breeze piling on the pressure for the teams.  In these conditions, the iShares Cup Race Committee staged 19 races in total, within view of hundreds of spectators – the finish line itself was set almost within touching distance of the crowds.  The BT crew were ‘pumped up’ for the final day and quickly put two bad results behind them to get back in the game with a second place in race 17 and a fourth place in the final double points race.

Nick was pragmatic about BT’s result and not overly disappointed: “You have to remember here that we are racing against some of the top sailors in the world, so getting a 1st or a 2nd in a race is huge.”

iShares Cup In Hyeres (Photo by Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

iShares Cup In Hyeres (Photo by Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

It was an interesting day for all the teams on the water today in the shifting condition in Hyeres, and no more so than for the two Oman Sail teams. Overnight leaders Masirah started their day by recording their worst result of the series thus far but Renaissance, in contrast, scored their best. The sixth place for Masirah and second for Renaissance put them both at the top of the leader board but it was to be the last race of the day for Loick Peyron and his team as Mike Golding on Ecover put paid to his day. Golding misjudged a port – starboard crossing and took one of Renaissance’s rudders out of action; it took some skillful boat handling by Peyron to record the second place that they did.
It was an interesting day for all the teams on the water today in the shifting condition in Hyeres, and no more so than for the two Oman Sail teams. Overnight leaders Masirah started their day by recording their worst result of the series thus far but Renaissance, in contrast, scored their best. The sixth place for Masirah and second for Renaissance put them both at the top of the leader board but it was to be the last race of the day for Loick Peyron and his team as Mike Golding on Ecover put paid to his day. Golding misjudged a port – starboard crossing and took one of Renaissance’s rudders out of action; it took some skillful boat handling by Peyron to record the second place that they did.

It was bitterly disappointing for him and his crew to see all their hard work lost due to no fault of their own.  Omani fifth man for the day Mubarak Al Battashi explained, ‘We knew that Ecover was going to hit us and all we could do was watch- everything happens so quickly on these boats. Loick did an amazing job of getting us to the finish line in second place. It is unfortunate that our day will be settled by a sailing jury in a room and not by us on the water. We look forward to tomorrow!’

Masirah didn’t have to win the penultimate race to take th em through to the next day as leaders but they gave the watching crowds a great show as they powered down with third placed Holmatro only to lose by 10 feet from them on the line. With 12 knots of breeze blowing, the Extreme 40’s had hulls flying which only made the battle for second place between BMW Oracle and Gitana Extreme-Groupe LCF Rothschild all the more exciting. BMW Oracle managed to take a well-needed first place but Gitana held on and took second place. Holmatro showed great form in the last few races and will see them go into Sunday’s final races as potential podium placers. Renaissance spent some time in the protest room but as it was an obvious error on the part of Ecover, they were awarded average points based on their results the day before. Fortunately they didn’t have a result worse than fifth throughout the day which gave them a well needed boost going into the last day..

 "Renaissance" skippered by Loick Peyron(FRA) in action during day 1 of the Extreme 40 iShares Cup. Hyeres. France (Photo by Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

"Renaissance" skippered by Loick Peyron(FRA) in action during day 1 of the Extreme 40 iShares Cup. Hyeres. France (Photo by Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

Final positions for the day have Masirah in the lead with 110 points, Renaissance in second with 100 points and BMW Oracle take the final podium place of the day with 97 points.

The chasing pack are:
4. Gitana Extreme-Groupe LCF Rothschild,
5. Groupama – 85 points, 6. BT – 77 points
7. Holmatro – 63 points,
8.  iShares – 62 points,
9. Luna – 39 points
10. Ecover – 33 points

By the start of the last race the wind had started picking up and gusts of up to 20 knots were seen across the water. This is the upper limit of the Extreme 40 racing catamarans and it is the point when they start to offer edge of the seat racing for all the spectators. BMW Oracle pinned Renaissance down at the start and took them out to the far side of the course in an attempt to push them down the leaderboard and make BMW Oracle’s position stronger. BMW Oracle still managed to get to the top mark in second place and had successfully pushed Renaissance down to fifth as well as rattled the crew’s nerves. At the bottom mark Renaissance botched their kite drop and were left hobbled as several boats went past them. They recovered well and got to the top mark with two boats behind them and managed to hold that position to the finish line that was enough to beat Gitana Extreme overall by 3 points and the late charging Groupama by 4 points. BMW Oracle sailed a textbook race to take the finish gun by a strong margin over Groupama but it wasn’t enough to beat Masirah who took third place on the water but first overall with a safety margin of 10 points.
The top 5 places were separated by 30 points but third, fourth and fifth places had only 4 places between them. This means that it is all change at the top of the leaderboard as they pack up and head for Cowes on the first of August. BMW Oracle have taken the first place on the podium with 18 points from two legs after a second in Venice and second in Hyeres. Masirah and Gitana Extreme share second place tied on 17 points and Renaissance hold on to third (or fourth, depending how you look at it) with 16 points. Needless to say all the teams will be looking forward to facing off with each other in Cowes in the south of England in three weeks time and you can guarantee that BMW Oracle won’t want to make it three bridesmaids in a row!

"Masirah"  skippered by Pete Cummings (GBR) with Chris Draper (GBR) Helm, David Carr (GBR) Bow, Mark Bulkeley (GBR) Mainsheet and  Khamis al Anbouri, shown here in action on day two of the racing. Hyeres.France (Photo By Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

"Masirah" skippered by Pete Cummings (GBR) with Chris Draper (GBR) Helm, David Carr (GBR) Bow, Mark Bulkeley (GBR) Mainsheet and Khamis al Anbouri, shown here in action on day two of the racing. Hyeres.France (Photo By Lloyd Images / Oman Sail)

Fresh from their victory over a quadruple Olympic medalist and an America’s Cup challenger, Oman Sail’s Masirah Extreme 40 is on the top step of the podium after the first day of the iShares Cup. The conditions off the coast of the South of France matched the conditions off Muscat in which Masirah trained in and gave them four first places out of six races and a worst result of a fourth in the first race.
The team on Masirah was the same as that which won the Round the Island Race in the UK two weeks ago when they beat British Olympic sensation Ben Ainslie and America’s Cup mastermind Russell Coutts. Once again Khamis Al Anbouri was crewing on Masiarh and playing a full time role in the tactical roles and even had a few words to say on the podium, ‘There was a lot of teamwork involved on the boat today and we put together a lot of the things we have done in training. As one of the five people who worked hard to get the boat to the top step of the podium I am very proud. We still have a lot of work to do tomorrow and Sunday though!’ The helmsman of Oman Sail’s Masirah is Chris Draper, an Olympic medalist, who went on to say that ‘Khamis is our lucky charm’.

Saturday will see up to ten races sailed on the water right in front of the breakwater of Hyeres, in the province of Toulon. Last year was the first time Hyeres featured on the iShares Cup circuit and saw some of the most exciting sailing ever seen on Extreme 40’s. This year the weather forecast is slightly tamer and there is less chance of seeing the thrills, spills and capsizes of last year.

 

 

Groupama 3 At Berth In New York (Photo by Loic Dorez / Team Groupama)

Groupama 3 At Berth In New York (Photo by Loic Dorez / Team Groupama)

Once again Groupama team is everywhere at once. Arriving in New York last night where she is being switched to the necessary configuration for an attempt at the Transatlantic record, the crew of Groupama 3 will have to follow the performance of Groupama 40 via the internet as she competes at Hyères, in France’s Var region, where Franck Cammas is helming in the second stage of the iShares Cup. 

Today was a training day for the second stage of the iShares Cup in Hyères; with two coastal courses on the menu, followed by a short race just off the port’s jetties. Suffice to say that the spectacle of 12 metre catamarans sailing beam to beam was a fabulous one, particularly when they’re helmed by renowned champions such as James Spithill, Loïck Peyron, Yann Guichard, Mike Golding and of course Franck Cammas.

Though the two coastal courses were beautifully won by Eric Maris and his crew on Luna Rossa, it is worth mentioning the great consistency of the winner of the first stage of the iShares Cup TPM, Gitana Extreme. Decidedly very quick, the Tornado champion has visibly relocated the automatic reflexes gained during numerous Olympic preparations carried out over recent years.

As for Groupama 40, the day was far from gloomy. Incisive during the starting procedures, tactically prudent as they favoured the middle ground, Franck Cammas and his crew have been highly consistent and always made it into the top four today. Will this be enough to stand out and earn themselves a podium place?
“The general level is high. More than the performance though it’s the cohesion of the crew, the quality of the manoeuvres and a touch of opportunism which will make the difference. It’s up to us to be in the action, to make as few errors as possible and be able to make the most of those mistakes the others make. We have a fine crew for that with Tanguy Cariou on tactics, Fred Le Maistre on the bow and Thierry Fouchier trimming the headsails. We get on well and we’re highly motivated” analyses Franck Cammas, who concludes by asking for news of the crew on Groupama 3 who have just reached New York: “I monitored their crossing and did their routing for the first two thirds of the delivery. They’ve sailed well. Crossing the Atlantic in that direction in seven days is a fine performance”.

On the East Coast of the United States, the Boat Manager on Groupama 3 also enquired as to the ambitions of Groupama 40 in Hyères; a race zone he knows well through having often sailed there in a Tornado: “So, are the guys doing well?”.
Getting back down to business the skipper looks back at the crossing: “The boat is faultless. Even though she was heavy, due notably to the engine, and we didn’t power her up too hard, she perfectly fulfilled our expectations. She was back to her old self, easy to handle and still as responsive as ever, particular in a medium breeze. These are important characteristics which will enable us to be efficient over a fifty day period next winter”.

As to the crew and newcomers like Bernard Stamm and Lionel Lemonchois, Fred Le Peutrec doesn’t need to dwell on the matter for long: “They have years of collective skills and experience. Their presence aboard is obvious. It’s straightforward. It’s noteworthy but not exceptional, so obvious is it”.

It’s the same scenario for Olivier Mainguy, a member of the shore crew in charge of the rig, who will be a bowman during the next Atlantic record attempt: “He’s working flat out; always precise and very committed. It’s also down to him and his splicing that we’re in a position to trim Groupama 3 precisely. He knows her like the back of his hand”.

In Gateway Marina, the shore crew are preparing the boat, dismantling the engine, and removing anything that no longer has a place. As dusk closes in, Groupama 3 pulls at her warps. The same is true of her crew.

Group LCF Rothschild (Photo by Theirry Martinez / Sea & Co)

Group LCF Rothschild (Photo by Thierry Martinez / Sea & Co)

Yann Guichard’s crew on Group LCF Rothschild end the weekend with the overall win of the Venice event.  The French team proved omnipresent in the leading group, making very few mistakes and gradually capitalising on points to move closer to final victory after each race. The wind direction today forced the Race Committee to set-up oblong courses leaving few tactical options to the skippers, and more than ever winning the first mark was key – any hesitation or imperfect placement on the startline was immediately sanctioned by a costly result. Show-wise, it was absolutely perfect with the boats coming under gennaker, flying a hull, just metres away from the race village!

Loïck Peyron’s Renaissance (Oman Sail), had a great start to the day and won two races in a row before collapsing in the final confrontation, while the Groupama 40 boys were on good form as well, posting a first win today then a second place while Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild and BMW ORACLE Racing were having a ‘shocker’ in race 14. At the end of the latter, Renaissance was third only two points away from the America’s Cup team! Pressure was building up, with the perspective of the last race of the day counting for double points. By that time Renaissance had moved into second place, and tension was high as anything could happen for second, third and fourth places! And indeed, it did. Renaissance’s risky start option did not pay off and Peyron ended up at the back of the fleet whilst Ecover was leading at the first mark… before being relegated to the last place in the final race with so many points at stake! BT captured the last victory of the iShares Cup Venice event in front BMW ORACLE Racing while Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild came third and secured overall victory.

Yann Guichard: “It’s a great feeling to win here, I guess we were coming knowing we were somewhere in the top five, but winning the first event is fantastic! We concentrated on our starts, communication within the team was excellent and we did not lose our focus. There is a lot of pressure on the helmsmen as the boats are very close, and it’s very demanding physically for the crew but we were working perfectly together. That’s one in the bag, and five to go! We really enjoyed the format, I think it’s been great for the spectators as well. We’ll go back to training soon, as the next event in Hyères will probably be more windy and a bit different, but we’re looking forward to it.”