Yann Guichard and The Spindrift Racing Crew celebrate inagural win on the MOD70 Championship (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Yann Guichard and The Spindrift Racing Crew celebrate inagural win on the MOD70 Championship (Photo by Lloyd Images)

 

Winners of the Krys Ocean race in June and second overall in the MOD70 European Tour, Yann Guichard and the Spindrift racing crew triumph in the 2012 Multi One Championship. 
 
Yann Guichard and Léo Lucet appreciate the results all the more because a year and a half ago, the Spindrift racing project was a sporting, technical and logistical idea jotted down on a blank sheet of paper. The boat is solid and reliable, the technical team is competent and expert, and the pure talent of the heavyweight sailing team are the ingredients of certain success. The sleek black and white trimaran showed its mettle throughout the different exercises, from the transatlantic race to the long coastal races, through speed runs and inshore courses. Léo Lucet, executive director of Spindrift racing and Yann Guichard are more than satisfied with this resoundingly successful entry into a class that they sincerely hope will develop and grow internationally.
 
Victors of two of the five legs, two City Race victories, Speed Match victories and bonus points at the departure of each leg, as well as a New York-Brest transatlantic crossing that was achieved in a record time… the whole team on sea and land can be complimented on a remarkable job. “The human aspect of the project is amazing,” states Yann Guichard. “It was a collective adventure, gathering together competencies on the water and logistical talent on land, and it all worked according to the high standards I set. No individual egos or guest stars in this group. I have built a story with people who are engaged and committed to the project, who share my drive and motivation and way of working.”
 
The program for this first MOD70 season was ambitious, with the Krys Ocean Race and the European tour, made to measure for the international potential of a new class of boats that must seduce a host of new partners. “This format is fantastic,” claims Léo Lucet. “It’s an exceptional international communications tool which worked wonderfully in New York and at every European tour city stopover. VIPs and journalists alike were able to sail with us, and the general public, a stone’s throw away from the boats, really enjoyed the show. The objective, which we reached, was to make the discipline spectacular to demonstrate the excellent visibility it offers to sponsors and partners.”
 
“It was a real sporting pleasure,” adds Guichard. “Exhausting, demanding – exactly what we, sailors, want.” Guichard, Lucet and the whole sailing team on the black and white catamaran, Pascal Bidégorry, Yann Eliès, Erwan Tabarly, Jacques Guichard, Sébastien Marsset, Jean-Baptiste Levaillant, Devan Le Bihan, Thierry Douillard, Kévin Escoffier, Christophe André, Frédéric Brousse, Nicolas Charbonnier as well as the team on land, Philippe Echassoux, Tim Carrie, Florent Le Gal, Nicolas Débordès and Astrid van den Hove rose to the 2012 challenge.
 
With its solid team, proven knowhow and indisputable talent on the water, Spindrift racing has climbed the charts in record time. The most immediate next challenge for the young company is to find a partner for MOD70 Nr 05, in order to share strong and motivating values. “Given our results, our media successes and the public’s enthusiasm for this new class, we hope to succeed in this too,” comments an optimistic Guichard.
 
The five trimarans all finished the races brilliantly, with no more serious incidents than the usual encounters with unidentified floating objects. This year Spindrift racing will have sailed some 15,000 miles, with an astounding mean speed of 28 knots last summer. No small feat and quite a reference in terms of dependability.
 
We still aim to progress further”, concludes Guichard, “in all areas – sports, technical, human. We are optimistically and impatiently looking forward to 2013.

Spindrift Racing in Newport (photo by George Bekris)

General classification Multi One Championship 2012
1 – Spindrift racing EUR (Yann Guichard, FRA)
2 – FONCIA, FRA, (Michel Desjoyeaux, FRA)
3 – Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, FRA (Sébastien Josse, FRA)
4 – Race For Water, SUI (Stève Ravussin, SUI)
5 – Musandam, Oman Sail OMA (Sidney Gavignet FRA)

Rank Krys Ocean Race 2012
1- Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) 
2- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 
3- FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) 
4- Musandam, Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) a
5- Race For Water (Steve Ravussin) 

Rank MOD70 European Tour 2012
1- FONCIA avec 284 points
2- Spindrift racing avec 282 points
3- Race For Water avec 244 points
4- Musandam-Oman Sail avec 242 points
5- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild avec 228 points

 
 

MOD70 2012 Speed Trials in NYC (Photo by George Bekris)

Musandam's Crew , Skippered by Sidney Gavignet, celebrate winning Offshore Leg 4 (Photo by Mark Lloyd)

 

man Sail’s flagship boat Musandam-Oman Sail hurtled across the finish line in Marseilles today to celebrate their first win of an offshore leg in the MOD70 European Tour and lift them to third overall in the rankings.After battling with light winds from the start of the leg in Cascais on Thursday, the final few hours saw an altogether different struggle as Sidney Gavignet’s triumphant Omani and European crew encountered 35 knot winds which almost caused them to capsize just ten minutes from the finish.“We were going very fast – sometimes too fast,” said an emotional Gavignet.

Musandam - Oman Sail's skipper Sidney Gavignet flashes a smile after winning Leg 4 (Photo by Mark Lloyd)

“It was a bit scary going at those speeds in the black night. We almost capsized in the bay. The wind was dropping but we were caught by a 40 knot gust. The boat reared up – it was so sudden.”

This jolt came on top of discovering as they approached the finish that another 40 mile upwind stage had been added to the 1030 nm course making it an action-packed closing stage to a dramatic leg.

They completed the course from Cascais to Marseilles in 3 days 16 hours 11 minutes and 34 seconds, crossing the line two hours and 23 minutes ahead of second placed Steve Ravussin’s Race for Water and two hours and 45 minutes ahead of sailing legend Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia.

The result was a great testament to the developing skills of the Musandam-Oman Sail crew, Gavignet said, making special mention of Omani helmsman and trimmer Fahad Al Hasni, Khamis Al Anbouri also from Oman and navigator Jeff Cuzon from France.

“Fahad is a great example of what we are trying to do at Oman Sail. He has grabbed the opportunity of being part of Oman Sail and is running with it.

“He still has a lot to learn but he is becoming a serious offshore sailor, both technically and in terms of his energy. He is very positive and contributes to the team, which for me is almost more important than whether they are good or bad sailors.

“Being part of Oman Sail is a platform for doing something great and he is really making the most of his opportunity.

“We are all making progress especially Jeff Cuzon who has been doing a great job in the nav station. He understands better and better what these boats can do and what is and isn’t dangerous from a navigation point of view.

Crew of Musandam (Photo by Mark Lloyd)

“Khamis came in and replaced Mohsin Al Busaidi for this leg but Mohsin took it the right way and although Khamis was seasick, his energy was impressive. I think he may have been our lucky charm.”

“I am so happy for the team – very proud of them and of our flag,” added Al Hasni.

“I always felt we could win because each time we finished a leg, we discovered something new and added to our experience. In this leg, we discovered we were very fast in the light winds, which has given us a lot of confidence.

“We have beaten some of the best sailors in the world by a long distance and that makes us proud,” said a tired Al Hasni who was planning on a big 24 hour sleep, waking up only when he needed to eat.

For Khamis al Anbouri, it was his first experience of sailing offshore after a career spent mainly racing inshore, during which time, he has posted a win against MOD70 European Tour rival Yann Guichard in the Extreme 40s

“It was my first offshore race and winning the stage was amazing. It shows we are competitive. I was seasick just for an hour but I was able to keep on working because I was so happy to be on board for the leg.

“I love to compete and win especially against these sailors because they are the best. I have now beaten Yann Guichard twice – one in the Extreme 40s and now this.

“It would be nice one day to see an Omani sailor skippering one of these boats and I shall be working very hard towards that aim.”

In Cascais last week, Michel Desjoyeaux, one of most admired and respected offshore sailors in the world commended the Musandam-Oman Sail crew on their progress in the European Tour.

“Sidney (Gavignet) and Oman Sail has improved fast as a team,” he said.

“It’s a very hard job to win because the delivery is very high on all the boats, and because the boats are one design it is difficult to be first.

“My advice for the young Omanis back home is that they have the opportunity today for some of them to sail on the MOD70 but it is the highest they can achieve at the moment. They have to consider that it is a real chance for them but to learn sailing they must sail as much as possible.

“They must sail every kind of boat they can, every race they can and don’t hesitate to take the chance to change boats and sail all kinds of boat, small boats, big boats, boats with full crew, short crew, offshore, inshore to get more experience.”

The Musandam-Oman Sail team will now get some rest ahead of the Marseille City Race which starts on Friday.

 

Leg 4 Cascais to Marseille


1. Musandam Oman Sail finish time: 07h 11m 34s  (3 days 16 hours 11 minutes and 34 2 seconds)

2. Race for Water: 2h 23m 7s from winner

3. FONCIA: 2h 45m 32s from winner

 

Coming up:

28/09: Marseille City Race

29/09: Marseille City Race

30/09: Start of Leg 5 Marseille – Genoa

Oman Sail's MOD70 Musandam skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) crosses the line and wins the offshore leg between Cascais - Marseille (Photo by Mark Lloyd)


Sidney Gavignet and Musandam Crew Celebrate 3 Wins (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / S.A.MOD70)

Sidney Gavignet and Musandam Crew Celebrate 3 Wins (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / S.A.MOD70)

Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet with his international crew became the third different team to win City Race series in successive stops of the MOD70 European Tour when they triumphed in the sixth race in Cascais, Portugal.
 
Musandam-Oman Sail won three of the six races sailed over three days, almost all in light breeze, which proved somewhat contrary to Cascais reputation for reliable strong winds. Smarting after losing second place to FONCIA in the final half mile to the finish of the offshore stage from Dun Laoghaire at dawn in very light airs early on Wednesday morning, Gavignet and his crew realised then they had a small deficit in speed to Michel Desjoyeaux’s crew. They made changes accordingly and, aligned to steady starting and some strong tactics from Jean Francois Cuzon, have remained very consistent, complementing their three wins with two thirds and a fifth to win ahead of Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing.

Musandam-Oman Sail collect 12 precious points in the chase for the MOD70 European Tour while second place for Spindrift racing ensures they increase their overall lead in the general classification. 

Race 5
From a race which was contested in only a very light and patchy SW’ly breeze that never topped more than 6kts and faded to almost nothing in areas, Yann Guichard’s crew on Spindrift racing took the winning gun for Race 5 of the City Race series. With Musandam-Oman Sail finishing fifth, Spindrift racing temporarily had the overall series lead by a single point. Although it was Sébastien Josse’s team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who made the best start and lead to the first offset mark, on the upwind leg, they ran out of wind pressure in the middle right of the leg.

Spindrift racing and FONCIA chose to stay closer to the Cascais shore where they found some localised acceleration of the wind and were able to round the top mark in first and second.

With the breeze fading and developing big holes, although the MOD70’s moved with impressive efficiency in the light winds, Race Direction chose to halt the race after one round of the triangle course.  This time the triangle course was upwind-downwind as opposed to the downwind-upwind format of yesterday and Friday.

Race 6
It was in Race 6, the final inshore contest of Cascais, that cemented the overall Cascais City Race series for Musandam-Oman Sail, winning by two points ahead of Spindrift racing.

Three boats were called over the start line early, FONCIA, Race for Water and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.

Musandam-Oman Sail emerged from with the lead and were able to stay ahead around the two lap course.

Race for Water restarted smartly and made a smart good recovery at the top end of the first windward leg. In the end they were able to push Musandam-Oman Sail hard at the finish line.

Results after six City Races
1- Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) : 10+10+12+12+8+12 = 64 points
2- Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) : 11+11+9+10+12+9 = 62 points
3- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) : 12+9+10+9+9+10 = 59 points
4- Race for Water (Stève Ravussin) : 9+12+8+8+10+11 = 58 points
5- FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) : 8+8+11+11+11+8 = 57 points

MOD70 European Tour Standings. After two offshore stages and three City Race series.
1- Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) 11+47+12+52+11 = 133 points
2- FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) 12+53+10+46+8 = 129 points
3-Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 10+44+11+41+10 = 116 points
4- Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) 9+34+8+42+12 = 105 points
5- Race for Water (Stève Ravussin) 8+38+9+35+9 = 99 points

Sidney Gavignet, FRA skipper Musandam-Oman Sail (OMA): “ We are happy, we won three races from six which is pretty good.  It is great, just great. What is good is that we just work on making progress and we did not need to make big progress, but to just keeping making progress step by step all the time wherever you start from and we started pretty low. We lost crew on the first race in Kiel. We broke the daggerboard in Dublin, so we were starting from quite low, and had some problems. But we kept working. We kept the positive spirit and little by little we get more cards to play the game with. What we learned here, if we had those two cards on the way in, we would have been second from Dublin. One is easy we could not pass the battens across in the light winds and the other is speed with the gennaker. So for sure we are making progress and growing in confidence and that affects the others who lose in confidence, we need to keep progressing.
We have a contract with ourselves, we said our goal was to finish mid fleet, so a podium, and it is start. The points for winning here are not much compared to winning offshore, but it’s a step in the right direction. So we are kind of into our stride. We are better organised.
Jean Francois Cuzon is the tactician and does it all. I am just the helmsman. We are still not at 100% confidence and sometimes we are just looking at the others to see how to go fast. I think one thing we have done well is if you want the tactician-strategist to do the job well you have to leave them the space to do it well. For the Omani’s I am sometimes a bit hard on them, over their shoulders, and that is not good because I am not doing my job so well. And I am putting pressure on them, So on the first day we regrouped a little, and each one is doing their job well. Now I let everyone do their job. »

General Results
http://www.mod70-europeantour.com/en/general-results.html

Latest Audios
http://www.mod70-europeantour.com/en/audio.html

Latest Videos
http://www.mod70-europeantour.com/en/videos.html

Latest Photos
http://www.mod70-europeantour.com/en/pictures.html

For media: all content (video, photo and audio bites) are available for download in the press area:
http://www.mod70-europeantour.com/en/press-centre.

www.mod70-europeantour.com
17/09 
8h30   : Skippers’ Briefing
11h00 : Start Leg 3
18/09  : Arrival Leg 3
20/09  : Start Leg 4 Cascais – Marseille
Spindrift Wins KRYS by (Th. Martinez  /Sea & Co/ MOD 70)

Spindrift Wins KRYS by (Th. Martinez /Sea & Co/ MOD 70)

Yann Guichard and his crew of five crossed the finish line on Thursday July 12 at 12hrs 08m 37s UTC (14hrs 08m 37s) to take overall victory in the inaugural KRYS OCEAN RACE transatlantic race in an elapsed time four days 21 hours 08 minutes 37s, an average of 25.03 kts on this 2950 miles race course.
 
In this first ocean race for the new MOD70 one design multihull class, Spindrift racing finished about an hour and a half ahead of Sébastien Josse’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and FONCIA, who were about a quarter of an hour behind second, after a great race across the Atlantic from New York to Brest in winds which is rarely dropped below twenty knots …This is the first great ocean racing victory for Yann Guichard.
At 38, this former Olympic Tornado catamaran sailor, who finished fourth in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, has amassed considerable multihull experience offshore with Marc Guillemot, Bruno Peyron and Franck Cammas, racing solo across the Atlantic in 2010, but also on the Swiss lakes in the D35 and M-2 multihulls.
He has also raced inshore as helm in the America’s Cup World Series and the Extreme 40 series.

Launched in January this year, Spindrift racing is MOD70 hull number 5, and has been taken on by his crew, which includes Pascal Bidégorry, Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant, Jacques Guichard, Leo Lucet and Kevin Escoffier.

Bidégorry, Escoffier and Le Vaillant are among those who set the existing outright Atlantic record in 2009.

Spindrift racing sailed an actual 3284 miles on the water at an average of 28.04 knots.

Spindrift Bow by George Bekris

Spindrift Bow by George Bekris

For the leaders of the KRYS OCEAN RACE the frontal system that they have ridden since Saturday night continues to prove the gift, which keeps on giving.
Before leaving New York, initial predictions suggested that the five MOD70’s would benefit for at least three to four days, but as the leaders now contemplate negotiating the north east side of the Azores high pressure system, it now seems likely they will have every chance of curving progressively towards Ireland, the Scillies gate and then to the finish line in Brest with hardly any reduction in speed.Sébastien Col, tactician and helm from FONCIA, even suggested today that the most favourable weather files had them reaching the finish with no gybes.With the S-SW’ly winds still hitting over 30kts this afternoon, their fourth since leaving Manhattan, the speeds of the three leading MOD70’s continue to be impressive. Spindrift racing have clocked up another day of more than 700 miles on the mid afternoon rankings, holding their average speed just under 30kts.So far Spindrift racing’s remarkable 711.9 miles sailed over 24 hours, set Monday, is the highest run yet.Yann Guichard and his team, which has lead since Sunday night, still managed to increase their margin on the chasing duo today. With around 1300 miles to sail to the finish, Spindrift racing was holding an advance of 50 miles this afternoon ahead of Seb Josse and crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with FONCIA 13 miles behind them in third.Foncia’s Sébastien Col told the live radio call today that their best option should present itself as they pass over the Azores high pressure system. Depending on its evolution as the more southerly boat of the leading trio, FONCIA may find a better, reaching angle sooner whilst their two opponents may find themselves slowed, on a more downwind, open angle.

But patience has, to some extent, been part of the FONCIA strategy, Col acknowledging on today’s radio vacation with KRYS OCEAN RACE HQ in Brest, that both Spindrift racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild have continued with better wind strength and angle.

Col said: “ We are slightly slower than them and just have to try to sail the boat as fast as we can. With this little disadvantage we try to cross the high pressure not too far behind these two guys, and then try to catch places after.”

The mood remains stoic, mostly upbeat on fourth placed Musandam-Oman Sail. They have adapted well to their compromised predicament, managing to replace their damaged port foil with the starboard one, a delicate manoeuvre in 25-30kts of wind which required all the strength of three crew plus one helping the lift on a halyard.  Though they had tried to sail without a foil, they had found the boat liable to nosediving. But in their new configuration they were making a decent 26 knots average this afternoon, but were some 122 miles behind FONCIA.

The leading boats are expected Friday, spearing right into the first day of the massive Tonneres de Brest maritime festival.

The 20th anniversary international gathering of mariners and craft of all shapes and sizes is expected to attract somewhere around 800,000 visitors to Brest’s seven kilometres of waterfront festivities and runs 13th to 19th July.

Quotes:

Sébastien Col, FONCIA, tactician, trimmer, helm: “Today FONCIA is sailing just above Spindrift and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, our target is the waypoint to the north of the high pressure which we will reach in approximately 24 hours.  We are sailing a little slower than Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Spindrift because we are a bit more south than them and have a little bit less wind and they have a better angle and so that means we are slightly slower than them so just have to try to sail the boat as fast as we can. With this little disadvantage we try to cross the high pressure not too far behind these two guys, and then will try to catch places after. We are targeting only one gybe to approach the Scilly Islands. One of the best routages we have actually shows that we have no gybes, and so that even suggests it will be very fast for the end of the race.”

Ryan Breymaier, No 1, Musandam-Oman Sail: “We are going well at the moment – pretty much full speed. When the foil failed, we had to take it out because there was a lot of turbulence and drag and the boat was very slow – about 22 knots – though when it came out completely, the bow dug in a lot so we had to reduce sail. We didn’t feel comfortable trying to change the foil from one side to the other during the night but now we have the foil from the starboard side on the port side, which makes things normal again. The guys are getting tired as it weighs 100kgs and takes three crew plus one on the halyard every time we change it over, but hopefully we will only have to do it twice more during the race.”
Check latest position reports at:
http://www.krys-oceanrace.com/en/race-data.html

Latest photos:
http://www.krys-oceanrace.com/en/pictures.html

Latest videos:
http://www.krys-oceanrace.com/en/videos.html

Latest audio files:
http://www.krys-oceanrace.com/en/audio.html

Spindrift racing MOD70 N°05 sailing at the Tour de Belle-Ile regatta. (Photo by Chris Schmid /Spindrift Racing)

Spindrift racing MOD70 N°05 sailing at the Tour de Belle-Ile regatta. (Photo by Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing)

The Artemis Challenge welcomes IMOCA 60s and MOD 70s to Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week on August 16th

The world’s fastest offshore monohulls and multihulls set to race around the Isle of Wight for charity

For the sixth straight year the Artemis Challenge will be one of the highlights of the 2012 Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, the world’s largest sailing regatta and one of the UK’s biggest sporting events. In a new twist to the classic route around the Isle of Wight, the 2012 Artemis Challenge will see teams of monohull IMOCA 60s and multihull MOD 70s race around the island to claim £10,000 for charity. A world class line up of British Vendée Globe skippers helming high performance IMOCA 60s will be paired up with the latest generation MOD 70s to compete together in the 50 mile sprint on August 16th.

The Artemis Challenge will welcome back the best British offshore racers before they take on the mighty challenge of the Vendée Globe in November when they will race singlehandedly around the world. The start line for IMOCA 60s will include Mike Golding (Gamesa) and Artemis Ocean Racing II. They will be joined by the fastest class of cutting edge designed 70 ft multihulls, with legendary French skipper Michel Desjoyeaux skippering Foncia, Sidney Gavignet on Oman Sail and Swiss racer Steve Ravussin on Race for Water.

Mark Tyndell, CEO of Artemis Investment Management, said, “The return of the Artemis Challenge continues the legacy of this wonderful event. We are pleased to welcome back some of the best British solo skippers in the world as they prepare for the Vendée Globe, as well as welcoming for the first time the impressive MOD 70s, skippered by some of the biggest names in offshore racing. Both sets of boats should deliver a fantastic spectacle and compete to raise money for great causes.”

The Artemis Challenge, sponsored by Artemis Investment Management, one of the UK’s leading investment companies, is recognised as one of the key events of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and is a magnificent spectacle, showcasing the best of offshore racing within easy reach of spectators. The race follows the classic America’s Cup route around the Isle of Wight, starting at 10 AM on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line.

The Artemis Challenge at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week has long attracted a strong list of celebrity guests. Teams competing in the race in the past have included sports stars Zara Phillips, Amy Williams, Will Greenwood, Mike Tindall and James Haskell, as well as other stars from the world of entertainment, such as Ewan McGregor, Davina McCall, Bryan Adams and James and Oliver Phelps, the Weasley Twins from the Harry Potter movies.

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1.Oman Final day of racing close to the shore.The Wave Muscat.   (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1.Oman Final day of racing close to the shore.The Wave Muscat. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Massive Omani celebrations at The Wave, Muscat as Oman Air and The Wave score a one-two, squeezing out the French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who had finished every day but the last on top

Going into the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series 2012, the all-French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild led by Pierre Pennec were favourites on paper and few would have predicted the final outcome that saw Morgan Larson’s team on Oman Air triumph in their debut here in Muscat, Oman. Four teams were in contention for the podium going into the final double-points race – the new Danish entry, Team Trifork, won the race, but Oman Air did enough to secure victory after an intense battle with the favourites. Leigh McMillan’s team on The Wave, Muscat muscled their way into the two-way fight and raced brilliantly on the final day to finish 2nd overall ahead of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with Austria’s Roman Hagara (Red Bull) in fourth, having been just one point behind the French going into the final race.

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1.Oman Final day of racing close to the shore.The Wave Muscat. (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Extreme Sailing Series 2012. Act 1.Oman Final day of racing close to the shore.The Wave Muscat. ( Photo by Lloyd Images)

“It’s an amazing feeling! It was a challenging week and obviously our learning curve was quite steep,” said Larson. “But this was really hard racing and any team could have won going into those last couple of races and we were just lucky they went well for us.” Morgan Larson’s team that includes four-time Olympian Charlie Ogletree and Max Bulger from the States, Britain’s Will Howden and Omani Nasser Al Mashari competing in his second Extreme 40 season, held on to a marginal lead from the opening race today but in the fourth race of the day the pressure mounted… Pushed over the line at the start, Oman Air had to restart and trailed the fleet, Larson’s team finished 7th leaving them on equal points with The Wave, Muscat and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 2 points adrift. In the next race, won by Loick Peyron’s team on ZouLou, McMillan’s team finished ahead of their teammates and pulled ahead by 1 point. By the end of the penultimate race the two Oman Sail teams were back on equal points going into the final double-point decider and Pennec’s team had to win the final race with Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat finishing no better than 6th place. It was too tall an order for the French favourites who managed to get ahead of their rivals to finish the race in 2nd but Oman Air crossed the finish line in 3rd to clinch overall victory after 4 days and 29 races.

“Surely I feel disappointed about not having sailed well today,” said Pierre Pennec, skipper, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. “But this is the nature of the sport and even if this sounds strange, I feel very happy about this week’s competition. I really enjoyed being on the water and despite the fact that this is my fourth year in the Extreme Sailing Series, we have learned a lot in these last few days. My new crew sailed here for the first time and they have shown great human, mental and technical potential. I think it’s fantastic that the two top crews here in Muscat are the local teams. They are going to be seriously competitive this season.”

It proved to be a thrilling opening Act to the season and, after five years of Extreme Sailing Series competition, there is a feeling that 2012 is going to be one of the closest yet. “It’s up to us to catch up and be competitive in China because the goal is to win overall. Third is still a good result – it could be worse! It’s a warning for us,” said Hervé Cunningham, tactician Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Next stop China – Act 2, Qingdao 17th-20th April.

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 1, Muscat, Oman standings after Day 4, 29 races (2.3.12)
Position / Team / Points

1st Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree, Nasser Al Mashari, Max Bulger 165 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Hashim Al Rashdi, Rachel Williamson 159 points
3rd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Hervé Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Adeline Chatenet 155 points
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche 148 points
5th GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mark Bulkeley, Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh 138 points
6th ZouLou (FRA) Loick Peyron, Philippe Mourniac, Jean-Sébastien Ponce, Bruno Jeanjean, Antoine Joubert 111 points
7th Alinghi (SUI), Ernesto Bertarelli, Tanguy Cariou, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, Pierre-Yves Jorand 109 points
8th Team Trifork (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Simon Hiscocks, Jonas Hviid 95 points

Quotes from the sailors:

Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air: “It’s an amazing feeling! It was a challenging week and obviously our learning curve was quite steep. But this was really hard racing and any team could have won going into those last couple of races and we were just lucky they went well for us. I’m sure there was a bit of beginner’s luck to this one and we just dug in and focused hard but I know its going to be a challenging season and we’ll get tougher conditions thrown at us and for sure we’re going to have to eat a few of them and we’re just need to keep enjoying the sailing as I think that was the key to our success working together. We knew if we held our position things would be good but in these boats you never know what can happen so you just have to keep on pushing all the way to the finish.”

Leigh McMillan, skipper, The Wave, Muscat: “All day long – we had some really great races, posted a win and some second places, but we couldn’t get away as they all just putting in good results as well. It was really tight and we’re very happy to get second, it came down to a very close light wind race and we got sucked in to a fight mid-fleet and Oman Air got away. But we’re really happy they got their win and it’s great for Oman as a whole.”

Hervé Cunningham, tactician, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “Some days you have days like this when nothing comes your way. I’m not looking for excuses but on board today nothing comes our way, it’s not working, bad rhythm, you just wake up a feel like something is wrong and it just shows on the water. The result was not good – few OCS’, too many penalties and lack of confidence because the team is old but it is a new crew. Hats off to Oman Air and The Wave. I understand that we are favourites but inside the team it is a new crew so there is no miracle, we are not as good as we were last year and the other guys have done better than us. They managed to sail at a higher level than us so its up to us to catch up and be competitive in China because the goal is to win overall. Third is still a good result – it could be worse! It’s a warning for us – it’s not going to be easy this year.”

Pierre Pennec, skipper, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “Surely I feel disappointed about not having sailed well today, but this is the nature of the sport and even if this sounds strange, I feel very happy about this week’s competition. I really enjoyed being on the water and despite the fact that this is my fourth year in the Extreme Sailing Series, we have learned a lot in these last few days. My new crew sailed here for the first time and they have shown great human, mental and technical potential. I think it’s fantastic that the two top crews here in Muscat are the local teams. They are going to be seriously competitive this season.”

Ian Williams, skipper, GAC Pindar: “We’re a bit disappointed with the overall result of 5th as I think maybe we deserve better. We were way off the pace on day two and those were the 20 points we gave away to pretty much everybody and after that it was very tough to get back.”

Roman Hagara, skipper, Red Bull Sailing Team: “The team did a good job but we had a few problems with communications and boat handling. We always worked hard in the races and came up from the back for the last race was not the best for us in the end but that’s the sport.”

Ernesto Bertarelli, skipper, Alinghi: “It was fantastic, fantastic. For me it’s great, a different format but I learnt so much every day, every race, it’s what I’m here for. I’m here to experience something different, something the excitement of this format and I really enjoyed myself. It’s close, it’s not very different from a normal regatta, it’s just that everything happens so much faster. In a normal regatta you have close contact or tactical situation with a boat maybe every 10 minutes, here it is every 15 seconds!”

Celebrations in Muscat Oman  (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Celebrations in Muscat Oman (Photo by Lloyd Images

 

Rasmus Kostner, Team Trifork co-skipper and tactician (Photo © Extreme Sailing Series)

Rasmus Kostner, Team Trifork co-skipper and tactician (Photo © Extreme Sailing Series)

 Fighting talk on the dockside, find out what the sailors expectations are ahead of the first day of racing for 2012 A new team in the form of Team Trifork from Denmark can finally be unveiled today as the 8th team in the starting blocks for the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2012 in Muscat, Oman. The team will be co-skippered by Jes Gram-Hansen on helm and Rasmus Kostner, tactician, who both come from a World Match Racing Tour and America’s Cup background, alongside the youngest member of the team, 26-year-old Jonas Hviid-Nielsen on bow combined with the Extreme 40 race experience of Pete Cummings (skipper of the winning Extreme 40 team in 2009) and Simon Hiscocks from the UK. It has been a long journey for the Danish team that began a year ago as Jes Gram-Hansen explained: “Rasmus and myself went into different sailing programmes like RC44 and Farr 40 after the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia but all the time our dream was to create our own team. We analysed what kind of circuit would be the one to go with, and with the changes to the America’s Cup and the Extreme Sailing Series being more and more the series to be in, we decided to try and build a team for the Extreme Sailing Series. So we invested all our money into buying a boat a year ago and then we spent most of the year in Denmark taking out business people from companies to show them what we love and what we think would be a good way to be involved in the project. We have long-support from Trifork (a software company) which we have in been a good relationship over the years along with our clothing partner, Simon Spurr, to help get us here to the start line in Muscat.” The team’s expectations are as you would expect for the ‘newbies’ to the tour: “We have a lot of respect for the guys who have been on the tour and some of them have sailed multihulls for a long time,” continued Jens. “We’re here to learn and I’m sure we will make some mistakes but we’ve got two great English guys with us, Simon Hiscocks and Pete Cummings, so, hopefully, they will keep us out of trouble! Hopefully, we’ll improve over the season with a longer term goal of overall victory in a couple of years time.”

Jes Gram-Hansen, Team Trifork co-skipper and helm (Photo © Extreme Sailing Series)

Jes Gram-Hansen, Team Trifork co-skipper and helm (Photo © Extreme Sailing Series)

After various stints of team training up the Omani coast at Massanah, the racing starts for real tomorrow, Tuesday, 28th February, in Muscat. The live race coverage will start at 1130 GMT on Wednesday (29th Feb), streaming on Thursday (1st March) and Friday (2nd March). Glamour conditions expected and the sailors are talking it up on the dockside…

Roman Hagara, skipper, Red Bull Sailing Team: “We’re starting with a new team here with 2 new crew members – new bowman, Graham Spence from Australia and an amateur sailor from France, Pierre, sailing as our 5th sailor for this event – so we’re looking forward it. We did some good training in Massanah and we’re ready for the first Act. We’ve capsized here before on the Asia Tour (09/10) then last year we made it to the podium. Our goal here is to make to the podium again.”

 Morgan Larson, skipper, Oman Air: “We’re looking forward to having some fun with the new team and doing really well. We’ve gelled really well with Will, Charlie, Nasser and Max so I think we’ve got a really good team. The competition is the highest it’s been in a while I think but I think we’ve got some great sailors on board and we’re expecting to be up at the front every race!”

 Leigh McMillan, skipper, The Wave, Muscat: “I think we’re in pretty good shape and we’ve done some good training races but we haven’t raced in anger against any of these guys yet. We hope to get on the podium and start the season well. I think on paper Groupe Edmond de Rothschild maybe favourites but we hope that by the time we get to the end of the season we’ll be challenging for overall victory.”

 Loick Peyron, helmsman, ZouLou: “I’m happy to be back here after a couple of years… We are here with a new team, good friends, good sailors although we have not raced together and we have only trained for 3 days which is not nearly enough. But the game is so interesting and so exciting, and I think it will be more ‘open’ than last year. We will be quite safe – I am fast but not furious! Tanguy Cariou, Tactician, Alinghi: “We all know the stadium racing is a very different game and we will have some good races and some bad ones! We made two training sessions with Ernesto in Massanah. I would say it is a new boat for him, a new format but we are used to sailing together on the D35 on the lake. There are new faces, new people and not all the teams have had the same level of training – I’m pretty sure that in Qingdao and Istanbul the strong teams will emerge but for the first event I’m not so sure, it’s a shakedown.”

EX40 catamaran fleet in action during a practice day. Close to the Muscat shoreline (Photo © Lloyd Images)

EX40 catamaran fleet in action during a practice day. Close to the Muscat shoreline (Photo © Lloyd Images)