© Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing

SPINDRIFT 2 DISMASTS ON WAY TO START OF ROUND THE WORLD RECORD. ( Photo © Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing )

 

As the giant trimaran made its way to the Créac’h lighthouse (Isle of Ouessant) for a second attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy, Spindrift 2 dismasted at about 1615h today (Monday 15 January 2018), south of Pointe Saint-Mathieu in a strong 30 knot westerly breeze and rough seas.

Spindrift 2 was ready for this new attempt around the world with a relatively favourable weather window, after a long two-month stand-by at La Trinité sur Mer and then in Brest, Brittany.
With strong winds around Brest, the start from the pontoon was delayed to 1430h. Once Spindrift was into the Iroise, an area of open sea in front of Brest between the Atlantic and the Channel, the sea state was already well formed and the wind blowing at more than 30 knots with strong gusts. As the boat tacked towards the Ouessant Channel, with no warning suddenly Spindrift 2 dismasted. No crew member was injured in the incident.

“Everything happened very fast! In a few seconds, the mast was down. We have been waiting for two months for this new attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy: this window was our last chance. It is a big disappointment for the whole team, both at sea, and on land as we were all ready. We have spent a lot of time optimising the boat, and everything collapses in a few moments,” said Yann Guichard

SPINDRIFT 2 DISMASTS ON WAY TO START OF ROUND THE WORLD RECORD

“We were heading to the start line: there were relatively strong conditions with 30 knots of wind and three metre troughs. A few moments before we were going to tack towards Pointe Saint-Mathieu, the mast broke for some unknown reason. The most important thing is that there were no injuries on board. Unfortunately we had to drop the mast into the sea as we did not want to take  any unnecessary risks for the crew because we were very close to the rocks at Toulinguet. Operations are currently underway to recover the mast and rigging as quickly as possible, as the weather is set to deteriorate early tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. We will now start the process of understanding what has happened,” he concluded.

 

LA TRINITE-SUR-MER, FRANCE, OCTOBER 17TH 2017: Spindrift racing (Maxi Spindrift 2) skippered by Yann Guichard from France, training for the Jules Verne Trophy 2017 attempt.

LA TRINITE-SUR-MER, FRANCE, OCTOBER 17TH 2017: Spindrift racing (Maxi Spindrift 2) skippered by Yann Guichard from France, training for the Jules Verne Trophy 2017 attempt. © Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing

 

Yann Guichard and his crew arrived in Brest last night to start the Jules Verne Trophy. Despite a good though not ideal weather window, after two months on stand-by Spindrift racing has decided to take its chance and will leave the dock late this morning to be at the Créac’h lighthouse in the afternoon.

The team was planning to start a week ago, but the weather further down the course did not materialise as anticipated.  However, the area of depression that is currently sitting off the coast of Brittany has finally given the team the opportunity to start their challenge on the Jules Verne record. With strong conditions forecast for the start, the current files show the team reaching the equator in just over five days (5d 5h – 5d 10h), which will give them a cushion on the reference time set by Francis Joyon and his crew (5d 18h ​​59′).

The team is aiming to catch an area of depression off the coast of Brazil to give them a quick crossing of the South Atlantic towards the Cape of Good Hope.

Portrait of skipper Yann Guichard leaving for the Jules Verne Trophy.

© Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing

“We are now Code Green: the latest weather files confirm our departure from the pontoon around noon today, with a Jules Verne Trophy line crossing following quickly.  The 25-30 knot wind from west to north-west will strengthen as we cross the Bay of Biscay, and we are expecting big seas with five metre waves.  It looks like the first 12 hours will be hard going, but then the wind will soften off Cape Finisterre to more moderate trade winds, and we will be doing a lot of gybes towards the Canary Islands,” commented Yann Guichard as the last of the fresh food was taken on board Spindrift 2.

The Jules Verne Trophy record has been held by IDEC Sport (Francis Joyon and his crew) since January 2017, with a time of 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes. During that challenge the team took 12 days 21 hours 22 minutes to reach the tip of South Africa, so improving this time is one of the first objectives of Yann Guichard and his eleven crew.

2018 JULES VERNE TROPHY CREW:
Yann Guichard (skipper): watch the portrait
Erwan Israël (navigator): watch the portrait
Jacques Guichard (watch captain / helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Christophe Espagnon (watch captain / helm / bow): watch the portrait
Xavier Revil (watch captain / helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
François Morvan (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Antoine Carraz (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Thierry Chabagny (helm / bow): watch the portrait
Ewen Le Clech (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Sam Goodchild (helm / bow): watch the portrait
Thomas Le Breton (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Erwan Le Roux (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Router: Jean-Yves Bernot

 

A NEW DEDICATED WEBSITE
With a departure imminent, Spindrift racing has launched its website platform dedicated to following the record attempt with real-time cartography and an interactive dashboard:
WWW.SPINDRIFT-RACING.COM/JULES-VERNE

 

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Winner of the Extreme Sailing Series Sete, France

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Winner of the Extreme Sailing Series Sete, France

 Yann Guichard’s men proved to be unstoppable at the first round of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series in Sète, France, claiming overall victory and firmly throwing down the gauntlet to the other seven teams for the remainder of the season: “We sailed really well today! On the last race, we had quite a bad start but we managed to find a little gap to go through… As I say often, the most important thing is to stay out of trouble and make less mistakes than the others. I would like to say a huge thank you to my crew because without them, we cannot do anything,” said Guichard. “I managed to put the boat in some pretty scary situations but thanks to them that doesn’t cause any trouble, so a big thank you to them.”

The forecasted Mistral conditions finally kicked in truly entertaining the crowds packed along the Môle, the beaches and the headland – an estimated 16,500 spectators watching the first event. The Extreme 40 crews were pushed to the limit in the strong gusts, teetering on the edge of disaster numerous times.

Second place on the overall podium went to Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Masirah who finished no lower than fourth in any of today’s five races propelling them ahead of Paul Campbell-James’ The Wave, Muscat: “Maybe my experience helped a little in taking second from The Wave, Muscat,” said Peyron, “But it is not just me, it is a team effort and without these guys it would be nothing. ‘CJ’ did a tremendous job and I am very happy, this is exactly what we were looking for to see both teams on the podium – it is a perfect finish. Second was the right place for us – Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were really consistent all event and deserve to win. We are pretty happy with the result, it wasn’t easy but every day was better, sometimes it was very bad but that gives us space to improve for next time.”

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

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

Third at the end of the first day of racing, then fourth on the second and third days, Groupama 40 slid down one more place on this last day of racing, following the cancellation of the final race. It’s a cruel blow but Franck Cammas and his crew have their minds on their four race victories out of the 20 contested, as well as the progress they need to make to perform better during the next events. 

The day did in fact start off very well for the Groupama Team on the race zone of Sète, with a second, first, fourth and sixth place during the first four races. At that stage in the race, Groupama 40 was still in with a chance of making the top three as she was just five points shy of The Wave Muscat and had a sizeable lead over Ecover.

Next up, race management announced a further two races in a steadily increasing wind, but Groupama 40 messed up the start of the 20th race. She then managed to get back into the action, before being forced to make a last chance manoeuvre to respect the rules of priority with another boat on the final upwind leg. After having to come to a complete standstill, Franck and his crew dug deep to catch up with the backrunners, before being blocked again as they tried to round the mark. They ultimately crossed the finish line in last position, whilst their direct rival Ecover, won the race. As such Groupama 40 lost all the advantage gained over her very good opening races.

After putting in a reef for what was set to be the final race, which counts for double points, Franck Cammas and his crew prepared to give it their all to get past Ecover and hang onto her fourth place in the overall ranking.

However, that’s where their luck ran out as the race committee decided not to take any chances in a wind which could have peaked at as much as 30 knots late in the day. As a result their previous result came back to haunt them as their last place now counted for double, enabling Ecover to get ahead of Groupama 40 in the overall ranking, without even having to race.

Back alongside, Franck Cammas and his crew were clearly disappointed by the outcome: “It’s a shame because we hadn’t sailed badly and we were making steady progress over each of the twenty races contested” but they were nonetheless realistic: “The top two, Groupe Edmond de Rothshild and Oman Masirah are a notch better than us. If we want to be in a position to beat them during the next races, we’re going to have to get off to some better starts and be more consistent. That’s the strength they have right now” explained the skipper of Groupama 40.

Keenly followed by the vast number of spectators thronging around the Saint Louis jetty, especially on Sunday, this first event in the Extreme Sailing Series in Sète has been a great success with some very fine winners, who didn’t let the top spot slip away from them throughout the four days of racing.

His team is now dismantling Groupama 40, so as he can join up with her again in Lorient and then Cowes, where the next event will be held at the start of August. Meanwhile Franck Cammas will get back to the rest of his Team in Lorient to assist them with the relaunch of the maxi trimaran Groupama 3, the recent winner of the Jules Verne Trophy, aboard which he will compete in the next edition of the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale. 

Extreme 40 Fleet In Sete, France (Photo by Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / OC Events )

Extreme 40 Fleet In Sete, France (Photo by Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / OC Events )

 

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

Misarah Crew With Trophy  (Photo by Th.Martinez/Sea&Co/OCEvents)

Misarah Crew With Trophy (Photo by Th.Martinez/Sea&Co/OCEvents)

Oman Sail Masirah has won the iShares Cup 2009, but it came down to the last leg of the last race on the last day of the last regatta at the iShares Cup Almeria in Spain, with Gitana Extreme-LCF Rothschild pushing Oman Sail Masirah right to the very last minute with a superb final performance. Pete Cumming and his crew held their nerve despite the strong comeback of Yann Guichard and the Gitana Extreme crew who took 2nd overall with Loick Peyron’s Oman Sail Renaissance completing the 2009 podium. Tens of thousands of spectators, the biggest stadium audience of the year, packed the port of Almeria to witness the heart-stopping tension of the final race of the season. No hull flying today, but heart stopping it still was!

Masirah completed a six-month trail of glory with a double victory in Almeria as thousands watched. All crew members put in a performance which overshadowed all efforts from other teams to not only take the victory in the Almeria leg of the iShares Cup but the title of 2009 iShares Cup champions!

Renaissance also battled hard until the last minute to take an admirable fourth overall in the Almeria leg ensuring a double Oman victory as they took third place in the 2009 iShares Cup series.

The culmination of six venues and 118 races all boiled down to the last race on the last day of the last venue as ten boats all lined up, but only three were in contention for the 2009 iShares Cup title.  The electricity in the air from the 40,000 spectators, including Her Excellency Dr. Rajiha Bint Abdulameer Bin Ali, Oman’s Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Eng. Sultan Hamdoon al Harthi, Head of Muscat Municipality and the Municipal Council as well as His Excellency Oman’s Ambassador to Spain was flowing as the start gun went for the first race. Masirah got off to a near-perfect start and led all the way and maintained their lead throughout the day. In the final race Masirah had a marginal lead, but not enough to rest on their laurels. In the last race Masirah wisely opted to keep the only other contender for the top podium position at this stage, Gitana Extreme-Groupe LCF Rothschild, in their sights to ensure their overall win.
As the finishing horn was sounded for Masirah’s finish a huge cheer went up from the crowded waterfront as the new heroes were given a standing ovation and applause.

Renaissance sailed on the edge all day to score an equally credible third overall to bookmark the podium with the proud colours of the Oman flag. To have not one, but two teams, on the podium in such a high profile international event is testament to the support in Oman given to the teams and the aspirations of reigniting the maritime heritage of Oman. Her Excellency Dr, Rajiha Bint Abdulameer Bin Ali, was incredibly proud of both teams, “I am so proud to have been able to watch Oman Sail’s Masirah winning the series in front of thousands of spectators in Spain. I dedicate this victory to the wise leadership of His Majesty and his vision in bringing this project into fruition. I want to thank all the team in Oman sail and in particular the team on Masirah for reaching first place – it was not an easy victory. I didn’t realise how difficult this was until I came to Spain and watch Oman racing myself. My congratulations to the team.” His Excellency Eng. Sultan Hamdoon al Harthi was just as impressed by the victory that unfolded in front of him, “It is a matter of pride for Oman that Masirah and Renaissance dominated the iShares Cup, not just in Spain but also the entire series. To win first and third overall is a result of unprecedented performance.”

misarah-crew-celebrate

Misarah Crew Celebrate ( Photo by Th.Martinez/Sea&Co/OCEvents )

 
Two Omani trainees have supported the teams during the summer, both of whom will now be sailing for Oman Sail in the next series themselves. Masirah team member Khamis Al Anbouri summed up the mood of the team  “Winning the iShares Cup is just one of Oman Sail’s steps in encouraging young Omanis to start sailing and showing them the hard work required to achieve success. I am very proud to be part of this team and I look forward to competing now in the next series as a full crewmember. I would also like to thank my wife for all her support and encouragement as I strive to become the very best and to make Oman a household name. Congratulations also to Ahmad Al Harthy for his result this weekend- a truly proud weekend for Oman!”

 
Oman Sail Masirah has won the iShares Cup 2009, but it came down to the last leg of the last race on the last day of the last regatta at the iShares Cup Almeria in Spain, with Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild pushing Oman Sail Masirah right to the very last minute with a superb final performance.

Almeria’s usually strong winds never materialized, with light winds adding to the nerves of the 10 teams challenging for the Andulician final event of this benchmark season for the Extreme 40 Sailing Series.

Tens of thousands of spectators, the biggest stadium audience of the year, packed the port of Almeria to witness the heart-stopping tension of the double points final race of the season. No hull flying today, heart stopping it still was!

iShares Cup Almeria:
1. Oman Sail Masirah 132 points
2. Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild 129 points
3. Groupama Extreme 112 points
4. Oman Sail Renaissance 96 points
5. LUNA 96 points
6. Team iShares 83 points
7. Holmatro 82 points
8. BT 79 points
9. Rumbo Almeria 73 points
10. Ecover 89 points

iShares Cup 2009 overall:
1. Oman Sail Masirah 53 points
2. Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild 52 points
3. Oman Sail Renaissance 42 points
4. Groupama Extreme 41 points
5. Team iShares 27 points
6. BT 26 points
7. LUNA 26 points
8. Holmatro 24 points
9. Ecover 10 points

iShares Fleet in (Photo by Th.Martinez/Sea&Co/OCevents)

iShares Fleet in (Photo by Th.Martinez/Sea&Co/OCevents)

 

IShares Fleet In Amsterdam (Photo by Th.Martinez/Sea&Co/OCEvents)

IShares Fleet In Amsterdam (Photo by Th.Martinez/Sea&Co/OCEvents)

The best breeze of the day filled in for the final three races today producing some extreme racing – close calls, collisions, penalties and a nail-biting, final double-points race – entertaining the 10,000 strong crowd lining the IJ-Haven. There were seven different race winners in this penultimate event, that was more about tactics than boat handling. Gitana Extreme sailed brilliantly under pressure to win the penultimate iShares Cup Amsterdam event ahead of Oman Sail Renaissance, whilst Groupama fought back to win the final race and fill the last spot on the podium in third. Overall series leaders, Oman Sail Masirah, put their day 1 disaster behind them, finishing 5th in Amsterdam to retain their overall lead, ahead of Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild and Oman Sail Renaissance, going into the final iShares Cup event in Almeria only two weeks away…

The nine-boat Extreme 40 fleet saved the best till last at the iShares Cup Amsterdam event today to produce a thrilling three-lap finale that had the 10,000-strong crowd of spectators cheering the boats home all the way. The penultimate round of the six-stage European iShares Cup series, held on the confined IJ-Haven canal in Amsterdam, saw predominantly light airs but finally this afternoon, a good 8 knot breeze filled in to see the 40-foot catamarans lifting their hulls. It was perfect catamaran sailing – the excitement levels going into fifth gear for both sailors and spectators. As the breeze increased the size of the IJ-Haven racecourse seemed to decrease! The boats accelerating faster round the tiny racecourse and, not surprisingly, a number of collisions ensued.

For Oman Sail Masirah skipper, Pete Cumming, the team did the job they needed to do to keep the overall series lead, despite the unsettling experience of being seriously holed on the first day:
“That was a good day for us, we won the first and the fourth race and had average results in the three others. We have been up and down during the all events but I have to say that it’s hard to keep positive and motivated after the big crash we had on Friday. Our shore team did an amazing job to fix the boat. Tonight we are on equal points with Gitana in the overall series which keeps the pressure on for the last event in Almeria. The conditions will be very different to here, more like Cowes or Kiel and it’s what we like. It’s going to be a fantastic battle for the overall iShares Cup!”

Gitana Extreme Crew (Photo by Th.Martinez/Sea&Co/OCEvents)

Gitana Extreme Crew (Photo by Th.Martinez/Sea&Co/OCEvents)

The stage was set for the showdown between Gitana Extreme skipper, Yann Guichard, and Oman Sail Renaissance supremo, Loick Peyron, with Guichard coming out on top. “Since the first start today we were in the game and we sailed well despite the pressure of those last races. Once again, our teamwork was key to our success. That final race was under a lot of pressure, we knew that we could not let Loïck put more than two boats between us, and we finished right behind him! It was an ideal scenario, and we’re really happy with that new victory. As we foresaw, everything will unfold in Almeria. We really wanted to win in Amsterdam not to regret anything, and to fight for victory, The top three boats are now one point apart, and the fight between Masirah, Renaissance and ourselves will be amazing. I also wanted to congratulate the Oman Sail Masirah team, who came back strong despite their incident.”

Erik Maris’ crew on LUNA showed flashes of brilliance during round 5 scoring a race win and a second place that left them in 7th place; whilst Nick Moloney’s BT team struggled with boat speed and had to settle for 8th. Britain’s Mike Golding, who is gaining confidence in this extremely aggressive class, thrilled his supporters with a second place in the final race – Fraser Brown leaping to his feet rousing the crowd to cheer more! It was a great finish for this team who had such a traumatic time in round 4 in Kiel suffering an aggressive capsize that left their regular crew Bruno Dubois with a serious head injury.

The final round of the 2009 iShares Cup is only two weeks away, taking place in the Andalucian city of Almeria over the 10th-12th October. The finale promises to be best yet – read the story online.
Oman Sail Masirah and Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild are on equal points (43), Masirah in pole position based on winning three of the rounds so far compared to Gitana Extreme’s two victories, but Oman Sail Renaissance are just 1 point behind them and Groupama 10 points behind the leader. And there will be a big fight over the middle-ground with less than 3 points separating BT, Team iShares, Holmatro and LUNA. Don’t miss it!

Groupama Podium Finish (Photo by Yvan Zedda)

Groupama Podium Finish (Photo by Yvan Zedda)

Today, Groupama won the last race hands down, enabling the skipper from Aix en Provence to regain his smile as he snatched third place behind Yann Guichard and Loïck Peyron, who take first and second place respectively. As was the case in Kiel, the French sailors are at the front of the pack with a French triple in the top spots once again!

If we look in detail at the points separating the top five competitors in the final ranking, it is easy to understand the tension which was palpable throughout the day! With the wind still a little undecided as to whether it was going to fill their sails, today’s five races were rather convoluted to say the least and rather reminiscent of the four race yesterday. Franck Cammas: “One thing for sure after these three days racing in Amsterdam, is that with Groupama 40, we still haven’t worked out how to deal with light conditions. In light wind we’re not so at ease. We aren’t able to follow the others. This was my first participation in the light stuff on such a narrow race zone. We unquestionably need to make progress! The minute the wind kicked in, things went better. In fact on Friday, thanks to the breeze, it was a good day for us!”

The famous quote by competitors that says that “anything can happen in a race prior to crossing the finish line” is something that certainly applies to Franck’s crew this weekend: “With Groupama 40, we won the lottery in the last race. Our rivals weren’t as strong which enabled us to overtake two of them and make it to a podium finish, which certainly wasn’t something we could have envisaged at the end of the previous race!”

The skipper from Aix en Provence clearly already has his mind geared towards the last event of the season: “In Alméria, it’s likely to be windy and it will be a whole different ball game! Roll on Spain!”

ishares-cup-amsterdam-by-yvan-zedda

iShares Cup Amsterdam Action (Photo by Yvan Zedda)

Finally, it is important to salute the performance by Yann Guichard and his men, outright winner in this Dutch stage. Bagging three victories of the 17 races contested, Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group climbs to the highest step of the podium and above all is tied on points with Masirah in the general championship ranking.

Suffice to say that the next meeting for the Extremes 40s will take place in Alméria, Spain, on 10th, 11th and 12th October and it is going to have a decisive role in this championship! This sixth event will round off the iShares Cup 2009.