Ideal racing conditions look to be in place with consistent sea breeze in Hyeres - TPM for the second round of the iShares Cup. Warm-up races are planned tomorrow, including a 10-mile speed run to the beautiful island of Porquerolles and back. Mr Politi, Mayor of Hyeres, will welcome the iShares Cup and the sailors back to the town, during the press conference due to be held tomorrow at 12:00 local time. The official racing starts on Friday at 14:30.
Extreme 40 fleet practising ahead of the racing in Venice. Image copyright Thierry Martinez/Sea & Co/OC Events.
by Emily Caroe
Although the weather forecasters are predicting predominantly light winds ahead of Round 2 of the iShares Cup Hyères-TPM, the 10 international teams have been enjoying pleasant sea breezes to train in all week, thanks to the sunny weather heating up the land and creating a thermal effect, which is expected to continue for the iShares Cup race days between 3rd to 5th July. Event Director Gilles Chiorri explained, “The synoptic wind is quite light but in fact the sea breeze is very active. In the morning we are seeing around 6-7 knots from the south-west, but in the afternoon it’s been building to 10-12 knots thanks to the thermal.” With bright sunshine and steady breezes conditions for Round 2 of the iShares Cup 2009 look set to be a great 'hull-flying' spectacle.
Many of the teams have taken the opportunity to put in some hard training ahead of the second round of racing. Event Director Gilles Chiorri said,“Every day the Extreme 40s have been training, alone or in pairs, around marks, and with coaches. It’s impressive to see how compared to last year the teams are ahead of schedule and practicing hard at things like start sequences. It’s quite intense, they’re out at 10.00 and not back until about 4.00.”
Leading after his first victory in Venice, Gitana Extreme - Groupe LCF Rothschild skipper Yann Guichard is almost in home waters in Hyeres: "I know the race zone well, as does Pierre Pennec, because we’ve often sailed here during the French Olympic Sailing Week (SOF). This time though it will be different as we’re going to be racing right next to the harbour wall, which will be a big first. This can change a lot of things so we’re going to have to get our bearings again.”
Tomorrow's practice racing will begin at 2.30 with the first ever 'iShares Cup Raid' a 10-mile time trial to the island of Porquerolles which will give the Extreme 40 teams a chance to really stretch their legs along a longer track. The course will set off from Hyères Port up to Porquerolles, run along the northern tip of the island, and then turn for home. This will be followed by two practice races, first racing along the beach towards Pres qui’ile de Giens and back, and the third race will be a windward/leeward off the breakwater.
Before racing there will be a press conference, where Mr Politi, Mayor of Hyères, will welcome the iShares Cup and sailors back to Hyères-TPM for Round 2 of the European circuit.
Mike Golding, Ecover: “In training we set up in a series of race starts and short races with BMW Oracle Racing, Groupama, Holmatro and Oman Masirah – a high level group of boats who really gave us an excellent opportunity to improve our game."
Yann Guichard, Gitana Extreme - Groupe LCF Rothschild:“Each event has its own specific characteristics and Hyères is another race entirely so we’ll be setting out from scratch again!”