Thursday, 5 August 2010

Extreme 40s: ECOVER Dominates on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series

Team GAC Pindar goes flying on Day 4 off Cowes. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

by Emily Caroe

Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series and Mike Golding, fresh from his win earlier in the day in the Artemis Challenge race round the Isle of Wight, continued his winning form, marking his stamp on the podium with three first places and putting Paul Campbell-James’ top spot in jeopardy.

The wind Gods played their part in the afternoon’s racing, delivering gusts of up to 24 knots, enforcing a mandatory reef across the fleet and fifth men just for the first race. With the Cowes Week fleet finishes and the 1851 Cup as a backdrop, the Extreme 40s took centre stage for four races this afternoon, but without The Ocean Racing Club who broke their front beam in morning training.

Video of racing on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Cowes:

Double Olympian, Leigh McMillan, helming for Mike Golding’s Ecover Sailing Team was buzzing when he came ashore to meet the crowds who have lined the shorefront all day, “Awesome! All the boys on the boat were just hammering the manouevres all the way round, the first windward mark on the first race we had a bit of an issue with a rope around the rig, but we dealt with it really well and managed to hold onto a top three in that race and from then on everything was just super slick, Mike and all the boys were just excellent.

“Yesterday we got bounced off every wall, we were backwards forwards, left, right and center. Today was the opposite but that’s just the nature of the sport. We got off to a good start in the day and then just relaxed into it,” he concluded.

Waves for the Extreme Sailing Series off Cowes. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

Despite a promising start for Oman Sail Masirah, winning the first race, they couldn’t keep hold of a consistent form, posting a 2nd, a 3rd and despite a good start in the final race, finished in a disastrous sixth, losing their second overall placing and allowing Groupe Edmond de Rothschild to creep up, just two points behind.

The Wave, Muscat now has just a four point buffer at the top of the leaderboard, with 150 points and Ecover Sailing Team in second with 146. Loick Peyron lies in third with 141 point with Oman Sail Masirah and fellow Frenchman Yann Guichard, fighting hard for a podium position just two points behind, with 139.

Groupama 40. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

Australian Nick Moloney, skipper of Team GAC Pindar entertained the crowds before racing began this afternoon with three races against a fleet of four windsurfers. Nick, the only person to windsurf across the Bass Strait, challenged 13 times British national windsurf champion Guy Cribb to a straight line speed race joined by World Tour professional windsurfers, John Skye and Isle of Wight hero Ross Williams.

“That was awesome – we were flying, but they were too – they beat us 2-1, but I reckon we should have a rematch,” he joked. “We were both doing in excess of 20 knots of boat speed and I was surprised how evenly we were matched at such high speed.”

Joining the Extreme Sailing Series this afternoon was Formula 1 supremo Eddie Jordan, “I have seen how quick they are and it’s fantastic. What gets you is the excitement. So many people coming here and watching pure sailing as spectators. It’s absolutely amazing. When I was much younger, fitter and energetic, I had a Hobie Cat so to have a 40 foot version is perfect. It’s obscene how quick they are, but definitely a young persons’ sport!

Roland Jourdain's Veolia Environnement. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

“The analogy or similarity with F1 is very obvious to see. The boats travel at huge speeds, very close to one another, no escape lanes anywhere on this course, it is absolutely fantastic, wheel to wheel or actually sail to sail. It’s exciting; trying to catch up on inside and outside just like F1! It’s the most exciting thing I have seen in a long time.”

After a rest morning today, the Extreme 40 fleet will return tomorrow, Wednesday 4 August at 10am for an offshore race from The Royal Yacht Squadron to Calshot, and then be back on the short course start line at Egypt Point at 5pm.

Extreme Sailing Series Europe