Friday, 27 August 2010
Gitana and The Wave compete with a kite boarder on the final day of racing off Cowes. Image copyright Anne Hinton, all rights reserved.
by Kate Jennings
The longest and perhaps most intense grand prix of the 2010 season has just concluded this evening in Cowes with the victory of The Wave Muscat. The catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild came 3rdin the event with its second podium finish of the competition. The result has enabled Yann Guichard and his men to hold onto their overall lead in the Extreme Sailing Series 2010, now tied on points with the crew of Paul Campbell-James.
True to form the Solent really made life difficult for those competing in the Extreme Sailing Series. During the six days of competition, the weather conditions were full-on with a breeze of around 20 knots for the afternoon races and a powerful current, which led to big seas and some hairy races: “This Grand Prix of Cowes is the event I was dreading the most in the 2010 championship. It’s common knowledge that the race zone is a difficult one and that’s exactly how it was once again. I think that the races contested during this Cowes Week will be among the windiest this year! Finishing third here is very positive.” Though the weather played a major part in ensuring the event was a showstopper, we must also pay credit to the beauty of the location during Cowes Week. Indeed, on a daily basis, the fleet of Extreme 40s were able to enjoy a breathtaking backdrop with over 900 yachts racing on the waters of the Solent!
Already in third place yesterday evening, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild gave it there all this Thursday to get back with the two lead boats. Despite two victories in the five races run this afternoon, Yann Guichard and his crew weren’t able to work their way further up the ranking: “We gave it everything we could today! It was necessary to go at it pedal to the metal from the outset, which we managed to do by winning the first race of the day. Unfortunately the next three races weren’t on a par with the first, as we got it a bit wrong during the start phases. We were firing on all cylinders again during the final race of the day, the one which scores double points, but it was a bit late! The Wave and Ecover, who finished in front of us on the podium, were stronger than us. We have nothing to regret and even though we didn’t manage to pull off another win this evening, I am really satisfied by our performance in this grand prix” admitted Yann Guichard.
The 2nd meeting of the season has unquestionably been a harder fought battle than the event in the South of France. Today’s winner - The Wave Muscat – has confirmed a potential which was already evident in Sète and hadn’t escaped the notice of the skipper of the Gitana Team. Similarly, Mike Golding’s men demonstrated great ease and fighting spirit, proving that they are indeed a force to be reckoned with this year. Finally, we mustn’t forget the second Omani one design, which missed out on the podium following a poor end to the competition, but remains a serious contender!
This increase in power displayed by their adversaries comes as neither a surprise nor bad news for the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group, who sensed this was the case very early on: “The level has clearly gone up a notch and that’s a very good thing as the more intense the competition, the better it is. Three to four boats were capable of playing for championship victory today, which will make for some thrilling racing during the next three events.”
After this English event, the championship ranking has become much closer. The catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is now sharing the top spot with today’s winner, The Wave Muscat. Meanwhile Oman Sail Masirah is tied in third place with Ecover.
In less than three weeks the competitors will be back racing together in Germany, for the third event of the 2010 championship. Kiel can now rank as a loyal host to the Extreme 40s given that the city is playing host to the circuit for the 3rd year running and it will see the one designs battling for supremacy again between 26th and 29thAugust. In the meantime Yann Guichard will continue to prepare for the Route du Rhum aboard the maxi-trimaran Gitana 11. After a few days much deserved holiday, the Gitana skipper will head back to La Trinité-sur-Mer in SW Brittany for another session of solo sailing.
Final ranking for the Grand Prix of Cowes on 5th August (after 36 races)
1. The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) – 249 points
2. Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 231 points
3. Edmond de Rothschild Group (Yann Guichard) - 225 points
4. Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) - 205 points
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (Roman Hagara) - 199 points
6. Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) – 196 points
7. Team GAC Pindar (Nick Moloney) - 170 points
8. Veolia Environnement (Roland Jourdain) - 85 points
9. The Ocean Racing Club (Mitch Booth) - 79 points
Extreme Sailing Series Europea