Monday, 27 September 2010

Extreme 40: ECOVER Come Out Fighting to Secure Third Overall

Image copyright Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events.

by Lucy Harwood

It was crunch day for Ecover as they headed into the final day of competition in Trapani. After gear failure yesterday forced them to retire and miss out of the final two races of the day, they found themselves eight points adrift of the podium. They certainly had a big task ahead if they were to move in front of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Groupama and take third place overall. The British team didn’t disappoint, the team delivered an outstanding day’s sailing, with two bullets, two second place finishes and a fourth to secure third place at the event, and third place overall in the series with one event to go.

“We are really pleased to get back on the podium and to pull back a third place finish is an amazing end to this event for us. It just goes to show the strength of the team, when you can bounce back from what was a disappointing day for us yesterday and deliver a result like this. I’m really pleased for us all, we just didn’t give up and that resilience paid off,” Ecover helm Leigh McMillan.

Going into the final race Ecover needed a first or second place, and at the same time put at least two boats between themselves and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who were holding onto third place just four points ahead of the British team. Ecover had a perfect start leading the fleet off the line to hold off Oman Sail Masirah as both boats started to extend away from the fleet. Elsewhere, The Wave, Muscat and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were caught in their own match race, each boat matching the other move for move.

“We were hoping that one of the Oman boats would go hunting Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and I think that happened a little bit especially in the last race which helped our cause. We knew we had to go and do our own thing today, especially in the final race. There was no advantage to us hunting any particular boat out, we just wanted to stay safe and run our own race and see how it would pan out. To win the final race and move from fifth to third overall after five races was fantastic day, and a great recovery from yesterday, the boys have done a really good job and its a great feeling onboard the boat,” skipper Mike Golding.

Ecover held their nerve and controlled the race until the final mark where Oman Sail Masirah had found some pace on the final downwind leg, Loick Peyron and crew pushed Ecover to the line, but they couldn't quite catch them and Ecover took their second win of the day. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild had no options stuck in the middle of the fleet and a fourth place finish was enough for Ecover to take the podium spot from the French team.

But it wasn’t as smooth out on the water as it appeared. Ecover experienced yet more gear failure today when a mainsail batten shattered just moments before the first race. “We hoisted our mainsail just before the start, we were doing a bit of practice and it looked completely wrong. We took it down, put it back up again and we still couldn't figure it out. We then realised the top batten had just shattered, so it wasn't looking anywhere near correct. We had no choice but to do the first race with it as it was, and then we were in a mad rush to get it replaced before the start of race two. We were in sequence for the start of race when we were still putting out main back up so it was pretty touch and go there for a while. I think we want to achieve good result and ideally aim as high as we can. We haven't won one of these events yet and that's right at the top of our list. To actually finish off the series with a win is going to be one of our biggest goals going into the final event. We are looking forward to a solid regatta with some consistent sailing and ultimately to stay on the podium overall," Leigh McMillan.

Ecover are just one point ahead of Oman Sail Masirah on the overerall leaderboard and three points from overall series leaders The Wave, Muscat. The final event will take place over four days in Almeria, Spain from the 9th – 12th October.

Overall standings after Stage 4 Trapani
1 The Wave Muscat - 138 points
2 Oman Sail Masirah - 120 points
3 Ecover Sailing Team - 114 points
4 Groupe Edmond De Rothschild - 112 points
5 Groupama 40 - 96 points
6 Red Bull Extreme Sailing - 84 points
7 Trapani, The Sailing Seacily - 33 points

ECOVER Sailing Team
Extreme sailing Series Europe