The countdown for the iShares Cup begins
On Tuesday 5th May the ten teams participating in the 2009 Extreme 40 circuit met just outside Paris, in the Parc Nautique on Ȋle de Monsieur in Sèvres, to accompany the launch of the iShares Cup season. With a week to go until the first event, which will be held in the incredible location of the city of Venice, the presentations were made and the sailors can now focus their minds on getting down to doing battle.

On the first official outing for Yann Guichard as skipper of Gitana Extreme, this day in Paris enabled the young sailor to get into contact with his future competitors. In fact, it was more a case of getting back into contact with Shirley Robertson, Carolijn Brouwer, Daren Bundock as well as Franck Cammas, as Yann has already had the opportunity of racing against these sailors whether it be in Olympic sailing or an oceanic race. However, Venice will certainly be a first on an Extreme 40: “Since receiving Gitana Extreme at the start of March, we’ve succeeded in sailing for around ten days as a full crew. Of particular significance was a training session in Valencia in the company of crews from Groupama and BMW Oracle. The American team gave us a fantastic welcome in its Spanish base. With the key word over those few training days being exchange, we learnt a great deal about all aspects of the performance thanks to various speed trials and iShares Cup type courses.”

As the first event draws nigh – given that the Grand Prix in Venice takes place from 15th to 17th May 2009 -, the skipper of Gitana Extreme cannot disguise his keeness to finally be able to pit himself against the very fine 2009 line-up: “Venice will be our first serious confrontation. Despite our joint training session in Valencia, it is only during the first races that we’ll really be able to gauge our level in relation to the rest of the fleet. I can’t wait!”

The organisers of the circuit – OC Events – also benefited from the occasion to announce the two towns which were yet to be made official: Cowes, in the UK, and Amsterdam in Holland.

Programme for the iShares Cup 2009
- Venice (Italy) from 15th to 17th May
- Hyères – TPM (France) from 3rd to 5th July
- Cowes (UK) from 1st to 3rd August
- Kiel (Germany) from 28th to 30th August
- Amsterdam (Holland) from 25th to 27th September
- Almeria (Spain) from 10th to 12th October

Crew of Gitana Extreme - LCF Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard (skipper-helmsman)
Pierre Pennec (mainsail traveller trimmer, tactics), Christophe Lassegue (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres) and Hervé Cunningham (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres).

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