Tomorrow is another day!
This first day of racing at Hyères has been marked by the domination of the Oman Sail Masirah catamaran. Pete Cumming scored four bullets in the six races run today. For the crew of Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group, the start-up proved to be a little trickier and this evening Yann Guichard and his men are in 6th position in the provisional ranking.
First fact of the day: the expected wind of around 20 knots was less strong than forecast. Indeed, the W to SW’ly breeze was shy initially and it rarely exceeded 7 knots during the first race. Following that the wind gradually filled in over the course of the afternoon but never reached more than 15 knots. This was nevertheless sufficient to provide some great battles on the Var region’s race zone.  
Aboard Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group it won’t be a day to go down in the history books. During the opening race, despite a good start at the committee boat, Yann Guichard’s men missed a course mark. Quickly realising their mistake, they were forced to perform a 360° turn in order to be able to make the mark and leave it to port as planned. Following on from that, there were problems with unfurling the gennaker, some hesitant manœuvres and above all some less pertinent starts than usual. The misadventures of the day confirm, if need be, that in the iShares Cup races, you really have to pay the price for any mistakes: “Not easy. There was a little more wind than in Venice and the crews are beginning to work well together, which naturally means that the level is picking up. We didn’t get off to very good starts today, the upshot of which meant we were in the thick of the chasing group and that’s always more difficult. With wind conditions being lighter there was a lot of contact and we had our fair share of penalties (the crew have to perform a 360° when the judges on the water observe an error)” analysed Yann, before admitting to a slight deficit in terms of speed due to the boat’s characteristic trim: “The wind was lighter than forecast and as we opted for a breezy set-up this penalised us in terms of speed.”
It is worth remembering though that the crew of Gitana Extreme isn’t exactly the same as in Venice, as Hervé Cunningham has been replaced as headsail trimmer by Simeon Tienpont, a young Dutch sailor. This change, which the whole team has perfectly adapted to, does however call for the official language aboard to be English.
True to form, Yann Guichard was lucid about the errors committed by his crew today, but he certainly isn’t discouraged by this difficult introduction: “There are still a lot of races ahead and the analysis of the racing today will enable us to iron out the issues we had. Tomorrow is another day. We’re going to start out from scratch and set off all the keener tomorrow!”
Direct decision
In the iShares Cup, the judges responsible for ensuring the race rules are respected are on the water: it’s what you call a direct decision. During a protest resulting from a collision or refusal of priority, they have to decide in an instant which boat is responsible. Today, the judges certainly had their work cut out...
Crew of Gitana Extreme - LCF Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard (skipper-helm)
Pierre Pennec (mainsail traveller trimmer, tactics),
Christophe Lassegue (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres)
Simeon Tienpont (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres)
Ranking on the first day (after 6 races)
1/ Oman Sail Masirah (Pete Cumming) – 55 points
2/ BT (Nick Moloney) – 46 points
3/ Oman Sail Renaissance (Loïck Peyron) – 45 points
4/ Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) – 38 points
5/ Bmw Oracle (James Spithill) – 37 points
6/ Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group (Yann GUICHARD) – 31 points
7/ iShares – Shirley Robertson – 30 points
8/ Holmatro (Carolijn Brouwer) – 21 points
9/ Luna (Erik Maris) – 17 points
10/ Ecover – Mike Golding – 10 points
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