Second place and a winning air!
After three days of intense racing within the majestic context of the Isle of Wight and a breathtaking final, the 3rd event in the iShares Cup has returned its verdict. The men from Oman Masirah have repeated their performance in France and stood out in front of Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group, who had a superb final day. The second Oman one design completed the podium places.
In these windy conditions, which provided the fleet of Extreme 40s with fifteen or so knots of breeze throughout the weekend, the standard went up a notch aboard the 40 foot one design. Indeed, given that light airs leave competitors with a little room for error, the breeze means you can’t get away with any mistakes. Fortunately Yann Guichard and his men sailed a perfect series and were able to take a deserved second place: “It’s been the windiest Grand Prix since the start of the championship. As was the case in Hyères, we took a bit of time to get going but the essential thing is that we finished very well.”
Within just two points of the crew of Oman Renaissance last night, the Gitana Team didn’t let up today, and showed itself to be aggressive during the start phases and inspired during the races. The essential points gained here earned the team second place in this English stage. Prior to the last race of the day, renowned for scoring double points, the tension was at its peak. Gitana Extreme was 3rd in the ranking with a one point deficit on Loïck Peyron. As such the maths is simple: the team that wins the race bags second place. “You had to be ahead! We got off to a good start and led out of the blocks. The first to round the windward mark we were leading the way but Renaissance really wasn’t far behind. At the leeward mark, he really came back on our team but he made an error by hitting us, which meant he had to perform a penalty. We then had a clear path and slipped along to take our second victory of the day. The racing was incredibly intense and the crew was extraordinary. We’ve fulfilled our mission and ended on a positive note” said an enthusiastic skipper. 
Already dominating in Hyères at the start of July, the Masirah team has scored the double through its outstanding performance on the Solent. For three days Pete Cumming and his men were the best and the skipper of Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group could but salute them: “They were the best here as they sailed extremely cleanly. They’re giving us a good lesson in sailing… it’s a much deserved victory and their level of play is an extra motivation for the crew of Gitana Extreme.”
With three out of the six events in the 2009 schedule contested, we find ourselves midway through the iShares Cup season. As such it’s a good opportunity to assess Gitana Team’s performance: winners in the opening event whilst racing in the splendid Italian city of Venice, Yann Guichard and his three crew went on to score 4th place on the French stage, before going on to take 2nd place in Cowes. Some very fine results then, which logically put them at the top of the table and fully satisfy the hopes voiced by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. Finally, as regards the championship, the provisional ranking places Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group in ambush, just a single point behind today’s winner, Masirah.
After a few weeks’ break, the crew will be back together in Germany at the end of August, in one of the sailing hotspots: Kiel.
Crew of Gitana Extreme - LCF Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard (skipper-helm)
Pierre Pennec (mainsail traveller trimmer, tactics), Christophe Lassegue (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres) and Hervé Cunningham (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres)
Ranking at the Cowes Grand Prix (after 20 races)
1/ Oman Sail Masirah (Pete Cumming) – 189 points
2/ Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group (Yann GUICHARD) – 158 points
3/ Oman Sail Renaissance (Loïck Peyron) – 153 points
4/ BT (Nick Moloney) – 126 points
5/ iShares – Shirley Robertson – 121 points
6/ Groupama 40 (Gildas Philippe) – 120 points
7/ Luna (Erik Maris) – 108 points
8/ Holmatro (Carolijn Brouwer) – 94 points
9/ Ecover – Mike Golding – 86 points
10/ Bmw Oracle (James Spithill) – 0 point (Not present in Cowes)
Provisional Championship Ranking (after three events)
1/ Oman Sail Masirah – 27 points (4th, 1st, 1st)
2/ Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group – 26 points (1st, 4th, 2nd)
3/Oman Sail Renaissance – 24 points (3rd, 3rd, 3rd)
4/ BMW Oracle – 19 points (2nd, 2nd, 10th)
5/ Groupama 40 – 17 points (5th, 5th, 6th)
6/ BT – 17 points (6th, 6th, 4th)
7/ iShares – 12 points (9th, 7th, 5th)
8/ Luna – 10 points (7th, 9th, 7th)
9/ Holmatro – 9 points (8th, 8th, 8th)
10/ Ecover – 4 points (10th, 10th, 9th)
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