The first day’s racing in Almeria isn’t set to see much wind, though there is always the chance that the thermal breeze, which gradually kicks in at the start of the afternoon, may have a few surprises in store. As regards surprises, the race zone on which the fleet of catamarans will race is likely to create its fair share too! True to their concept, it’s in the very heart of the Andalusian port that the organisers of the iShares Cup have opted to set the scene for this final act. A playing field, atypical once again, which is likely to spice up proceedings over the next three days of racing.
During the training sessions yesterday afternoon, Yann Guichard and his men were able to get their bearings and pinpoint the numerous tricky areas on the race zone. For the skipper of Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group, there is no doubt that good starts will guarantee their success: “We’re going to have to be even more incisive than ever at the starts, especially if the wind comes from the same direction as yesterday, which is forecast to be the case for this first day of racing. The reasons for this are that though the first tack to windward can provide a few changes in the hierarchy, afterwards it’s a bit of a merry-go-round”.
The presence of a 100% Spanish crew, which answers to the name of Rumbo Almeria, brings the number of competitors in this final stage to ten. Helmed by the Olympic Tornado champion (Beijing 2008), Fernando Echavarri, the one design in the colours of Andalusia will be a serious new contender and a reminder to Yann Guichard of his Olympic years, which saw him do battle against the Iberian sailor.
Ten teams present in Almeria for the final
BT (Nick Moloney) - Ecover (Mike Golding) - Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) - Holmatro (Mitch Booth) - iShares (Shirley Robertson) - Luna (Erik Maris) - Oman Sail Masirah (Pete Cumming) - Oman Sail Renaissance (Loïck Peyron) - Rumba Almeria (Fernando Echavarri) and Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group (Yann Guichard)
Provisional championship ranking prior to the 6th and final event
1/ Oman Sail Masirah – 43 points (4th, 1st, 1st, 1st, 5th)
2/ Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group – 43 points (1st, 4th, 2nd, 4th, 1st)
3/Oman Sail Renaissance – 42 points (3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd)
4/ Groupama 40 – 33 points (5th, 5th, 6th, 3rd, 3rd)
5/ BT – 23 points (6th, 6th, 4th, 8th, 8th)
6/ iShares – 22 points (9th, 7th, 5th, 6th, 6th)
7/ Holmatro – 20 points (8th, 8th, 8th, 7th, 4th)
8/ Luna – 20 points (7th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 7th)
9/ BMW Oracle – 18 points (2nd, 2nd, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC)
10/ Ecover – 8 points (10th, 10th, 9th, 10th, 9th)