Breton training sessions 15 days from kick-off
From 10th to 14th May, the crew of the Extreme 40 Gitana, rechristened Edmond de Rothschild Group, has been practising its scales in the Baie de Quiberon. Now, with 15 days till the first event of the season, which is due to take place in Sète in the South of France on 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th May 2010, Yann Guichard and his three crew have got back together for a five day training session.
Their last sail together aboard the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild dated back to October 2009, on the occasion of the sixth and final Grand Prix of last season. Last week in La Trinité-sur-Mer, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group made its comeback. “The first event of 2010 is approaching and we needed to get back into the swing of things by integrating the new element to our crew. As such the five days on the water have proved beneficial. Indeed we’ve been particularly spoilt by the weather, which has ranged from strong wind to light airs and has enabled us to go through the whole range of manoeuvres in all the different configurations. These training sessions aren’t a true reflection of what we’ll experience in the Extreme races, but they have allowed us to get to know the boat better. In the Grands Prix we sail a whole series of races but the tacks are never long enough to be able to push our steed and appreciate all the sensations” commented Yann Guichard, who was satisfied with the latest warm-up.
A new recruit aboard the Extreme 40 Edmond de Rothschild Group
For its second season in the Extreme Sailing Series, the crew of the one design Gitana remains virtually unchanged since Pierre Pennec and Hervé Cunningham are sailing alongside Yann Guichard. However there is just one new face among them. Nicolas Heintz, a young 26 year old Match Racing sailor, is replacing Christophe Lassegue on the bow. The reasoning behind the change in ‘weight’ is explained to us by the skipper of Gitana: “Last year we banked on a ‘light’ crew, which gave us an advantage during races contested in light airs. However, the grands prix dominated by breezy conditions, as was the case in Hyères and Kiel, were the hardest to negotiate. That’s why, in 2010, I’ve opted to considerably modify the composition of the crew for greater versatility. Nicolas isn’t very familiar with multihulls but he learns quickly and I’m sure his sailing experience will shine through very soon.”
Second in the 2009 championship for their first participation, Yann Guichard and his crew are returning to the Extreme Sailing Series with their sights on victory. However, it’s a new season, with new crews and a new order… an equation the Gitana skipper is very much aware of: “Some new crews are making their entry onto the circuit and the existing crews have worked a great deal over the winter. For our part, we’ve also sought to improve on our weak points and I’m looking forward to being in Sète to be able to find out where we stand in relation to the competition.”