Bunching at the head of the ranking
The more time goes by, the more the wind seems to make its presence felt on the race zone at Egypt Point. Today four races were able to be contested in a good breeze, in excess of 20 knots. Uncompromising, Mike Golding’s men made a clean sweep of the prizes on three occasions and have snatched back second place in the provisional ranking. At the head of the billing, the day’s racing has seen further bunching of the top four one designs, which are now within eleven points of each other. As such it promises to be a very close battle for the last two days of the Grand Prix of Cowes.

The morning-off granted to the sailors by the organisers of the Extreme Sailing Series was very much appreciated. Within the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group, each man was able to make the most of the few hours’ respite and do just as they liked: a wander around Yacht Haven, the marina in Cowes, some reading or exchanging of emails with friends and family… At around 1500 hours, Yann Guichard and his men headed over to Venture Quays as today’s racing was scheduled for 1700 hours; a little later than on previous days.

At the allotted hour, only eight Extreme 40s took to the water as technical issues caused Mitch Booth to withdraw. The remaining fleet lined up for the start with one reef in their mainsail; conduct which was deemed prudent during the day’s briefing, given the weather forecast, and one which was to remain in force throughout the afternoon: “This Tuesday was the windiest day we’ve had, with an average of 20 knots, not to mention the four knots of current which we hooked onto during the upwind legs. The seas were just as big. In such conditions putting in a compulsory reef in the mainsail is a wise decision. It enabled us to manoeuvre better as well as avoiding any very tight calls, which might lead to collisions. Today I felt a lot more confident than the day before as I managed to position the boat and bearing away wasn’t so full-on” explained the Gitana skipper.

Constantly jockeying for position at the front of the fleet, the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is laying in ambush for the top spots tonight, currently in fourth in the provisional general ranking. The position of hunter is one which Yann Guichard can easily put up with: “The top four have got away from the others a little in the overall ranking, but they’re very much in contact! The next two days are going to be intriguing. We’re lying in fourth this evening, just a few points shy of our rivals”  

This Tuesday it was a lot cooler on the Isle of Wight. The drop in temperature and the solid grey sky, which marked this fourth day of racing, herald the arrival of a low that may well disturb tomorrow’s racing: “a depression is currently passing over the centre of the UK and, if the forecasts hold true, may well bring with it some very aggressive conditions. However, the grib files are evolving quickly and we’ll have to wait till tomorrow to find out what we’re going to be served up with!”

To be continued tomorrow…

Provisional ranking of the Grand Prix of Cowes on 3rd August (after 23 races)
1. The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) – 150 points
2. Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 146 points
3. Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) - 141 points
4. Edmond de Rothschild Group (Yann Guichard) - 139 points
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (Roman Hagara) - 122 points
6. Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) - 119 points
7. Team GAC Pindar (Nick Moloney) - 99 points
8. The Ocean Racing Club (Mitch Booth) - 79 points
9. Veolia Environnement (Roland Jourdain) - 30 points

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard - Skipper, helm / Pierre Pennec – Mainsail trimmer / Thierry Fouchier – Headsail trimmer / Nicolas Heintz – Bowman

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