An hour and a half prior to kick-off, the first race of the day – a coastal course – was still in doubt. In fact the organisers of the Extreme Sailing Series were awaiting confirmation about the manageability of the weather conditions for all the competitors. Fortunately the wind God decided not to overdo it this morning and served up around fifteen knots of breeze for the Extreme 40s to set off at 1000 hours. Absent from the competition yesterday, Mitch Booth had to withdraw from racing again today. Indeed, following serious damage to their dolphin striker, the crew of The Ocean Racing Club has been forced to throw in the towel for the rest of the event.
It’s no secret that in the Extreme 40 class, a good start is 90% synonymous with a good, or even very good result. This morning, Yann Guichard and his crew – Pierre Pennec, Thierry Fouchier and Nicolas Heintz – were not just bang on time at the startline but also perfectly positioned: “last night’s debriefing has borne fruit… during the pre-start phase the communication aboard was fluid and we positioned the boat exactly where we’d decided in the discussed timing. As such the next stage of events linked together perfectly and we were able to power away on port tack at the front of the fleet, which enabled us to quickly get a few boat lengths ahead of our pursuers. The rest of the race was a question of control and concentration” explained Pierre Pennec.
This afternoon conditions promise to be both full-on and wet, with an expected average wind of between 15 and 20 knots. The big seas of this morning will also provide the setting for this penultimate afternoon of racing.
Ranking for the Grand Prix of Cowes on 4th August (after 24 races)
1. The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) – 158 points
2. Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 150 points
3. Edmond de Rothschild Group (Yann Guichard) - 148 points
4. Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) - 144 points
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (Roman Hagara) - 127 points
6. Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) – 126 points
7. Team GAC Pindar (Nick Moloney) - 105 points
8. The Ocean Racing Club (Mitch Booth) - 79 points
9. Veolia Environnement (Roland Jourdain) - 32 points