Upset on the Sicilian podium
Another full-on day has come to an end in the port of the medieval city of Trapani. The Extreme Sailing Series fleet competed in seven races this Saturday in a steady NW’ly breeze oscillating between 20 and 25 knots. Some lively conditions then and the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group took a while to get its bearings. Nevertheless, Yann Guichard and his men got right back into the thick of the action in the second half of the afternoon, even scoring a very fine victory in race five. In third position on the provisional podium tonight, the sailors from Gitana Team will be on the attack tomorrow to conclude this fourth and penultimate Grand Prix of the season in the best possible way.
The fierce battle between the seven competing one designs has been intense throughout the afternoon on Trapani’s race zone. True to form, the skipper of the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild wasn’t silent on his return to shore, instead having a thorough run-down of this third day of racing with his crew: “I wasn’t very forceful at the starts, especially during the first two races. The races were very short again, between 6 and 8 minutes, so you can’t afford to make a poor approach. However, nobody onboard gave up and we managed to get control. We ended up with a podium place in the last three races, even winning one. We’re bringing this Saturday’s racing to a close on a positive note and will try to start off in the same vein tomorrow. The level is very similar and there was very little difference between the teams. In the first race we overshot the start by less than a metre. As such we suddenly found that we had to perform a penalty by crossing the start line again and thus ended up by bringing up the rear. That’s all part of the game and you have to agree to take a few risks.”
In the full-on conditions encountered over the past few days, the sailors have really taken a hammering, which is something Gabriele Bruni won’t deny. Yesterday the Sicilian skipper cracked his malleolus during the last race of the day and this morning, Mitch Booth, in Trapani to admire the spectacle, was put forward to stand in for him on the local catamaran. The skipper of Gitana hasn’t escaped injury either. Indeed, during the second race, Yann Guichard injured his left arm; a misfortune which he explained to us on his return to shore: “I really hurt my arm during a gybe. Part of the boat I deal with is in front of the piece which links together the two rudders and during a manœuvre the mainsail flicked violently across this zone, whilst my arm was carried off by the mainsail car. Fortunately, I had the reflexes to let go of it and it could have been a lot worse. I’ve ended up with a big bruise on the elbow but it’ll be better tomorrow after a good night’s rest.”
With the exception of the Omani one design skippered by Paul Campbell-James, who has been consistent throughout the afternoon and this evening confirms his leadership by having racked up a sixteen point lead over the team in second place, the next four boats in the ranking are just fourteen points apart… “In the ranking, the frontrunner has got away from us a little. As such it will be difficult to get back into the top spot, but we’re still on track for the remaining podium places and there’s everything to play for tomorrow. The previous events have already provided us with a number of upsets during this final day so we’ll see if Trapani is the same” explains Yann Guichard.Suffice to say that with such a scenario, the pressure will be on for the final day.
Provisional ranking for the Grand Prix of Trapani (after nineteen races)
1.       The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) – 107 points
2.       Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) -   91 points
3.       Edmond de Rothschild Group (Yann Guichard) - 85 points
4.       Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) - 82 points
5.       Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 77 points
6.       Red Bull Extreme Sailing (Roman Hagara) -   61 points
7.       Trapani The Sailing Seacily (Grabiele Bruni) - 26 points
The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group
Yann Guichard - Skipper, helmsman / Pierre Pennec – Mainsail trimmer / Hervé Cunningham – Headsail trimmer / Yves Detrey - Bowman
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