Edmond de Rothschild carries the day in the breeze
The competitors in the Extreme Sailing Series really put on a show this Sunday for the crowds lining the quays of Almeria’s commercial port. For the second day of this Spanish competition, the fleet of Extreme 40s were a delight to behold, linking together the races in a breeze teasing 25 knots. In the lively conditions, Yann Guichard and his three crew dominated proceedings. Indeed, after taking the lead yesterday evening, today the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group has confirmed its desire for victory. The sailors of Gitana Team pocketed three wins of the four races disputed, thus slightly increasing their lead over their most dangerous rivals.
With gusts of around 30 knots at the entrance to the port and an average breeze of 25 knots in the stadium venue, today’s sailing conditions proved both full-on and lively. As such the gale warning issued yesterday for southern Spain was very much par for the course. However, in order to put on a show for the crowds, whilst conserving an acceptable level of safety on the race zone, the race management responsible for the Extreme Sailing Series, adapted the race programme to make it compulsory to sail with one reef in their mainsail and without the fifth man aboard. In this way, it was with a fleet split into two groups of four boats that the eight races were run this Sunday. It proved to be a scenario that Yann Guichard and his men were able to adapt to brilliantly: “it was important to be here today! We sailed four great races by getting off to some good starts. After that we were well positioned and had good speed, which enabled us to perform well. We didn’t take any risks aboard, whilst being a little more aggressive than we were in Trapani. Our adversaries like to say that we’re more at ease in the light airs so we wanted to show them that we were also a force to be reckoned with in the breeze…” highlighted the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group before analysing the position of his crew in relation to the competition: “At the end of these first two days, The Wave has switched from the position of hunted to hunter. We certainly have no intention of blowing our own trumpet before time as there are just as many days of racing to go and we know all too well that in the Extreme 40 series, things can change very quickly, one way or the other. Nevertheless, this position is interesting as now they’re obliged to sail their own race and rack up points rather than seeking to control our race.”
On their return to shore, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group were all smiles despite the fatigue, unable to disguise their satisfaction in view of the job they’ve done today. Thierry Fouchier, headsail trimmer aboard the Extreme 40 and teaming up with Yann Guichard for the third time this season, looked back at their day on the water: “It was difficult and physical but the results are good so it’s very satisfying and motivating for the next two days. Races in breezy conditions, such as those we raced in today, require great trust among the group we’ve formed. To perform well we have to sail as one, which is something we managed to pull off today.”
At the end of this second day, midway through the event, the crew of the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild confirms its good form at the head of the provisional ranking. Yann Guichard and his crew have a six point lead this evening over the Brits on Ecover and eleven over the Omani team on Masirah.
Tomorrow the wind is set to die down, with 12-14 knots forecast. Considerably milder conditions tomorrow then, which will be synonymous with a ‘return to normal’, with fleet races scheduled from 1400 hours.
Provisional ranking for the Grand Prix of Almeria at the end of the second day (after eleven races)
1.       Edmond de Rothschild (Yann Guichard) - 59 points
2.       Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 53 points
3.       Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) - 48 points
4.       The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) - 48 points
5.       Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) - 39 points
6.       Rumbo Almeria (Mitch Booth) - 33 points
7.       Red Bull Extreme Sailing (Roman Hagara) - 28 points
8.       Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) - 24 points
The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group in Almeria
Yann Guichard - Skipper, helmsman / Pierre Pennec – Mainsail trimmer / Thierry Fouchier – Headsail trimmer / Yves Detrey - Bowman
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