Starting from zero for the final attack
The pressure weighed heavily over the race zone of Almeria this Monday, despite the little wind that the fleet of Extreme 40s benefited from to compete in the seven races launched by the race committee. The end of the championship is drawing ever closer and each point won or lost takes on considerable importance. This is especially true given that the top two boats are tied on points this evening, while the third is still very much in contention just six points shy of their total. With one day to go till the end of both this event in Andalusia and the Extreme Sailing Series 2010, the suspense has reached a head. Everything will be decided tomorrow!
Pumping out in excess of 25 knots yesterday, the wind had lost the bulk of its intensity today, rarely dispensing more than 5 knots for the first three races sailed outside the Spanish port. However the sea was still showing the scars of the day before and a residual swell was slowing the progress of the one designs, whilst making things tricky for the eight competing crews, especially as regards the manœuvres. The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group, particularly at ease in the breezy conditions yesterday, was unable to repeat the performance today, at least at the start of racing… Indeed, though Yann Guichard and his three crew lacked inspiration and were less incisive in the first five races of the day, they really got back into their swing and scored two bullets in the final fleet races of the day:I have mixed feelings about the way we performed today. We took a bit of time to get into our rhythm, which was especially true of me in the start phases. However, we were able to stay concentrated and motivated, which enabled us to finish the day on a sweeter note than the one we began on” said the positive skipper of the Gitana Team.
After the seven races contested amongst the fleet, the Extreme Sailing Series crews concluded their third and penultimate day of competition with a Match Racing format. The pairings were formed using the current ranking, which meant that the first placed competitor was up against the second placed competitor, the third with the fourth and so on, until all eight boats had raced. As such the final duel of the day saw the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild doing battle against it’s most loyal adversary. “Match Racing is a bit like the Extreme 40 races. Things are pretty much decided at the start and in this case Paul got the upper hand. That’s the name of the game. You can’t always come out on top, though tomorrow that’s exactly where we’re going to have to be! The Wave had a great day, in contrast to yesterday, and they managed to draw level with us in this evening’s ranking. Everything will be decided tomorrow on the final day of the final event and the battle is going to be packed with emotion. We’ll be starting from scratch again tomorrow so may the best man win!” concluded Yann Guichard.
Clearly then, it’s going to be a decisive day tomorrow and doubtless one of high tension. However, Yann Guichard’s dream team – made up of Pierre Pennec, Thierry Fouchier and Yves Detrey – has already twice demonstrated this year that pressure galvanises them into action rather than frightening them.
Rendez-vous tomorrow evening for the outcome of the incredible scenario that is the Extreme Sailing Series 2010.
Provisional ranking for the Grand Prix of Almeria at the end of the third day (after nineteen races)
1.       Edmond de Rothschild (Yann Guichard) - 97 points
2.       The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) - 97 points
3.       Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 91 points
4.       Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) - 78 points
5.       Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) - 75 points
6.       Rumbo Almeria (Mitch Booth) - 54 points
7.       Red Bull Extreme Sailing (Roman Hagara) - 49 points
8.       Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) - 47 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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