Edmond de Rothschild Group, second in the Extreme Sailing Series 2010
The equation was a clear one even before the Grand Prix of Almeria kicked off: second in the overall ranking behind the Omani crew, Yann Guichard and his three crew would have to finish ahead of Paul Campbell-James’ men in order to etch their names on the Extreme Sailing Series cup. However, after dominating the first two days of Spanish races, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group gradually lost ground to their main rival to come within a handful of points of victory. Second in the Andalusian event, the men of Gitana Team finish second in the 2010 championship, thus repeating their 2009 performance with just a few points difference…
Windy with the advantage switching to The Wave Muscat… the final day of this Grand Prix of Almeria, which concluded this year’s Extreme Sailing Series, is rather reminiscent of the 2010 season itself. On his return to shore, the Gitana Team skipper’s assessment of their second place was coloured by great lucidity and fair-play:This year the aim was to win, but we were beaten by a team that were stronger than us. The Wave sailed very well. They took risks and it worked: bravo to them! Victory would have been fantastic but I’m very satisfied with my team’s season nonetheless. We won two of the five Grand Prixs contested and we only slipped off the podium in Trapani. That’s an excellent result, which testifies to how seriously hard everyone that has been part of this project has worked all year. I’m naturally thinking about my crew, Pierre Pennec, Hervé Cunnigham, Thierry Fouchier, Yves Detrey and Nicolas Heintz, but also Marie Dixneuf and Cyril Ducrot, who have meticulously and enthusiastically prepared the boat all season” admitted Yann Guichard before turning his attention to the future: “The level of competition on the circuit this year is really interesting and it’s clearly higher than last year. If we set off from the same basis again, the 2011 season promises to be thrilling. It would be fantastic to return and vie for victory again.”
It is worth remembering that prior to contesting this fifth and final event of the season, four boats were still in contention to take the 2010 title. As such, though it lost in the duel against Paul Campbell-James’ men, Yann Guichard’s crew did manage to contain its two other rivals by some distance: “Four days ago, there were still four of us in contention for the same throne. We’ve stumbled in front of the top step of the podium, but we’ve battled hard and we’ve left a good number of teams in our wake. We’ve finished second but we sailed correctly and that’s the most important thing in sport… we have nothing to be ashamed about in our result, far from it!”
On crossing the finish of the last race of the day, Yann Guichard admitted having had a thought or two about Gitana 11 and the Route du Rhum, the start of which has never been so close: “The Extreme Sailing Series season draws to a close this evening so I’ll now be able to devote my time fully to the Route du Rhum and the solo crossing awaiting me in a fortnight’s time. That’s why I’m returning to Brittany this evening, with some solo sails scheduled aboard Gitana over the coming days, before taking the boat to Saint Malo for the start.”
Reactions from the crew
At the end of the final race of the day and with the announcing of the results, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group couldn’t hide their disappointment after coming so close to victory in the annual championship. However, quickly, each of them in turn, managed to focus on the positive aspects of the experience, in the knowledge that they are taking with them the lessons learnt from this past season.
Pierre Pennec, Mainsail trimmer – tactics: “ I’m disappointed because we’ve sailed a very good season and we’d have really liked to have won. We finished second behind adversaries who we knew to be incisive and pertinent in breezy conditions. In phases such as these, they were better than us. Now, if I step back a bit from this final result, this 2010 season has been positive for a number of reasons. Aboard we’ve made great gains, especially as regards the manoeuvres and the communication between the crew. Added to that we can still make progress, which augurs well for whatever comes next. I’ve really enjoyed sailing with some great professionals like Thierry Fouchier, Yves Detrey and of course Hervé Cunningham. I’m well aware of how lucky I’ve been. Added to that it’s always a delight to race alongside Yann, who is a talented helmsman and someone who is also calm and constructive aboard. I’m going to follow him on the internet with a great deal of attention during the Route du Rhum and perhaps a bit of stress too as it’s a friend who’ll be heading out to sea.”
Thierry Fouchier, headsail trimmer: “ Our adversaries were a notch above us today and their victory was deserved. Maybe we were a bit too conservative in the last races, we’ll talk about that between ourselves later on, but the important thing is that we were true to the philosophy of the Gitana team, namely sailing cleanly like gentlemen. We battled all the way to the finish. We didn’t lose our stride and we constantly defended our chances. Even when we got off to a poor start, it was the cohesion in our crew that enabled us to get back into the action. That’s the strength of this team! We’re taking lessons from this second place and we know where we have to make progress. Hats off to The Wave for their victory.”
Yves Detrey, Bowman: “ We fought hard but they were stronger than us today. We made a few errors in the manœuvres and on the whole we didn’t manage to position ourselves where we would have liked during the starts. I’ve been lucky enough to sail in the last two Grand Prixs of the season as part of a superb team and, despite the disappointment with this second place, it has been a fantastic experience.”
Final ranking for the Grand Prix of Almeria at the end of the fourth and final day (after twenty-seven races)
1.       The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) - 157 points
2.       Edmond de Rothschild (Yann Guichard) - 142 points
3.       Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 135 points
4.       Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) - 123 points
5.       Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) - 107 points
6.       Red Bull Extreme Sailing (Roman Hagara) - 91 points
7.       Rumbo Almeria (Mitch Booth) - 91 points
8.       Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) - 66 points
Final ranking for the Extreme Sailing Series 2010 (after five Grands Prix)
1.The Wave, Muscat (Paul Campbell-James) - 36 points
2.Edmond de Rothschild (Yann Guichard) - 34 points
3.Ecover Sailing Team (Mike Golding) - 31 points
4.Oman Sail Masirah (Loïck Peyron) - 29 points
5.Groupama 40 (Franck Cammas) - 17 points
6.Red Bull Extreme Sailing (Roman Hagara) - 16 points
7.The Ocean Racing Club (Mitch Booth) - 7 points
8Team GAC Pindar (Nick Moloney) - 3 points
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