Kick-off for the Extreme season on 20 February
With less than a fortnight to go until the start of hostilities in the Extreme Sailing Series 2011, some of the future pretenders to victory, including the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group driven by her new helmsman Pierre Pennec, decided to have a get together in Oman. As such the Extreme 40 crews set up camp in Musanaah, a marina located around fifty nautical miles to the NW of the capital, Muscat and the future site for The Wave Muscat competition, where the first races of the season will be contested from 20 to 24 February 2011.

The race rules 2011 only allow for two training days on the competition site itself. As a result the crews of the Extreme Sailing Series have got together just a few miles further North for an initial training session. On the programme: assembly and preparation of the 40 foot one designs, speed tests and the first ‘skirmishes’ of the season through some round the cans racing.

A studious return to school

After around ten days on site and eight days of sailing under their belts, the helmsman of the Extreme 40 Edmond de Rothschild Group gives us his assessment: “Oman offers perfect conditions with sunshine and variable wind, which is strong enough for us to test ourselves in various sailing configurations. As such we’ve been able to size up our adversaries in both the light airs and breezy conditions. The initial training sessions have been conclusive in terms of speed and manœuvres, but we still have a lot of work to do. With the arrival of some big teams from the America’s Cup universe, the level of the circuit will certainly go up a notch. It’s going to be very closely fought from the outset of racing and we’re going to have to defend our position. It’s extremely motivating to be part of world championship and up against the best there is in the world of sports catamarans.” Sailing, establishing of a team organisation both on and off the water, not to mention the physical preparation that such a circuit requires: nothing has been left to chance by the members of the stable fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild.

Assiduous, concentrated and extremely motivated to take up the upcoming challenge, Pierre Pennec, Thierry Fouchier, Hervé Cunningham and Christophe Espagnon have prepared the ground for the nine Grands Prix, which await them this season: “These first few days have called for us to get the project on its feet. We’ve established the organisation on the boat (who does what and when?), we’ve sorted out the boat’s trim thanks to the sensations acquired during the long tacks and finally we’ve familiarised ourselves with the new gear and the new set of sails in particular, which we had to adjust to our needs” explained the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group.

From tomorrow, Pierre Pennec and his men will head back to France and their respective homes for a few days’ rest with their families. However, very soon they’ll be back on Omani waters as they’ll be participating in a second and final training session on 14 February before the first Grand Prix of 2011.


Extreme Sailing Series 2011 

The dates :

Act 1: from 20-24 February, Muscat, OMAN
Act 2: 13-17 April, Qingdao, CHINA
Act 3: 25-29 May, Istanbul, TURKEY
Act 4: 30 June – 4 July, Boston, USA
Act 5: 6-12 August, Cowes, UK
Act 6: 14-18 September, Trapani, ITALY
Act 7: 28 September – 2 October, Nice, FRANCE
Act 8: 12-16 October, Almeria, SPAIN
Act 9: 7-11 December Singapore

The participating force : 

  1. Alinghi – SUI / Tanguy Cariou (FRA)
  2. Artemis Racing – SWE / Terry Hutchinson (USA)
  3. Emirates Team New Zealand – NZL / Dean Barker (NZL)
  4. Edmond de Rothschild Group – FRA / Pierre Pennec (FRA)
  5. Luna Rossa – ITA / Max Sirena (ITA)
  6. Niceforyou – ITA / Alberto Barovier (ITA)
  7. Oman Air – OMA / Sidney Gavignet (FRA)
  8. Red Bull Extreme Sailing – AUT / Roman Hagara (AUT)
  9. Team Extreme – EUR / Roland Gaebler (GER)
  10. Team GAC Pindar – GBR / Ian Williams (GBR)
  11. The Wave, Muscat – OMA / Torvar Mirsky (AUS)


Gitana 11 is back

The maxi-trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild made it back to her technical base at the Gitana stable during the course of January. After setting out from Guadeloupe midway through December aboard a cargo ship chartered by a large number of Class 40 competitors from the last Route du Rhum, the 23 metre maxi-trimaran was unloaded in the Port du Château in Brest, NW France, just a few hours before the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Following that the members of the Gitana Team had to wait several days before the mild weather returned to the tip of Brittany, enabling them to tow the platform back to its port of registry in La Trinité-sur-Mer with its mast unstepped. Since then the team has been attending to the giant’s every need as she thoroughly deserved a complete check-up after her solo Atlantic crossing.

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