Edmond de Rothschild Group scores its third consecutive podium
Once again, we had to wait till the very last minute for the Extreme Sailing Series to deliver its final verdict, the suspense stretching across the entire race zone in Istanbul. Three Grands prix, three podiums… Edmond de Rothschild Group is the only team on the circuit to pull off such a performance to date. The third place scored by the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild in Istanbul backs up the team’s pole position in the championship. At the end of this Act 3, they’re ahead of the New Zealand crew on Emirates Team New Zealand and that of Artemis, respectively earning a second and first place in Turkey tonight.

During the five days of racing in Istanbul, the race committee launched forty-three races, which is a previously unequalled record in the Extreme Sailing Series: “this third Grand Prix of the season was really very intense. Sailing in forty-three races means that we had to take the start of as many races, with a great deal of pressure on our shoulders during these phases as they’re always crucial. Your heart is pounding throughout the day and despite all that tension you have to remain focused, perform well and respond quickly. These Grands Prix will stay with me for a long time in my life as a racer. As regards intensity, it’s nothing like other events. Here, in a single day, we very often sail more races than in a week of racing in other series!” explained Pierre Pennec, before once again praising the work done by his crew, as ever: “I’m repeating myself but I really am a lucky helmsman.I can constantly count on my crew. They’re as physical as they are precise with the trimming and they’re efficient in the manœuvres. I’m really lucky to be heading such a crew. I feel a real sense of pride.”

With a third consecutive podium, the men of Edmond de Rothschild Group round off their week in Turkey brilliantly, and even hang onto the top of the Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard for 2011: “Our main aim is to be consistent for the whole season so as to win the annual title. Naturally we’d really like to win every event, as we prefer to be on the highest step of the podium, but that mustn’t make us lose sight of our outright goal. By snatching this third place in Istanbul we’ve fully fulfilled our mission!” says the delighted skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group.

Though they’re technically rookies on the circuit, Artemis and Emirates Team New Zealand are topping the bill and are hot on the heels of the men from Gitana Team in the championship ranking. This certainly comes as no surprise to Hervé Cunningham, the team’s bowman, who is very familiar with the Anglo-Saxon circuits: “These two crews are preparing for the next America’s Cup. That means they’re sailing virtually non-stop throughout the year, whether it’s here or on other craft. They may be ‘rookies’ on the Extreme circuit but that’s very far from the case in the grand scheme of things.”

In a little over a month, the Extreme Sailing Series fleet will find themselves on the other side of the Atlantic in Boston. The fourth act of the season will be held there from 30 June to 4 July. “We’re tackling our third year on the circuit and that’s why our progress on the water is certainly less impressive than some of our rivals. However, after each Grand Prix the crew is gaining in confidence and control, which is extremely positive. We still have some work to do, and that’s a good thing”, concluded Hervé Cunningham.


Ranking for the Istanbul Grand Prix (after 43 races)

  1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 306 points
  2. Artemis Racing – 307 points
  3. Edmond de Rothschild Group – 296 points
  4. The Wave, Muscat – 274 points
  5. Luna Rossa   272 points
  6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing – 254 points
  7. Alinghi – 245 points
  8. Oman Air – 245 points
  9. Team GAC Pindar – 237 points
  10. Team Extreme – 188 points
  11. Niceforyou – 212 points


Ranking in the Extreme Sailing Series 2011 after three Grands Prix

  1. Edmond de Rothschild Group (FRA) – 29 points
  2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ) – 28 points
  3. Artemis Racing (SWE) – 27 points
  4. Luna Rossa (ITA) – 25 points
  5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – 23 points
  6. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – 18 points
  7. Alinghi (SUI) – 18 points
  8. Oman Air (OMA) – 11 points
  9. Team Extreme (EUR) – 8 points
  10. Niceforyou (ITA) – 6 points
  11. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) – 5 points


A look back at the first four days of the Istanbul Grand Prix

Wednesday 24 May: the tone is set
Istanbul plays host to the Extreme Sailing Series for the first time. However, the eleven competing crews get straight down to business without a single observation round on this Turkish race zone, which they are only just discovering. From the very first races, the tone is set… This third Grand Prix of the season will be very hotly disputed, a point that is reflected in the very few points between the top six boats after the seven races run the first day. Terry Hutchinson enjoys a winning comeback at the helm of Artemis and moves into the lead on the provisional leaderboard.
Ranking: 1. Artemis Racing – 52 points / 2. Luna Rossa – 51 points / 3. Alinghi – 47 points … 6. Edmond de Rothschild Group – 44 points

Thursday 25 May: On the attack
Sailing at the heart of a city like Istanbul is as much a privilege as a brain-teaser giving the complexity of the race zone when sailing an Extreme 40. Nevertheless, Edmond de Rothschild Group confidently continues to make progress and enjoys very positive results from this second day of the competition. Authors of two victories out of the seven races contested, Pierre and his men move up to fourth place and get significantly closer to the podium.
Ranking: 1. Artemis Racing –   116 points / 2. Alinghi –   97 points / 3. Emirates Team New Zealand – 97 points / 4.Edmond de Rothschild Group –   95 points

Friday 26 May: Edmond de Rothschild end the day at the top of the leaderboard
Pierre Pennec and his three crew thrill onlookers throughout the afternoon. After the nine races run that day, they move up into the lead in the Istanbul Grand Prix. They owe this top spot to a very consistent performance, the exemplary job done by the whole crew, as well as an unfailing cohesion which enabled them to fight for every point on the water. With two days left to race and just a point separating the top two teams, the die is far from cast but the suspense is set to make the competition all the more thrilling. Of note, during the fourth race of the day, is a serious collision between Alinghi and Team Extreme. The material damage caused by this incident forces the crew of Team Extreme to withdraw from this particular Grand prix.
Ranking: 1. Edmond de Rothschild Group – 171 points / 2. Artemis Racing – 170 points / 3. Emirates Team New Zealand – 163 points

Saturday 27 May: An armchair for five
You need nerves of steel in the Extreme Sailing Series… The day which has just come to an end in Istanbul once again demonstrates that on this circuit nothing is ever set in stone, anything can happen, good and bad. This is particularly true this year with a fleet of such a similar standard. The leader of the provisional ranking yesterday, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group yields its place to the New Zealand team on Emirates Team New Zealand and this evening slips down to fourth place, eleven points shy of Dean Barker’s men. However, there’s still everything to play for given the proximity of the top five. Victory is still within grasp of the sailors in Gitana Team.
Ranking: 1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 228 points / 2. Artemis Racing –   224 points/ 3. The Wave, Muscat – 218 points / 4. Edmond de Rothschild Group – 217 points


The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group

Pierre Pennec – Helmsman, skipper
Christophe Espagnon – Mainsail trimmer, tactics
Thierry Fouchier – Headsail trimmer
Hervé Cunningham - Bowman


The Extreme Edmond de Rothschild Group supports the Joves Navegants foundation

The family of Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has always had a passion for nautical activities, a commitment embodied today by the Gitana Team. As such the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations have quite naturally been sensitive to the mission of Joves Navegants and touched by the profound collective commitment to helping these young people in precarious situations.

Inspired by the methods of British Sailing associations, which help young people in difficulty, some enthusiastic sailors who have settled in Palma, Mallorca, decided to create Joves Navegants. Aware of the complicated situation for certain youngsters on the island in serious economic and family difficulties, they have chosen to share their passion. The foundation organises several types of trips out to sea on the yacht, Galaxie. These days out involve journeys of discovery, awareness campaigns for sustainable development, participation in races and training aids to enable certain youngsters to envisage sailing as a professional career.

The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation will be supporting Joves Navegants in the organisation of trips out to sea during the summer, enabling the necessary technical improvements to be made on the Galaxie and making it possible for a team to take part in the “Ruta de la Sal” race in April.

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