Black Sunday for Edmond de Rothschild Group
There are some days which it would be better to forget and the first six races contested this Sunday in the port of Boston were certainly in that category. Pierre Pennec and his three crew linked together a series of poor races – with the exception of the last race of the day which they won – resulting in them being heavily penalised in this evening’s provisional ranking for the American event. Edmond de Rothschild Group has lost its fourth place to the benefit of the Italians on Luna Rossa and now finds itself under threat from their closest pursuers. Today was hard for team spirits but you wouldn’t know these four sailors very well if you were to think for one instance that they’d give up. Like the seventh and ultimate race, tomorrow, the men from Gitana Team will be giving their all to reverse the trend and regain the form we know they’re capable of.

Today saw a complete change of setting in Boston: the glorious sunshine which marked the first three days of competition gave way, this Sunday, to overcast skies, which turned stormy at the end of the afternoon. The wind, coming from the city and its numerous skyscrapers, once against tested the crews’ nerve, and notably those of Pierre Pennec and his men: “Our results testify to the fact that we found it hard to read the race zone correctly today. It was an offshore wind and hence very shifty given the configuration of the race site. In concrete terms, the favourable side of the race zone changed with every race and very often during the races themselves. We weren’t very inspired as regards the right tacks today”, admitted Christophe Espagnon, the mainsail trimmer.

Not very inspired at the starts and not managing to get into the right rhythm today, with the exception of the last race which they won, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group experienced a difficult day, as the skipper explained without waffling: “I didn’t manage to find the right wind angles to get the boat powered up at the starts, hence our departure in the second wave of boats, which meant that we weren’t able to rank well. We were also mistaken in our assessment of the crosses or the choice of tacks.”
Every evening, following racing, the crew gets together for a debriefing. It is an essential open discussion to help the team make progress and analyse the mistakes made during the day, as Christophe Espagnon highlighted: “Before dinner, we’re going to review today’s races. After days like these, we prefer to turn the page and cast our minds to the next day, but it’s very important to analyse our mistakes in order to remedy them. Indeed, beyond poor understanding of the race zone, we had some bad positioning which led to penalties and you have to take all that out of the equation. We’re lucky to be a united crew, who know each other very well and these debriefings are also key to retaining that cohesion, which is one of our team’s strengths.”

In the ranking, the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has conceded her fourth place to Luna Rossa and has lost ground on the top trio, which are still made up of Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand and The Wave Muscat, in that order. This evening however, Pierre Pennec and his crew can also feel their two closest pursuers breathing down their necks as they have closed on Edmond de Rothschild Group’s stern. For the final day of the Boston Grand Prix, the day which will designate the winner, the four sailors no longer have a choice. They’ll have to really go for it so as not to conclude this event with any regrets: “We’re really going to have to pull out all the stops and get away as we have nothing to lose and everything to win!” concluded Pierre Pennec.

Tomorrow, whilst the United States is celebrating their Independence Day, the equivalent of France’s Bastille Day celebrations, the Extreme Sailing Series fleet will be contesting the final races in the Boston Grand Prix. Get together, shortly after 1400 hours local time, or early evening in Europe, to follow the final confrontations in the American stage of the 2011 circuit. The wind conditions are scheduled to be very light.

Ranking in the Boston Grand Prix on Sunday 3 July (after 30 races)
1. Artemis Racing (SWE)  –   239 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ) – 225 points
3. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – 222 points
4. Luna Rossa (ITA) – 210 points
5. Edmond de Rothschild Groupe (FRA) –  200 points
6. Alinghi  (SUI) –   199 points
7. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – 195,2 points
8. Niceforyou (ITA) – 133 points
9. Oman Air (OMA) – 149points
10. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) – 116 points
11. Team Extreme (EUR) – 94 points

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