Pierre Pennec and his crew have yet to have their final say
The breeze was still dictating play this Thursday on the Isle of Wight. However, in contrast to yesterday, where the Extreme Sailing Series fleet had to stay dockside, the race committee made the most of the more manageable conditions and a better angled wind over the nautical stadium of Egypt Point, to launch no less than eight races (four per group). Pierre Pennec and his men came out fighting today, winning three of the four races contested in their pool. This result enabled them to edge closer to the provisional podium prior to the final day of competition in this Cowes Grand Prix. Once again the suspense is set to last until the final verdict comes in.

It’s on the water that the battle is fought… After a day on shore due to the cancellation of racing on the 5th day, Pierre Pennec and his crew didn’t disguise their impatience to get going and leave the jury’s questions of recent days behind them. Later in the day this eagerness quickly turned into points on the race zone at Egypt Point as Edmond de Rothschild Group powered down the course leaving its adversaries in its wake during the first three races. Solely its fifth place in the fourth and final race of their group mitigated this virtually perfect score: “We managed to secure three very good starts on port tack (tricky starts as Gitana Extreme didn’t then have priority over the boats coming in on starboard tack, but they pay off when they’re carried out well), which enabled us to win three of the four races in our group. We’d been champing at the bit for the past 24 hours and it was good to go sailing and express ourselves on the water!” admitted Pierre Pennec. “The committee was very careful and delayed its decision to send us out onto the water until the wind eased, but it was a very good decision as we had perfect conditions to race in”. Indeed at 1630 hours, the waters of the Solent took on a whole new hospitable tone: flat seas and a wind of around twenty knots, losing its intensity slightly with each race.

Still fourth in the Cowes Grand Prix with a day until the event concludes, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group isn’t sparing any effort in making up its deficit in relation to its adversaries. However the group racing enabled them to rack up fewer points than in the fleet racing, as bowman Hervé Cunningham explained: “The more we sail the better off we are as we’re having to play catch up in the ranking… Unfortunately, in this type of configuration, with a fleet split in two due to conditions being too windy, a lot of energy is used up for a meagre amount of points at the end of the day. Tomorrow, I hope that the wind won’t be as strong so we can race the maximum number of races and in fleet format if possible. The crew is very united and extremely motivated to round off this Cowes Grand Prix in style. After our setbacks, the aim is to score ourselves a podium place and if we manage that it’ll be an excellent result, especially as that will enable us to take back the lead in the circuit’s overall ranking.” Pierre Pennec backed up this sentiment: “Our collision with Artemis complicated things somewhat and caused us to lose a lot of ground on our adversaries. Despite all that, the minute we were on the water, we were in on the action. The team’s general mindset is that we’re on the attack and a lot could still happen tomorrow, especially if we have fleet racing.”Such a statement perfectly sums up the crew’s gritty determination to leave the Isle of Wight with no regrets.

Tomorrow, the fifth act of the Extreme Sailing Series will deliver its verdict. And although The Wave Muscat, still leading the way this evening, seems to have a slight edge over its rivals, the die is far from cast. If the initial schedule remains unchanged then racing will begin shortly after 1500 hours GMT).


Ranking for the Cowes Grand Prix after the 6th day

  1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – 138 points
  2. Luna Rossa (ITA) – 128 points
  3. Alinghi (SUI) – 117 points
  4. Edmond de Rothschild Group (FRA) – 111 points
  5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – 104 points
  6. Oman Air (OMA) - 101 points
  7. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) – 96 points
  8. Niceforyou (ITA) - 81 points
  9. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ) – 73 points
  10. Aberdeen Asset Management (UK) - 69 points
  11. Team Extreme (EUR) - 51 points
  12. Artemis Racing (SWE) - 23 points

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