Nice treats the French crew on Edmond de Rothschild Group to a win
The Nice Grand Prix, an event synonymous with light airs, rounded off this evening with victory going to the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group. Pierre Pennec and his three crew controlled the seventh act of the Extreme Sailing Series 2011 to perfection. Putting up a very consistent performance throughout the first four days of the competition, the men of Gitana Team managed to leave Terry Hutchinsons team in their wake despite an incredible comeback by the American in the closing races. With this second victory, the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has snatched back the reins of the championship, a leadership which had been left in the hands of the New Zealand team at the end of the Boston Grand Prix. After this seventh act, Pierre Pennec and his three crew are ahead of the Italians on Luna Rossa, whilst Dean Barker and his Kiwis complete the provisional podium for the 2011 circuit.

A second win! Seven months after their victory in the Oman Grand Prix, which opened the 2011 season of the Extreme Sailing Series, Pierre Pennec, Hervé Cunningham, Thierry Fouchier and Christophe Espagnon have treated Edmond de Rothschild Group to another success, and on the only French leg of the circuit to boot: “It’s really a great pleasure to win here in Nice in front of a French crowd, which has been behind us everyday”, said a smiling Hervé Cunningham on the podium.

Once again, the Extreme Sailing Series fleet managed to keep up the suspense all the way to the finish. When the sixth and final race of the day was run, the equation was a simple one: with a three point lead over Terry Hutchinson and his men, Pierre Pennec’s crew knew that they had two possibilities: to either finish ahead of Artemis or, at worst, just astern of the Swedish one-design. Indeed, tradition has it that in the last race of the Grand Prix it’s double-point scoring. However, though the basic premise is clear, the race itself was to see considerable jockeying for position since the two boats battling for victory on the waters of Nice switched position with every mark rounding. Pierre Pennec reviewed this breathtaking final: “At the start we were neck and neck with Artemis. Terry Hutchinson proved to be overly greedy and crossed the line early. At that point the atmosphere was great as things looked good for us, but we remained focused. However, pretty quickly we ourselves became disenchanted as one boat, which wasn’t a direct rival of ours, decided to come and hound us and caused us to lose a lot of ground. A team at the bottom of the overall ranking that bothers a frontrunner… it’s always a shame when that happens! After that, on rounding the leeward mark, we deemed ourselves to have been fouled by Red Bull, but the jury decided otherwise and we were awarded a penalty. At that point, we were behind Artemis so the crew mustered its efforts again and drew on the cohesion which unites us because we were really keen to remain in with a chance until the last moment. On the line, we had the Swedes in our sights and we crossed the latter just ten centimetres astern of them. The last races are always incredibly intense as the principle of the double points means you can’t afford to make a single mistake, especially when you’re so close in terms of points. The crew exploded with elation once we crossed the line. This victory is a great revenge match for us and it puts us back at the top of the annual standing… what more could you ask for?”

For Cyril Dardashti, the general manager of Gitana Team, who followed the racing from shore, the emotion was palpable: “This last day has really set my nerves on edge! This morning, three races were run in fresh winds of around ten knots. In these conditions the crew was incredible, winning two races and finishing second in the third race. However, this afternoon the winds were erratic which made the sailing difficult. We had to be patient until the last race of the day and the tension was unbearable. In this race, the crew copped a penalty and at that point victory seemed to be getting away from us. However, their mindsets were very strong and they were able to dig deep to cross the line just behind Artemis and thus win the Grand Prix by one point! I’m extremely proud of this crew. Pierre and his men experienced a few moments of doubt after the Cowes Grand Prix but they recovered in Trapani and bounced back in the finest way possible today. They’ve regained all the confidence and calm they’ll need to tackle the last two meetings of the 2011 championship.”

At this Nice leg, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group was able to rely on the expertise of a new element to the team. Indeed, Philippe Mourniac, a highly skilled competitor with an Olympic Tornado background, supported Pierre Pennec and his crew as coach during the five days of competition. This collaboration has borne fruit and this evening the four sailors were unanimous about the importance of having this outside observer at the event. “Philippe Mourniac has been a real bonus. He’s provided us with a vast amount of information on a strategic level and also as regards the communication aboard the boat. He’s a well-rounded top-level athlete who has a huge capacity for analysis. His angle on things has been precious and he is certainly one of the protagonists in this victory” explained Pierre Pennec. The conclusions were just as laudatory from bowman Hervé Cunningham: “The four of us put our heads together to find someone to give us a new outlook and enable us to find solutions and improve on mistakes which were becoming a recurring theme. Philippe filled his role to perfection. His presence enabled us to make progress and he is one of the keys to our success in this Nice Grand Prix.”

The men of Edmond de Rothschild Group will only have a few days to savour their fantastic victory on the waters of the South of France. Indeed, in a week’s time, they’ll be heading to Andalusia to contest the eighth act of the 2011 season. The latter will take place in Almeria from 12 to 16 October 2011.

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group

Pierre Pennec - Skipper / helmsman
Christophe Espagnon – mainsail trimmer
Thierry Fouchier – headsail trimmer
Hervé Cunningham - bowman

Ranking for the Nice Grand Prix (after 29 races)

  1. Edmond de Rothschild Group (FRA) - 229 points
  2. Artemis Racing (SWE) - 228 points
  3. Alinghi (SUI) – 215,5 points
  4. Luna Rossa (ITA) – 209 points
  5. Oman Air (OMA) - 185 points
  6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – 179.5 points
  7. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ) - 163 points
  8. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) - 160 points
  9. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) - 156 points
  10. Team Extreme (EUR) - 119 points
  11. Niceforyou (ITA) - 118 points

Ranking for the Extreme Sailing Series 2011 after seven Grands Prix

  1. Edmond de Rothschild Group (FRA) – 61 points
  2. Luna Rossa (ITA) – 59 points
  3. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ) – 54 points
  4. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – 52 points
  5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – 49 points
  6. Artemis Racing (SWE) – 48 points
  7. Alinghi (SUI) – 48 points
  8. Oman Air (OMA) – 38 points
  9. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) – 21 points
  10. Niceforyou (ITA) – 16 points
  11. Team Extreme (EUR) – 15 points
The content that appears on this website is protected by copyright.
Any reproduction or representation is strictly forbidden.

For further information, please refer to the legal notice section.
Enter at least 4 characters...