Krys Match astern, Almeria ahoy
In early October, the stable created by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild back in 2000 has been successfully combining two leading circuits on its sports programme. On 2 October 2011, Pierre Pennec and his crew took victory in the Nice Grand Prix, the seventh meeting of 2011 for the Extreme Sailing Series circuit, and thus found itself at the top of the championship leaderboard, just two events shy of the end of the competition. A few days later, on 6 October, it was over to Sébastien Josse and his crew to take to the stage in the Krys Match; the inaugural race for the 3-day Multi One Championship, which gathered together the first three MODs and the prototype Gitana 11, on the waters of the Baie de Quiberon. With slack periods not being part of the Gitana Teams vocabulary over the past few weeks, the team is switching back to Extreme 40 mode tomorrow, where the men of Edmond de Rothschild Group will be contesting the Almeria Grand Prix through until Sunday.

Multi One Design: The Krys Match as a trial run

The Krys Match, contested in La Trinité-sur-Mer, Brittany from 6 to 8 October, represented the inaugural exhibition event for the Multi One Championship. The first point-scoring race of the championship – a crewed transatlantic – will set off from New York on 7 July 2012, bound for Brest. In the build-up to this major meeting, the crews of the first three 70 feet one-designs were able to size each other up during some short courses, which are set to form the ‘inshore’ element of the future programme. As the final touches are being applied to its MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group, the Gitana Team were able to join in these festivities as a guest of the organisation team. As such, Sébastien Josse, accompanied by seven crew, took part in the racing aboard the 77-feet prototype trimaran, Gitana 11, which was considerably modified for the last Route du Rhum, but had the advantage of looking very similar to the new Multi One Designs.

After three days of intense racing, the majority of which was contested in breezy conditions, Sébastien Josse reviewed this baptism of fire for us and had clearly draw some lessons from this first confrontation: “In contrast to some of my rivals with a multihull background, this Krys Match represented my first fleet competition at the helm of a trimaran. And although we weren’t exactly racing on the same boat as them, we’ve learnt a lot from the past few days. On a personal level I wondered how incisive I’d be at the starts, as I’m only just discovering what this kind of racing is all about, but I reckon that I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. Gitana 11 didn’t appear in the official standing due to the size difference, but I think that besides this slight edge we had, the crew did an excellent job in terms of cohesion, manœuvres and also the strategy on the race zone. The results are fairly positive, even though we still have a lot of work to do”, explained the skipper of Gitana: “I was keen to see how the MOD70s would handle on the racecourse and we were also anxious to trial the ‘inshore’ formats because it’s all pretty new and unique if we compare it to the era of the Orma Grands Prix. In fact, the courses are shorter and the races last about thirty minutes. This Krys Match fitted nicely into the work schedule we’d drawn up with the Gitana Team at the start of the year. Our participation enabled us to get a taste of part of our future programme. We mustn’t forget that the ‘city races’ won’t make up the bulk of the circuit; the transatlantic crossings and the different legs from one port to the next on the European Tour representing a large part of the championship. However, as regards this inshore element, analysis of the Krys Match is already enabling us to define the areas we need to work on over the winter”, concluded Sébastien Josse, who is more keen than ever to take MOD No.4 in hand.

This much awaited moment is fast approaching now as in exactly fifteen days’ time – Tuesday 25 October – the MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group will be launched in Lorient. The fourth one-design of this new international class, the Gitana trimaran will have a few weeks of trials before definitively teaming up with the rest of the fleet fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild.

The crew of Gitana 11 in the Krys Match

Sébastien Josse (Skipper - helmsman), Christophe Espagnon (tactician), Antoine Koch (navigator), Jean-Baptiste Levaillant (mainsail trimmer), Thomas Rouxel (trimmer), Olivier Douillard / Cyril Dardashti (trimmer), David Boileau (pitman), Florent Chastel (bowman)

Extreme Sailing Series: Edmond de Rothschild Group on Spanish time

The eighth and penultimate Grand Prix of the Extreme Sailing Series season begins tomorrow in Almeria. As such, just ten days after the Nice leg drew to a close, with the men of Edmond de Rothschild Group making a clean sweep of the prizes, the 40-feet one-design catamarans are back in action. Indeed, the Extreme Sailing Series fleet is returning to Andalusia and the port of Almeria for the third year running. However, in 2011, in contrast to previous years, the Spanish waters won’t play host to the end of the circuit.

Renowned for serving up the perfect sailing conditions, the Iberian city may well trip a few boats up though, particularly during the stadium races which are run in the heart of the commercial port. It’s a demanding and disturbed race zone then, which will unquestionably make life difficult for the eleven crews. In order to honour the Spanish national holiday, which is celebrated on 12 October, the organisers are slightly modifying the usual programme. In this way, Pierre Pennec’s men and their rivals will kick-off the Grand Prix with a day of stadium racing, right in front of the local public. Then on Thursday and Friday, the boats will head offshore for some Open Water races, before getting back into the arena in the commercial port for a weekend of racing.

Of note are a few slight changes to the line-up. Indeed the crew of Artemis Racing, with all their time being taken up fine tuning their future boat for the America’s Cup, has withdrawn from the competition. However, the arrival of a new crew within the Extreme Sailing Series will ensure the usual eleven-strong line-up. The Extreme 40 Team Tilt is joining the fleet in Almeria and will be helmed by the Swiss sailor Alex Schneiter, who is better known on the M2 circuit. Finally, the star skipper from Emirates Team New Zealand, Dean Barker, will be replaced by Australian Adam Beashel, as was the case in the Cowes and Trapani Grands Prix.

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group

Pierre Pennec (Skipper / Helmsman), Christophe Espagnon (mainsail trimmer), Thierry Fouchier (headsail trimmer), Hervé Cunningham (bowman)

Standing 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) – 22 points
  10. Niceforyou (ITA) – 16 points
  11. Team Extreme (EUR) – 15 points

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