Changes at every stage
For the second day of competition in the Almeria Grand Prix, the wind proved to be just as timid. Hesitating between four and five knots over the course of the afternoon, the decidedly capricious air flow also revealed itself to be shifty, favouring different sides of the race zone in turn. Despite these puzzling conditions, Ben Ainslies crew have managed to hold onto the top spot they enjoyed yesterday, though they have less of an advantage this evening. Astern of them, the New Zealanders led by Adam Beashel, have made the most of todays five races to steal the second step of the provisional podium from Pierre Pennec and his men. However, the sailors from Gitana Team remain at the front of the pack, right in on the action, since they round off the top trio.

Sailing within a fleet of identical boats along relatively short courses, good starts, as we say over and over, are absolutely key if you’re to finish a race at the top of the ranking. Aboard Edmond de Rothschild Group, this notoriously tricky exercise, particularly in light airs, hit a few snags on this second day of the Almeria Grand Prix: “We got off to some good starts in terms of our positioning but we weren’t necessarily up to the desired speed. All of a sudden we found that we were often losing ground on the leeward boats and we were less in control on our first beat”, explained Thierry Fouchier, the headsail trimmer. Pierre Pennec backed up this viewpoint: “Conditions were certainly complicated but most importantly I got caught out as regards which angle to adopt at the starts so as to power up the boat as best I could. We were in the right place on the line but our lack of speed caused us to drop back into the chasing pack. I really have to work on that element.”

Despite these adjustments, which are necessary in order to make progress, this Thursday remains a positive day for the men of Gitana Team. Indeed, this was a point Philippe Mourniac, sports coach to the four sailors, stressed on his return to the dock:During the past two days of racing, the crew has managed to round things off by getting to the front of the pack. As such, mathematically, the results are positive but that’s further backed up by the fact that the conditions encountered over these two days haven’t really been easy. Here, and given what I’ve witnessed so far, whatever the crew’s potential at the start, you can still end up bringing up the rear. Nobody is safe and that was bore true on several occasions today. Edmond de Rothschild Group is a strong crew mentally and they are completely in tune with each other. In the tough times, the foursome is unified, facing up to any obstacles calmly. It’s one of the keys to their success.”

It was necessary to snap up any opportunities that came your way today on the Andalusian racecourse. In fact, as we can witness in this evening’s results table, a lot of cards were dealt out to the eleven one-designs today, without exception, and each hand contained both potential winners and losers… This was particularly true of Max Sirena’s men, winners of the fourth race and then DNF during the final race of the day.

With their nerves frayed by the light airs dictating the current racing, the sailors are making no secret of their desire to see the weather forecasts pan out for tomorrow. Indeed a change of weather system synonymous with the arrival of a fine breeze is announced. “My crew is fairly at ease in breezy conditions and we wouldn’t say no to the few additional knots the grib files are promising us… However, we are aware that more boisterous conditions will lead to quite a lot of stress given the cramped race zone and that we’ll have to focus on avoiding collisions at all costs. In the breeze, you have to play it humble and not get too greedy, otherwise we’ll soon get our fingers burned”, concluded the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group.

Tomorrow, the start of racing is scheduled for 1500 hours.

Standing for the Almeria Grand Prix after the 2nd day

  1. Oman Air (OMA) – 72 points
  2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ) – 69 points
  3. Edmond de Rothschild Group (FRA) - 64 points
  4. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) - 60 points
  5. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) – 55 points
  6. Luna Rossa (ITA) – 54 points
  7. Alinghi (SUI) – 52 points
  8. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – 48 points
  9. Niceforyou (ITA) – 41 points
  10. Team Extreme (EUR) – 40 points
  11. Team Tilt (SUI) - 32 points

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