The Extreme Sailing Series series is drawing to a close
This Saturday 10 December wasn’t a great one for the French team on Edmond de Rothschild Group. Whilst the crew of Luna Rossa put up an impressively consistent performance throughout the afternoon, with a flawless score to boot, the men of Gitana Team struggled to gain the upper hand on the race zone in Singapore. At the end of this fourth and penultimate day of the competition in this Asian leg, there is a tough penance for Pierre Pennec and his three crew. This evening they find themselves in 7th position in the provisional standing and are notably fifty-eight points shy of their adversary for the annual title. Victory for the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild in the 2011 championship would appear to be on very shaky ground.

There was a change of setting this Saturday on the Marina reservoir, where the Extreme Sailing Series fleet are racing. The storms which disrupted racing in previous days, kept their distance from the race zone today. As such, the race committee benefited from an established breeze of around 10 knots to run a total of eleven races, six of which were contested during the second half of the day. These more boisterous wind conditions, with usually really suit the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group, didn’t delight Pierre Pennec and his men this time around. Obviously disappointed by today’s rather lacklustre performance, the skipper of Gitana Extreme still shared with us his sentiments fresh off the boat: “Nothing went right! Once again we got off to some lousy starts. Our adversary, Luna Rossa, is very much at ease in the pre-start phases and is constantly hunting us down and disrupting our strategy. That’s the name of the game but unfortunately we weren’t able to mirror that behaviour today. Our problems certainly come down to the communication onboard and I really have to make progress with that so that the crew can better anticipate my choices. However, we made too many errors during the races. A lack of success and some poor strategic assessments have cost us very dear.”

This evening Luna Rossa is heading the Singapore Grand Prix and has a comfortable lead on the eve of the final round of nautical jousting. With the basic premise not having changed, it is imperative that Edmond de Rothschild Group finish ahead of Max Sirena’s Italian to stand a chance of winning the 2011 championship. However, with a deficit of over fifty points, the four French sailors are really going to have their work cut out for tomorrow. Is it a case of mission impossible? Pierre Pennec gives us his viewpoint: “First place is going to be really very, very hard to bag. We know that a lot could happen as we’re also going to be contesting a great deal of races, but the results don’t just depend on us alone… In any case, we’re going to be pulling out all the stops onboard so that this last day of the year’s racing is an enjoyable one. We’re going to try to sail as we know how so we can finish on a positive note. Added to that, we shouldn’t forget that our pursuers in the overall standing aren’t far behind (Emirates Team New Zealand, Alinghi …) and however things pan out tomorrow, we’ll have to protect the second place, which would be a very fine result in itself.”

As the saying goes, it’s not over till it’s over and in this context, till the last race is run. Indeed, you have to remember in the Extreme Sailing Series, that the last race of the Grand Prix scores double points. However, right now, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group is going to have to pull something akin to a miracle out of the bag.

Rendez-vous tomorrow from ten o’ clock local time on the Singapore Flyer race zone. Just like today, the final day of competition will be run in two phases with races in the morning and then again in the afternoon.

Ranking for the Singapore Grand Prix at the end of the fourth day

  1. Luna Rossa (ITA) – 186 points
  2. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – 151 points
  3. Oman Air (OMA) – 149 points
  4. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ) – 146 points
  5. Alinghi (SUI) – 141 points
  6. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – 140 points
  7. Edmond de Rothschild Group (FRA) – 128 points
  8. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) – 119 points
  9. Team Extreme - the first club™(EUR) – 108 points
  10. Team Tilt (SUI) – 103 points

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group

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

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