Act 4 opens in Porto
After a break of just three weeks, the Extreme Sailing Series fleet is back in the competitive arena. It’s in Porto, a first for the circuit, that the 40-foot one-design catamarans will be doing battle from today, for the fourth act of the 2012 season. The singularity of this racing site has led the organisers to adopt a slightly different programme to usual, with the races split into two phases of sailing. In this way, Pierre Pennec and his crew on Edmond de Rothschild Group are preparing for some long days of racing, which will begin offshore in the morning and conclude in the evening on the waters of the River Douro, on one of the narrowest race zones the Extreme Sailing Series has navigated to date.

Second in the Istanbul Grand Prix on 10 June 2012, the men on the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild fully intend to continue on their roll for the fourth meeting of the season: “Porto will be an intermediate Grand Prix. We’ll be midway through the season at the end of this event and it’s important to leave Portugal with a good result. We mustn’t let The Wave Muscat steal a march on us. During the previous meeting, the crew managed to find the keys to performance it’s been lacking since the start of the year and the results clearly reflected that. For my part, I’m just back from racing M2s on Lake Geneva, which enabled me to keep up my feel for helming and not let three weeks go by without sailing. It was a good practice session, which gives you confidence,” admitted Pierre Pennec.

As announced, Arnaud Psarofaghis is joining the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group in Porto. Having come straight from Newport on Tuesday, where he was competing in one of the stages of the AC World Series, the young Swiss sailor has only had a short amount of time to get his bearings, as much with the craft, which he’s just discovering now, as the unfamiliar crew. However, his many qualities as a sailor, which are what drove Pierre Pennec to choose him, should enable him to quickly be on the pace: “It’s with a great deal of pleasure that we welcome Arnaud to our midst. He’s enjoyed a very good start to the season on the D35, where his crew have reigned supreme, as well as on the AC45, and he’s got just the dynamic we’re after. We’ve been able to coordinate ourselves over the past two afternoons of training and I don’t have any concerns.”

This Thursday, the competition will kick off with the traditional Open Water races at the entrance to the River Douro. The warning signal for the former, should sound shortly after 1100 hours local time* for the start of two to three hours of races. Following that, over the next three days, the eight competing crews will split their days into two high points. The offshore Open Water courses in the morning and the racing in the nautical stadium in the second half of the afternoon, weather permitting. The upshot of this is a busy programme with some long days in prospect, as the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group conceded:already the three-hour days of racing are long on the Extreme circuit, as the races follow on one after the other and there’s a lot of tension. In Porto, we have to race double the amount of time! As such we’re anticipating a tough Grand Prix: very physical for my crew, especially as the tendency is for medium to strong wind, and it’ll be nerve-racking for me at the helm.”

Indeed Porto is a site, which is renowned for its feisty thermal breezes and for now the weather bulletins provided by the organisers are confirming the tendency for medium to strong wind throughout the four days of competition. Such conditions normally really suit Pierre Pennec and his four crew.

Aboard the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, the watchword is simple: “We need to continue making progress from one race to the next and make the most of the virtuous circle we initiated in Istanbul!” concluded Pierre Pennec.

* In the summertime, Porto operates on GMT +1.

Provisional standing for the Extreme Sailing Series after three Grands Prix
  1. The Wave Muscat – 29 points
  2. 2. Edmond de Rothschild Group - 25 points
  3. Red Bull Sailing Team – 24 points
  4. Oman Air – 23 points
  5. GAC Pindar - 18 points
  6. Zoulou - 13 points
  7. SAP Extreme Sailing Team - 13 points
  8. Alinghi – 11 points

The crew on Edmond de Rothschild Group

Pierre Pennec (Skipper / Helmsman),

Arnaud Psarofaghis (mainsail trimmer),

Hervé Cunningham (headsail trimmer),

Bernard Labro (bowman)

Romain Petit (trimmer)

Benoit Briand (coach)

The Extreme Edmond de Rothschild Group supports the Joves Navegants foundation

The family of Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has always had a passion for nautical activities, a commitment embodied today by the Gitana Team. As such the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations have quite naturally been sensitive to the mission of Joves Navegants and touched by the profound collective commitment to helping these young people in precarious situations.

Inspired by the methods of British Sailing associations, which help young people in difficulty, some enthusiastic sailors who have settled in Palma, Mallorca, decided to create Joves Navegants. Aware of the complicated situation for certain youngsters on the island in serious economic and family difficulties, they have chosen to share their passion. The foundation organises several types of trips out to sea on the yacht, Galaxie. These days out involve journeys of discovery, awareness campaigns for sustainable development, participation in races and training aids to enable certain youngsters to envisage sailing as a professional career.

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