The Douro isn’t a long, calm river or a bed of roses
For the second day of the Porto Grand Prix, the promised breeze anticipated by the crew of the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild failed to show; or at least not with the expected intensity. Despite two race victories and a total of five podium finishes out of the ten races contested yesterday, Edmond de Rothschild Group had the kind of day its best to put behind you. Bringing up the rear of the sixteenth and penultimate race of the day following two penalties, Pierre Pennec and his crew were forced to retire in the final confrontation after coming to a crashing halt on the rocks bordering the race zone.

Though the weather forecast promised a solid thermal breeze to fill the sails and lift the hulls, the eight crews competing in Porto had to contend with a moderate wind, increasing from 5 to 9 knots over the course of the day. Quite a current accompanied the light conditions, whether it be for the late morning Open Water races or those within the Portuguese city itself in the afternoon. It was during the last of these stadium races, played out just a few boat lengths from the Maria Pia viaduct, that Pierre Pennec and his four crew experienced some disappointment: “We were coming away from a bad race, where the jury had slapped us with two penalties virtually one on top of the other, but the crew were moving on from that and managing to refocus. The race zone is very narrow here and we were overly trusting of the area framing the race zone. We hit a rock close to the public village docks. The majority of the fleet had passed through this zone beforehand without an issue, whilst we were downwind against the current. However, we didn’t anticipate the tidal range sufficiently well, which is a mistake. The incident caused very serious damage to the port daggerboard, which will have to go off to the yard in Lorient for a complete refit. The starboard daggerboard and rudder also suffered in the impact, but the shore crew set to work on that the minute we returned to the dock so that the boat would be operational again as soon as possible. It was a bit of a painful end to the day!” conceded Pierre Pennec.

In this way, the shore crew made up of Sébastien Stephant, Hubert Corfmat and Cyril Ducrot proceeded with lifting the French catamaran out of the water so as the necessary repairs could be completed as soon as possible and enable Edmond de Rothschild Group to get back on the racetrack with their playmates today. The repairs are certainly superficial, but they were very well done, highlighting, if there were a need, the efficiency of the team’s technicians.

In the standing, The Wave Muscat has consolidated its position and has a comfortable lead over her direct rivals. The error committed yesterday by the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group has enabled the Austrians on Red Bull to move up into second place on the provisional podium. They now have a five-point lead over Pierre Pennec and the men of Gitana Team, who are currently third. The second Omani boat of the circuit also had a cracking day of racing yesterday and their consistent performance, both offshore and in the stadium races meant that Morgan Larson and his team got right back in touch with the leaders. They’re lying in fourth place, tied on points with Gitana Extreme.

In contrast to the first two days of racing, the Extreme Sailing Series fleet won’t be racing this morning. It’s from 1530 UTC that Edmond de Rothschild Group and its adversaries will enter centre stage for three hours of stadium racing on the Douro.

The races will be broadcast live on the Extreme Sailing Series website.

Standing for the Porto Grand Prix after the second day (seventeen races run)
  1. The Wave Muscat – 111 points
  2. Red Bull Sailing Team - 89 points
  3. Edmond de Rothschild Group - 84 points
  4. Oman Air - 84 points
  5. Alinghi - 69 points
  6. GAC Pindar - 65 points
  7. Zoulou - 59 points
  8. SAP Extreme Sailing Team - 50 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)

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