After the rollercoaster ride, a game of Russian roulette
Edmond de Rothschild Group ended the day as it began, with a race victory. Throughout today’s races, Pierre Pennec and his men focused their energies on getting some good starts. However, this is easier said than done when the race zone is being swept by some violent gusts. The game plan in Cardiff today consisted of playing with the light breezes. Impossible to predict their strength and position, they are hard to catch and the sailors of Gitana Team felt that they were wrapped up in a game of Russian roulette at times.

Pierre Pennec and his men ended yesterday with a fine first place and they looked to be mirroring that performance in the first race today when they secured the maximum nine points. However, in the second race, the start lottery was already in full swing, as trimmer on the Extreme 40 Edmond de Rothschild Group, Romain Petit, explains: “We got off to a good start with a fine win in the first race. Then in the following races, on the same course albeit a bit long, the start was really crucial as it was hard to overtake after that. We were compulsory tacks, which means that if we weren’t up in the leading group at the first mark, for those behind it was really difficult to get back into the thick of the action and to pull off some tactical moves to get past our rivals.”

The committee altered the course by shortening it and bringing it closer to the back of the bay, right in front of the Welsh spectators, who were out in force this Saturday to see the spectacle presented by the Extreme Sailing Series. “After the change of course, we were still struggling with the starts but as soon as we set off in front or in the middle of the pack, we know that we don’t have any worries in terms of the manoeuvres and the way we operate aboard. Everything flows well, better even than some crews and that’s a real positive. There’s always a good atmosphere aboard and it’s rare for things to get heated. We know what we need to correct and that’s the short start phases,” admits Romain Petit.

However, the positioning of the course at the back of the bay also transformed the racing into a game of Russian roulette: “Either you hit a puff of breeze and you’re on your way, or you don’t hit it and you finish last,” sums up Pierre Pennec. Once the course is shortened and brought closer to the middle of the bay, the fleet is more condensed and each competitor has to battle to keep their place: “The shorter tacks call for faster linking between manœuvres, but everything worked perfectly aboard. Once again, when we get off to a good start, we fully defend our place and hold rank,” concluded the skipper of skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group.

This evening, the boat fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is thirteen points shy of the podium. Following a controversial start in the sixth race of the day, the crew has lodged a protest. It will be judged tomorrow morning. If Pierre Pennec and his men get redress, the points allotted to Edmond de Rothschild Group may change.

Tomorrow will be the last day of racing in Cardiff. Racing will commence at 1400 hours local time. The men of Gitana Team are determined to give it their best shot to reach their goal of a podium finish, as bowman Christophe André reveals: “We’re going to working flat out for the podium tomorrow.”

Today’s results for Edmond de Rothschild Group

1st / 9th / 8th / 2nd / 7th / 9th / 5th / 1st

Standing for the Cardiff Grand Prix after the third day (twenty-four races run)
  1. The Wave Muscat– 145 points
  2. Oman Air - 140 points
  3. GAC Pindar – 134 points
  4. Red Bull Sailing Team - 133 points
  5. Alinghi – 122 points
  6. 6. Edmond de Rothschild Group - 121 points
  7. SAP Extreme Sailing Team – 121 points
  8. Team Wales – 82 points
  9. Zoulou - 81 points

The crew of the Extreme Edmond de Rothschild Group

Pierre Pennec (Skipper / Helmsman),

Arnaud Psarofaghis (trimmer and traveller),

Romain Motteau (headsail trimmer),

Christophe André (Bowman),

Romain Petit (trimmer),

Alexandre Guyader (coach)

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