City Races, day 1: Edmond de Rothschild Group in the match
Kick-off for the Cascais City Races took place this Friday afternoon. In the medium breeze, the MOD 70 fleet competed in three classic races close to the marina. At the end of today’s races, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is positioned on the second step of the podium, tied on points with Spindrift Racing. Musandam Oman Sail’s consistency was rewarded and tonight they are leading the provisional standing. The results of these initial confrontations confirm the trend observed during racing in Dublin: the standard is becoming increasingly similar and there is very little separating the five competing teams. As such the game is wide open for the total of three days of Portuguese competition.

With blazing sunshine and a light breeze, conditions were perfect this Friday for the opening of play in the Cascais City Races. The programme for this first day of competition was due to take Edmond de Rothschild Group and its adversaries as far as Lisbon, some twelve miles or so away, for a return sprint split into two races. Ultimately though, given the very light winds brushing the Tagus River, the Race Committee opted to limit the playing field to the bay of Cascais for three City Races.

“We’re having a cracking first day! There are a lot of positives to take from the three races contested, particularly the start phases, where we were able to position ourselves where we wanted to be. We noticed again today that the starts in these City Races are essential. The only slight regret came in the second race, where we made a tactical error, which saw us slip down to fourth. It’s a shame but it’s all part and parcel of the learning process. The switch from offshore to inshore racing is never easy, but the crew is really in on the action and adapts. In terms of the weather conditions, we had between 8 and 10 knots of breeze on what proved to be a relatively simple to read race zone. Let’s hope the wind will be similar tomorrow, because it’s certainly nicer for our boats, which move well in this wind strength,” explained Sébastien Josse on his return to shore.

Race by race review of the today’s competition

Race 1

It was shortly after 1400 hours* when the five MOD 70s set off on the first of today’s races. The authors of an excellent start to leeward of the fleet, Sébastien Josse and his men managed to combine positioning and timing and gained the edge on their rivals from the outset. As the fleet made towards the entrance to the Tagus River, with Edmond de Rothschild Group leading the way, the Race Committee announced a change of course. Wind conditions weren’t playing ball in the river and the trimarans had to head back to Cascais instead, where the finish of Race 1 would be decided. The established hierarchy didn’t alter and Edmond de Rothschild Group secured its first Portuguese win.

Standing for Race 1: 1. Edmond de Rothschild Group – 12 points, 2. Spindrift Racing – 11 points, 3. Musandam – Oman Sail – 10 points, 4. Race for Water – 9 points, 5. Foncia – 8 points

Race 2

Despite starting off in the right group, Sébastien Josse’s men made a strategic error in the first tack, which guided them towards the leeward gate. Third at that point, they were on the tail of Musandam – Oman Sail, which opted to make towards the coast amidst the cargo ships. Meantime Race for Water and Spindrift Racing chose to continue on a more offshore option. The standing in this second race proved that the latter choice was the winner, as they bagged first and second place. With the die already being cast by then, Edmond de Rothschild Group crossed the finish line in fourth position behind Oman Sail and ahead of Foncia.

Standing for Race 2: 1.Race for Water – 12 points, 2. Spindrift Racing – 11 points, 3. Musandam – Oman Sail – 10 points, 4. Edmond de Rothschild Group – 9 points, 5. Foncia – 8 points

Race 3

In this final race of the day, Edmond de Rothschild Group, Spindrift Racing and Race for Water were more aggressive on the line. Sébastien Josse and his men managed to nicely position themselves to leeward of their two adversaries. In the final seconds before the start, Stève Ravussin committed an error whilst Yann Guichard and his men, overeager and hence early over the line, suffered the penalty of an individual recall. Further back, Foncia and Oman Sail snapped up this opportunity to lead the initial sprint at the pin end of the line. In the event of a boat jumping the gun, the rules in the European Tour dictate that the boat in question doesn’t return to the start and re-cross the line, instead it must wait and then resume racing so it is at the back of the fleet at the first course mark. In this way, Spindrift Racing had to wait for Race for Water to complete their penalty (the Swiss trimaran performed a 360° turn for its error prior to the start) before powering up in the wake of the top trio. Ahead of them the other positions were taken and despite a variety of tack choices and a few attempts to redress the balance, Musandam – Oman Sail crossed the finish line in first place, followed by Foncia and Edmond de Rothschild Group.

Standing for Race 3: 1.Musandam – Oman Sail – 12 points, 2. Foncia– 11 points, 3.Edmond de Rothschild Group – 10 points, 4. Spindrift Racing – 9 points, 5. Race for Water – 8 points

Tomorrow, the five crews in the European Tour must be back on the Portuguese race zone from 1300 hours* where the first start is scheduled to kick off at 1400 hours*. The weather conditions observed today should be similar tomorrow, with a breeze oscillating between 8 and 10 knots.

* local time = UTC + 1 hour

Standing for the Cascais City Races (after three races)
  1. Musandam – Oman Sail – 32 points
  2. Edmond de Rothschild Group - 31 points
  3. Spindrift Racing – 31 points
  4. Race for Water - 29 points
  5. Foncia - 27 points

The crew of the MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group

Sébastien Josse (Skipper)

David Boileau, Florent Chastel, Cyril Dardashti, Olivier Douillard, Christophe Espagnon, Antoine Koch, Thomas Rouxel

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