Around Portugal Race: Sébastien Josse and his men stumble
After setting off midway through the afternoon yesterday, the MOD 70 fleet was back in Cascais this Tuesday after a little over twenty-four hours at sea. At the conclusion of the race along the Portuguese coast, which was shortened to 213 nautical miles in the end, Michel Desjoyeaux’ crew pocketed the win and have snatched back the reins of the European Tour to the detriment of Spindrift Racing. For Sébastien Josse and his men, this third so-called offshore leg proved very complicated to negotiate and despite all the energy put in by the six crew, the results weren’t forthcoming. The Edmond de Rothschild Group’s trimaran ranked fifth in this latest race, but has managed to hold onto third place in the provisional overall standing for the event.

The disappointment and fatigue was written all over the faces of the six sailors aboard Edmond de Rothschild Group. Heading offshore in second place, Sébastien Josse’s crew got off to a great start in this third leg. However, the next stage of the race didn’t turn to Gitana Team’s advantage, as the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group explains: “It was a tough leg with the very light, fluky winds that were forecast. We never really came to a complete standstill, but five knots with these boats isn’t exactly great! We were in a good attacking mode as we left the bay of Cascais in second place. Very soon after the start, level with Cabo de Roca, Michel (Desjoyeaux) opted to go and play offshore and the remaining four boats battled it out further inshore. This little move straightaway enabled the former to get an edge. During the beat towards the Berlengas Islands, Race for Water went on the attack inshore and found a little vein of breeze so they too could make good their escape. We had the same idea, but we realised the score a little later than them. That minor separation made a big difference ultimately. In the light airs, there’s certainly an element of risk and luck. We were lacking in this department, but we also identified some issues aboard. Last night we had a speed deficit in relation to those around us. It’s something that essentially comes down to experience in this type of crewed sailing. We need to improve on this aspect of our game. The results are obviously disappointing, but the crew is united and has the ability to dig deep. There are two remaining offshore legs and some City Races in Marseille, so it’s over to us to come up with the goods now.”

In the overall standing for the event, this Around Portugal Race has reshuffled the cards and the race to victory is very much on again. Indeed, thanks to its win in Cascais, Foncia has taken back control of the European Tour’s leaderboard and has a slight lead over second placed Spindrift Racing. The trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has managed to hold onto the third step of the podium, but her pursuers are hot on her heels. A little over halfway into the event, the competition is wide open then and the races around the bay and offshore are likely to be packed with suspense.

Sébastien Josse and his crew will have to quickly absorb the lessons learnt from their latest races and then move on from today’s result to focus on the next offshore leg from Cascais to Marseille. The MOD 70 fleet will set off for the Mediterranean in less than forty-eight hours, on Thursday at 1100 hours if weather conditions on site enable the initial programme to be adhered to.

* local time = UTC + 1 hour

Standing and finish times for the Around Portugal Race (local time)
  1. Foncia, finished on 18 September at 16h07’44’’
  2. Race for Water, finished on 18 September at 16h13’34’’
  3. Spindrift Racing, finished on 18 September at 16h33’56’’
  4. Musandam – Oman Sail, finished on 18 September at 16h42’50’’
  5. Edmond de Rothschild Group, finished on 18 September at 16h53’25’’

Standing in the European Tour (after the Around Portugal Race)
  1. Foncia – 12 + 50 + 3 *+ 10 + 46 + 8 + 3*+ 50 = 182 points
  2. Spindrift Racing – 11 + 46 + 1*+ 12 + 50 + 2* + 11 + 42 = 176 points
  3. Edmond de Rothschild Group – 10 + 42 + 2*+ 11 + 38 + 3* + 10 + 2* + 34 = 152 points
  4. Race for Water – 8 + 38 + 9 + 34 + 1* + 9 + 46 = 145 points
  5. Musandam – Oman Sail – 9 + 34 + 8 + 42 +12 + 38 = 143 points

* corresponds with the points’ bonus awarded to the top three boats at the end of the coastal section contested at the start of each offshore leg.

The crew of the MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group

Offshore: Sébastien Josse (Skipper), Olivier Douillard, Florent Chastel, Christophe Espagnon, Antoine Koch, Thomas Rouxel

The European Tour in five legs

The second event in the Multi One Championship, after the Krys Ocean Race (a transatlantic race between New York and Brest contested in early July), the European Tour comprises five legs: the five competing crews set off from Kiel bound for Dun Laoghaire (Dublin) on 2 September, prior to setting sail for Cascais (Portugal) and Marseille (France), not to mention Genoa (Italy), where the finish will be decided on 2 October 2012 and with it the name of the winner of this first edition. In total there are over 5,000 nautical miles to cover in five weeks!

Kiel (Germany)
Kiel City Races: from 31 August to 1 September
Leg 1 – 1,188 miles: Kiel – Dun Laoghaire (Dublin), start Sunday 2 September

Dun Laoghaire (Ireland)
Dublin City Races: from 7 to 8 September
Leg 2 – 1,215 miles: Dun Laoghaire (Dublin) – Cascais, start Sunday 9 September

Cascais (Portugal)
Cascais City Races: from 14 to 16 September

Leg 3 - 213 miles: Cascais – Cascais (Around Portugal Race), start Monday 17 September
Leg 4 – 1,071 miles: Cascais – Marseille, start Thursday 20 September

Marseille (France)
Marseille City Races: from 28 to 29 September
Leg 5 - 672 miles: Marseille – Genoa, start Sunday 30 September

Genoa (Italy)
Finish of leg 5: Tuesday 2 October
Closing race: Wednesday 3 October

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