Marseille, first day of City Races
After a few days rest, which translated as a Breton break for the vast majority of Edmond de Rothschild Group’s crew, the fleet of MOD 70s was back in the nautical arena this Friday. Moored at Roucas Blanc, the one-design trimarans began their day with the first City Race in Marseille’s southern harbour. Next up, Edmond de Rothschild Group and its four rivals performed in a coastal course of over 13 nautical miles bound for Estaque, before competing in another City Race, at the foot of the official European Tour village. Relatively light conditions were served up for today’s racing, which wasn’t quite to everyone’s taste.

The light airs don’t seem to want to leave the European Tour… Whether it be in Cascais, with the races marked by little pressure, or the fourth leg, between Portugal and Marseille, where the five competing crews had to battle for nearly four days with a more than timid air flow, light airs have been dominating proceedings of late. And this continued today for the first of the City Races in Marseille, where the wind gods weren’t really being terribly cooperative. However, as the MOD 70s left the Roucas Blanc nautical base, 10 - 12 knots were filling the trimarans’ sails. Unfortunately, this same breeze faded over the course of the afternoon, ending up at around 5 knots. These lighter conditions were accompanied by increasingly thick cloud cover and a few drops of rain rounded off the day.

In these conditions, which aren’t the crew’s favourite, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group didn’t pull off the desired performance: “The results were average for this first day, largely due to our score in the second race. It was a longer format – a coastal course of over 13 miles – and we were nicely positioned in third place. However, we were penalised for committing to what the on-the-water umpires deemed as a hazardous option. I don’t entirely understand the judgement, but I respect it. Given the conditions we had on the water today, a penalty is crippling. The standard is very similar and the slightest error costs dearly. However, the standing remains very close in terms of points and ultimately it’s all in the details.”

Tanguy Leglatin is one of the familiar faces from Gitana Team. A sports coach from Lorient, he has been supporting Sébastien Josse’s crew throughout the year. In the European Tour, Tanguy is present on the water for each City Race and gives the sailors a daily review of the performance from the outside. Before joining up with the eight crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group for the traditional debrief following racing, he gave us his analysis of their performance so far: “If you’re talking numbers then this first day isn’t good, but there are some positive points to retain from the way they performed,” explained Tanguy Leglatin, before going on to detail the three races run this Friday: “The afternoon started out very well with a third place. In that particular race, the crew got off to a fairly good start, but it wasn’t the best placed to round the first mark. With the tactical options being limited on the race zone, the start is often a solid indicator of how the final hierarchy will look. That is unless errors lead to penalties and that’s what happened to us in race 2. The section in question was the coastal course between the southern and the northern harbour. The start wasn’t fantastic as they ended up being blocked in with Spindrift Racing. However, the choices made over the following tacks were both judicious and effective. As a result, they moved up into third position in the northern harbour. During the passage of the final mark, at Pointe Rouge, the wind dropped away dramatically and the boats ended up in contact for their approach on the mark. There was a slight lack of coolness and clearheadedness aboard, which led to a fault. It’s a real shame because having held onto their third place, virtually from beginning to end, this penalty cost them two places. Finally, in the third and final race of the day, the crew didn’t hold all the cards in my view. They got off to the best start in their group, but a few seconds before kick-off, the wind shifted and a puff of breeze hit, making it impossible to read the water during their positioning. This change favoured Race for Water, despite them not being the best placed on the line. However, the crew’s attitude in this race was very positive, even if the results weren’t there.”

In the provisional standing in the Marseille City Races, Sébastien Josse and his men paid dearly for their second race of the day and lie in fifth place this evening. The crew of Race for Water has harvested the fruits of its consistent performance and has taken the lead of the Marseille competition. Tomorrow, the races will be virtually identical to that of this Friday, with one exception. Though three races are due to be run like today, these will solely involve City Races in the southern harbour. With regards the weather, it could be a very different scene, with a Mediterranean roughed up by the storms and the potential of some strong winds. For the time being, these forecasts are purely guesswork as the different weather models are finding it hard to agree on anything and, instead of a boisterous wind, calms could reign over the city of Marseille. However, one thing for certain is that rain will colour tomorrow’s racing due to a depression situated over the Gulf of Lion!

Standing for the Marseille City Races (after three races)
  1. Race for Water - 33 points
  2. Spindrift Racing - 32 points
  3. Foncia - 30 points
  4. Musandam, Oman Sail - 28 points
  5. Edmond de Rothschild Group - 27 points

The crew of the MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group

Sébastien Josse (Skipper), Christophe Espagnon, Antoine Koch, Thomas Rouxel, Cyril Dardashti, Olivier Douillard, Florent Chastel, David Boileau

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