Edmond de Rothschild scores a double in Lisbon
Leader of yesterday’s inshore races in Lisbon after the first day of racing, Edmond de Rothschild’s crew was able to handle the pressure on their shoulders today. Like in Valencia a week ago, Sébastien Josse dominated proceedings on the Tagus and pocketed the ten points awarded to the winner. It’s a result that has enabled the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild to get back in touch with the leaders in the overall standing for the Route des Princes. Tomorrow, the fleet of MOD70s will leave the Portuguese capital and make for Dublin in Ireland. This second offshore leg, measuring some 990 miles in length, promises to be pretty muscly with a rather inhospitable Bay of Biscay.

It’s not everyday that you see 70-foot trimarans powering across the waters of the Tagus at full pelt. To achieve this, there had to be perfect conditions: sunshine and a good breeze above all, despite it being very shifty in terms of strength and direction, enabled the Route des Princes’ fleet to really put on a show at the very heart of the Portuguese capital. Much appreciated for its beauty, the marine stadium certainly made things difficult for the crews and their tacticians in particular. Aboard Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Col really pulled out all the stops, positioning the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild on the highest step of the podium. Modest as ever though, he put this latest win down to the excellent work of the crew as a whole: “Everyone did a great job, from the bowman to the grinders, to the trimmers and Sébastien of course at the helm. The quality of the manœuvres and the trimming is a great comfort for me as it enables me to make decisions late in the game, which means we can be very responsive. This pattern proved to be a strength in Lisbon on the atypical and rather random race zone. I feel very at ease alongside Sébastien Josse and the crew and I can’t wait to hook up with them again in Dublin.”

Thanks to their performance today, the men of Gitana Team have bagged some precious points towards the overall ranking and are right back in contention. Whilst they had a six-point deficit in relation to Oman Air and were two points down in relation to Spindrift Racing on their arrival in Lisbon, Sébastien Josse and his crew are now just two points shy of the leader and tied on points with the one-design skippered by Yann Guichard.

Back at the dock the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild was savouring his crew’s victory, but already his thoughts are offshore and the next leg, the start of which will kick off tomorrow: “It’s great to sail like that and win this second inshore. The group operates superbly well together and with Sébastien Col calling tactics, that’s a real bonus for the crew. The standard of the fleet is pretty similar and we saw today that prior to the final race there was still everything to play for. Naturally this latest victory is quite something, but the inshore discipline remains a very specific exercise. What we need now though is an offshore leg with us at the front of the pack so as we can gain the confidence we need. On the first leg we were in contention over the initial few hours of racing, but then we stuffed up a tricky section, which cost us very dearly. Here the objective is clearly to demonstrate that we’re just as at ease around the cans as offshore, as our crew is cut out for that.”

Tomorrow at 1400 hours local time, Edmond de Rothschild and its adversaries will set sail for Dublin, which is the destination of the second offshore leg of the Route des Princes. The fleet will have to cover nearly 1,000 nautical miles before making for the emerald isle of Ireland. The race promises to be full-on with a deep depression in the Bay of Biscay, which will put the trimarans and the sailors under pressure: “It’s going to be quick! We’ll set off from Lisbon in the sunshine with around fifteen knots of breeze. However, towards the end of the evening we’ll switch to a reach and we’ll approach the centre of this famous depression, which is in the middle of the Bay of Biscay. On the first night, level with Cape Finisterre, we’re likely to have muscly conditions. We’ll round to the East of the depression and at that point the weather and the atmosphere will change aboard Edmond de Rothschild, with the arrival of clouds, rain and very heavy seas; a 5.5-metre swell will be the order of the day to the West of the depression. Once around this system, things won’t be any simpler as we’ll have to negotiate our approach towards the Fastnet with a NNW’ly wind and hence reaching conditions. Finally, the finish is set to be played out in downwind conditions, in what could be relatively light winds,” Sébastien Josse concludes.

Change of crew for the offshore section

Sailing aboard Edmond de Rothschild since the start in Valencia, Olivier Douillard will now be replaced by Antoine Koch on the offshore legs as planned. However, the trimmer will link-up with Sébastien Josse and his men again for the inshore races in Dublin and Plymouth: “It’s nice to leave the group on a victory, which reinforces the work that’s been done within Gitana Team over the past year and a half. The cohesion of the team really works well and you can see that in the inshore races, where you need to be very responsive. This is especially true when we sail very close to the cities, as was the case here in Lisbon. We had what it took to win these past two days of inshore races thanks to our consistent performance, which is very positive for the next stage. I’m stepping off the boat for the next leg, but I’m going to follow the team’s progress very closely in what promises to be a fast, muscly sprint at the start.” 

Ranking for the Lisbon Inshore Races
  1. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) / 10 points
  2. Spindrift Racing (Xavier Revil) / 8 points
  3. Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) / 6 points
  4. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) / 4 points
Overall ranking for the Route des Princes
  1. Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) / 54 points
  2. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) / 52 points
  3. Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) / 52 points
  4. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) / 38 points


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