Despite a slight chop late afternoon, conditions were just as summery as yesterday in Trapani with glorious sunshine and soaring temperatures. However, the most important factor remains the arrival of a steadier breeze, which enabled the race committee to run six fine races at the foot of Erice Mountain. Indeed the forecasts from Gitana Team’s meteorologist, Sylvain Mondon, who this morning announced a northerly wind comprising between 12 and 16 knots, were borne out on the water. Furthermore Edmond de Rothschild Group’s crew were able to make very good use of it: “With this wind strength, we are among the fastest boats of the fleet and this enables us to hold our own more easily in difficult situations and make a difference against our adversaries. It’s often said that speed makes you intelligent and this proved true once again” explained Pierre Pennec on his return to the dock.
However, the wind isn’t everything and the men from Gitana Team clearly had what it took to raise their game, as was demonstrated by their first victory of this Grand Prix on the final race of the day: “We knew how to sail with a good margin for safety to avoid collisions and above all penalties, which often result from such racing and are detrimental to finishing a day with good results. I think that several race victories were within our grasp today as we got in some good starts on the whole. However, through our desire to sail without taking big risks we let a few first places slip by us. Nevertheless, it’s a positive outcome today as we were consistent. This has enabled us to get back in contact with the top spots and rack up some precious points ahead of our rivals” admitted a satisfied skipper.
After today’s six races, the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has moved up two places in the provisional standing, switching sixth place for fourth place, which is the second best performance of the day. Line honours went to Max Sirena’s Italian team who moved up to second place from fifth. Edmond de Rothschild Group’s closest pursuer is eleven points astern of them this evening, which isn’t a lot but does leave the team in a more comfortable position than yesterday.
Tomorrow, Pierre Pennec and his crew are set to confirm the upward trend in their performance this Thursday but it will be in quite another setting. Indeed, the Extreme Sailing Series fleet is switching race zone to get even closer to the Sicilian public. The next three days of races will be run in the nautical arena formed by the port of Trapani. As a result the format of the races will be different, with shorter courses and another way of approaching the strategy, as the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group explains: “In the arena races, the distances are shorter and as such everything happens a lot quicker. The decision making, whether it’s in the course mark approaches or the trajectories, must be very fast and pertinent. Christophe (Espagnon) is also less involved in the tactics and more geared towards the manœuvres.” For Hervé Cunningham, the bowman, the change of format will call for a bit more aggressiveness in the start phases: “In the races run over the past two days, the start is a very important phase but the playing field here also enables us to attempt to pull a few special moves, favouring a particular side of the race zone. As such a start midway up the table can’t necessarily be ruled out. In the ‘stadium’ races, the courses are a lot shorter and the competition is less open. The starts become essential if you want to rank among the frontrunners when crossing the finish line. You have to be more of an opportunist and in on the action from the outset.”
The first warning signal for the third day of competition is scheduled for 1500 hours.
Ranking for the Trapani Grand Prix at the end of the 2nd day
1. Alinghi (SUI) – 98 points
2. Luna Rossa (ITA) – 94 points
3. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – 86 points
4. Edmond de Rothschild Group (FRA) – 81 points
5. Oman Air (OMA) – 69.5 points
6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – 66 points
7. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ) – 65.5 points
8. Niceforyou (ITA) - 59 points
9. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) – 52 points
10. Team Extreme (EUR) – 40 points
11. Artemis Racing (SWE) - 0 point