“This first day with the new crew has been very positive. The group is calm, professional and everyone has their little part to play, as much in their positions aboard as their general viewpoint, by conveying their vision of the race zone. Today we weren’t operating at the level we attained at the end of last season, which is completely normal. However, my initial feelings are very good. We’ve replaced two very good sailors with two sailors who are just as qualified and talented. I’m extremely pleased with the group and confident about the next stage in the competition”, explained Pierre Pennec, before highlighting the outstanding work of these crew members: “The race zone for today’s fleet racing was hard to read, as it was swept by a shifty wind, but the whole crew turned their experience to good account in deciphering it. Jean-Christophe made some very pertinent analyses and provided me with some very clear information, which paid off. The same was true of Bernard and Hervé, who helped me a great deal on this first day with a constant stream of information. Adeline also found her place within the group by perfectly blending into the crew.”
A perfectionist as much as a competitor, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group did however note a point which they will need to work on from tomorrow: “We were relatively safe, even set back a little at the starts, even though our three race wins partly bear out the fact that we did have some good starts. We’re going to have to look into that for the next stage.”
Bernard Labro and Jean-Christophe Mourniac, respectively working the bow and the traveller, are the new recruits aboard Edmond de Rothschild Group. They give us their impressions on the opening day of their baptism of fire: “The integration within the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group was very speedy. Our few days of training here, albeit just three, proved very beneficial. They enabled us to very quickly pinpoint a few minor errors, particularly in terms of communication, which enabled these imperfections to be erased before entering the competition. The work carried out on the boat by Gitana Team’s shore crew during the previous seasons is a real plus as can benefit from a very well prepared catamaran. For now, everyone is gradually finding their feet, but today’s results augur well for the future,” said a delighted “Kinou” (Jean-Christophe).For Bernard Labro, who’s getting to know both the new crew and the craft, the analysis was just as positive: “I cast myself into the same mould as the crew and things went like clockwork. My position as bowman is relatively physical, even though the conditions we had today enabled a relatively gently introduction to proceedings. We got in three days’ training with the whole group, which is a small amount, and we’re still having to make some adjustments, which is par for the course at the start of a collaboration. The communication lacks a bit of fluidity but it should be sorted relatively quickly.”
Leaders in this evening’s provisional standing, the men in Edmond de Rothschild Group are ahead of Oman Air, even though the two teams are tied on points. Indeed, having won three races of the six run today, compared with just one win for the Omani team, Pierre Pennec and his crew have a slight edge. The English on GAC Pindar complete this top trio.
As regards the weather, the wind eased throughout the day, with the ten knots measured early in the afternoon, dropping away to around six knots some three hours later, as it gradually shifted round to the right. This tendency for light conditions should be confirmed tomorrow. However, this evening it’s hard to have a clear view of the weather for the last two days of racing. Either the light airs will persist, or the influence of a low will provide some breeze, notably for the closing races on Friday. However, the major change on the cards tomorrow most certainly relates to the exercise. Indeed, after six races run outside The Wave Muscat port, the eight competing catamarans will move closer to both the shore and the Omani audience for the stadium races. These are synonymous with shorter courses, with an increasing amount of close contact, which will see a surge in the intensity of the races. “To be leading after six races is very good, but it’s not necessarily representative of the final outcome in this Grand Prix. We mustn’t get carried away. There are still three days of racing to go and tomorrow is the start of a new exercise for our crew”, recalled Bernard Labro, the new bowman.
Rendez-vous tomorrow from 1400 hours (1000 UTC) to the track the progress of the eight crews in the stadium racing.
The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group
Pierre Pennec (Skipper / helm),
Jean-Christophe Mourniac (trimmer and traveller),
Hervé Cunningham (headsail trimmer),
Bernard Labro (Bowman)
Standing for the Muscat Grand Prix after the first day (six races)
- 1. Edmond de Rothschild Group - 36 points
- Oman Air - 36 points
- GAC Pindar - 34 points
- The Wave Muscat – 30 points
- Red Bull Sailing Team – 26 points
- Zoulou – 22 points
- Alinghi - 17 points
- Team Trifork – 15 points