Masirah with a race to spare
|An ecstatic crew on Oman Sail's
Masirah have won the UK round of the iShares Cup at Cowes Week and now take the overall lead in the iShares Cup 2009 series at the halfway stage of the six-round European circuit. It was a battle to the end for Yann Guichard and Loick Peyron with
Gitana Extreme - Groupe LCF Rothschild clinching the final double points race to take second place on the UK podium.
Celebrities from the world of music, Formula 1 and TV joined the iShares Cup today to ride shotgun on an Extreme 40. TV presenter and extreme adventurer, Ben Fogle, captured the mood perfectly: "This is the Formula 1 of sailing - I can't remember the last time I saw so many people along the shoreline watching - I loved it!"
Thousands of spectators have watched this ‘grandstand’ event over the last three days that has without doubt been the opening headline act of Cowes Week. Duran Duran lead singer, Simon Le Bon, said: “I'm really not used to sailing in front of a grandstand but it's been great."
Oman Sail's Masirah had done enough by race 17 to secure the UK round – it was an emphatic performance by skipper Pete Cumming, helmsman Chris Draper, Mark Bulkeley and Freddie Carr winning 10 of the 20 races over three days.
Cumming commented: “We’ve had some fantastic training in Oman for 6 months and the Oman Sail set up has given us a platform and ability to train over the winter. All credit to the guys – Chris, Mark, Freddie and Khamis. Last year Cowes was a lot of fun but this year the set up now with iShares and OC Events putting on a grandstand event and all these people here is amazing. There isn’t really another event like that offers so much reward to the sailors.”
Going into the final double points race Oman Sail’s stablemate, Renaissance helmed by French multihull legend Loick Peyron was fighting for second on the podium - just 1 point ahead of Yann Guichard’s Gitana Extreme-Groupe LCF Rothschild. Guichard led off the start line of the final race, Peyron hunted him down and got close, then too close - contact resulting in a penalty for Peyron giving Guichard and his crew the coveted second place at the UK round of the iShares Cup.
Guichard said: “It was the perfect event for us and a big fight with Renaissance in the last race, a big match race and I know Loick wanted to beat us but we beat him so it was perfect!”
Peyron added: “I made a little mistake - never hit another boat! It was so great to sail in front of everybody here and bravo to Oman ‘red’.”
There was a similar head to head for fourth place between Nick Moloney’s BT and Shirley Robertson on Team iShares. Robertson had been awarded average points for the races Team iShares had to sit out on Day 2 due to a collision and this redress lifted her rapidly up the leaderboard on the final day. Mitch Booth, co-creator of the Extreme 40 class and helming BT in place of Darren Bundock, made his crew sweat it out - last place at the start and Robertson a few places ahead, Booth did a great job to ahead of Robertson to secure fourth overall.
Next round of the iShares Cup takes place in Kiel, Germany over the 28th-30th August.