Guichard on fire
It was a good day for Yann Guichard and his crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild ending with a win in their match race against Loick Peyron. On a day of inconsistent conditions, Guichard performed consistently securing three 2nd places, two 3rd places and a 1st in the final fleet race on the penultimate day of the Extreme Sailing Series Kiel event to steal a march on their rivals and topple Ecover from the top of the overall leaderboard.
“We sailed really well today, always being in the match and never giving up when we were a bit behind,” said Guichard. “We took only good starts and despite a penalty in a race we managed to finish third. I have the dream team on board and I think that's what makes the difference - all the manoeuvres are spot-on and that helps to get that extra inch to get in front of the other guys. Today the objective was to get in front of Ecover, so that's been achieved.” Groupe Edmond de Rothschild now holds a 16-point margin over their closest rivals, Oman Sail Masirah, going into the final day tomorrow.
Ecover will be gutted to see their dominance falter. A 7th, 8th, 3rd, 5th, 4th and 7th scoreline was nowhere near good enough and they are now third overall on 93 points.
Conditions today were really tricky – big rain squalls and plenty of cloud action inducing shifty winds and lanes of no pressure, then good pressure. Paul Cambell-James, skipper of The Wave, Muscat explained: "It's such a different event compared to Cowes, very light wind and shifty conditions. It's really technical here, we were watching the sky all the time, looking for clouds and squalls, as you know rain means wind. Today was not too bad but the last couple of days didn't go the way we wanted too.”
It was not easy for any of the teams. Some got lucky and some didn't. Mitch Booth was having a great day – two race wins and two seconds places, enough to elevate The Ocean Racing Club into 4th place overall - until The Wave, Muscat ran into the back of them, damaging their back beam. Booth explained: “We were getting ready for the last fleet race, it was pretty gusty, and The Wave were trying to get underneath us and they got caught by a gust. They tried to bear away, but the huge gust accelerated them from a standstill to up to 20 knots in two boat lengths and they hit our back beam.”
‘CJ’ and his crew only had a few seconds to go for damage limitation. As he said: “We tried to slow the boat down as much as possible but when you go 20 knots it's not easy to do! We hit them where it would make the less damage and hit the back of the beam.”
The Ocean Racing Club has been given redress for the races they missed this afternoon, and the Extreme 40 has been craned out to make repairs to the back beam. All being well, Mitch Booth’s team will be back racing tomorrow.
The estimated 30,000 spectators endured the torrential downpours and then basked in the sunshine, enjoying all the action the nine-boat Extreme 40 fleet had to offer from the six fleet races to a final round of match racing: “Racing in Kiel is fantastic,” said Booth. “The people here love it, there were thousand of spectators today and you can hear them cheering from the water, especially when the local teams cross the finish line. That makes you feel like you have to do your best and provide the show they deserve.”
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Oman Sail had a great match race. Peyron had the advantage with Guichard pushing hard, forcing Peyron to make a mistake and incur a penalty. Masirah tried to put enough distance between themselves and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild to perform the penalty without being overtaken, but it could not be done and Guichard took the win.
Audi Sailing Team Germany will be further encouraged by their day on the water, scoring a 4th place in the first fleet race and a win in their match racing against the other home team Wirsol Team Germany.
Tomorrow is the final day of the third round of the Extreme Sailing Series and there is still everything to play for. As Guichard summed up: “There's a great spirit onboard but there's still a day to go so it's not over yet.” The German public will not be disappointed…
The final day of Extreme Sailing Series action starts tomorrow with Moth demonstrations from 12.30 and Extreme 40 racing from 2.30pm.