Pulling back from the brink
Dramatic conditions in Trapani on day two of the Extreme Sailing Series action and the public in the medieval Sicilian town were treated to a stunning display of tactical combat, several near capsizes and heart-in-mouth action as the teams battled with 22 knots of wind, around the tight race courses.
Each of the six races this afternoon had its own story to tell, as the fleet of seven boats bore down at the marks, jostling for space that didn’t exist but race 5 provided the most thrilling action. Oman Sail Masirah took a massive nosedive as they approached the downwind mark at top speed, furling their gennaker. With their bows down, the spectators held their breath as the sterns lifted higher and higher. It looked like it was all over for Mr Multihull, Loick Peyron, with no chance of landing back upright, but they twisted round and eventually landed the right way up, and they were back in the race, finishing six, with much relief all around. Will there be more calls as close as that?
Going into day 2, leaders after the opening day Groupe Edmond de Rothschild seemed to struggle in the stronger conditions and The Wave, Muscat took full advantage, continuing their winning form adding two wins to their bullet in the final race on day 1 to take over the lead. It was the Omani team that took three wins today, with Guichard posting just one first on the leaderboard in the third race. Paul Campbell-James and his team on The Wave, Muscat thrived in the strong conditions. Their strong tactical control of the race course saw them regularly lead the rest of the fleet around the triangle course designed to bring the fleet close to the public at the top mark. After Oman Sail Masirah’s close call, the adrenaline seemed to be flowing for Peyron and he drove his team to take their first win of the event in the final race, drawing cheers from the crowds.
It was a baptism of fire today for Trapani the Sailing Seacily, skippered by America’s Cup strategist and local Sicilian sailor Gabriele Bruni. Struggling in the conditions at the back of the fleet, Bruni was injured in the final race of the day, with the team unable to finish.
Loïck Peyron commented: “It was a great day, with lots of wind and interesting courses - a day for men! During the last races when it was really blowing, it was important to optimise trajectories, which we did not always manage… and we very nearly capsized. It never happened to me, and I would like it to stay that way. But we got maximum points on the artistic criteria!"
From Mark Lloyd - www.lloydimages.com
From: Roberto Foresti/ Canon/ OC Events