To the wire in Almeria
The script could not have been more perfectly written by the end of the penultimate day of racing at the final round of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series in Almeria. Yann Guichard (Groupe Edmond de Rothschild) and Paul Campbell-James (The Wave, Muscat) will go into the final day of the final round of the season on equal points – Guichard retains the top spot on count back, scoring seven first places at this regatta opposed to Campbell-James’ six. It is now likely that the final will go to the wire with double points up for grabs in the last race.
In contrast to yesterday’s breezy conditions that produced some incredibly close and on the edge of control racing, a gentle breeze of 5-6 knots ruffled the waters inside the port of Almeria requiring maximum concentration and good crew weight distribution to optimize boat speed. Paul Campbell-James and the boys on The Wave, Muscat knew they had to put in a strong performance today and they redeemed themselves admirably, posting two wins in the fleet races and winning the final match race of today against Guichard: “We couldn't be happier! We are back in the game and it's all to play for tomorrow. We are on a come back and they are going down so it should be interesting tomorrow,” said Campbell-James. “We're pumped, it's not only overall for this event, it’s overall for the whole series that we are playing for tomorrow. The whole year is down to one single day and I can imagine it will be decided in the last race.”
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild came into the season as favourites, finishing second overall in 2009, but it has been the ‘young guns’ on the Omani team that have pushed them every step of the way: “It was a hard day for us but we keep the lead with the same points as The Wave, Muscat so it will be a big fight tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, we are feeling good and the competition should be high. The weather will be different tomorrow with more wind. But as usual we will take it race by race,” said Guichard. “We’re still leading the event here and that's the main thing. The Wave had a really good day today while for us we struggled a little bit at the start.”
Desperate for an event win is the British team led by Mike Golding on Ecover Sailing Team, and they started the day with good intentions. Ecover won the first fleet race and three races later Guichard, Campbell-James and Golding were all on equal points of 76 going into the fourth race. Helmsman Leigh McMillan sailed a cracking race to put Ecover top of the leaderboard. Sadly, the glory was short-lived – a fifth and sixth place plus losing their match race scuppered their chances. However, nothing is decided yet with a full schedule of racing set for tomorrow and the game is still wide open for Ecover to get back in the mix.
Loick Peyron and his crew on Oman Sail Masirah had an up and down day, and although they have managed to hold on to their fourth place in the event rankings, Franck Cammas (Groupama) is within three points: “It was a good day for us, we won a race and made it to the top three several times and we ended the day on a victory in our match race,” said Cammas. “We're within reach of Masirah, Ecover in third is a bit further but tomorrow should be a great day with a nice battle.” Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing team now have their work cut out for them if they want to overhaul Cammas to claim the overall fifth place that these two teams are vying for.
The home team of Rumbo Almeria skippered by Guillermo Altadill delighted the local crowds by scoring a second in the first race of the day and now have 54 points, putting them in 6th place going into the final day. Not bad for a team that have had hardly any preparation or training time. Go Almeria!
Extreme Sailing Series Almeria Results after Day 3
1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Yann Guichard, 97 points
2nd The Wave, Muscat, Paul Campbell-James, 97 points
3rd Ecover Sailing Team, Mike Golding, 91 points
4th Oman Sail Masirah, Loick Peyron, 78 points
5th Groupama 40, Franck Cammas, 75 points
6th Rumbo Almeria, Guillermo Altadill, 54 points
7th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, Roman Hagara, 49 points
8th Emirates Team New Zealand, Dean Barker, 47 points
Overall Standings Extreme Sailing Series 2010
Team / Skipper / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat, Paul Campbell-James, 28 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Yann Guichard, 27 points
3rd Ecover Sailing Team, Mike Golding, 25 points
4th Oman Sail Masirah, Loick Peyron, 24 points
5th Groupama 40, Franck Cammas, 13 points
6th Red Bull Extreme Sailing, Roman Hagara, 13 points
7th The Ocean Racing Club, Mitch Booth, 7 points
8th Team GAC Pindar, Nick Moloney, 3 points