Musandam-Oman Sail's day in the sun
After three City Race series heats off Cascais, it is the quiet consistency of Sidney Gavignet’s hard working Musandam-Oman Sail team that prevail. As a light sea-breeze gave way to a very slightly stronger N’ly wind, the Omani team added their first race win this season to a pair of third places to lead the overall standings in Portugal by one single point.
“It is nice to get a pay off for our hard work,” said Gavignet on the dock at the Marina de Cascais. "I am usually a very bad starter but we are getting better and have been working on it since Kiel. The secret is to have a plan, a very simple plan. We have the feeling to always be doing the same and so we have been working on that. We have good communication on board now.
"We re-grouped a bit after the second race, because I heard a little shouting on board, so we just cooled things down a little, and so now we are all doing our own work, each doing their job.
“And, again, for us it always important to keep a good atmosphere on board. That is key. I said that before the MOD70 European Tour, today that is the key, and that is the key for the future for a round the world race. So we are happy, we stay relaxed.”
The light conditions placed a greater emphasis on starting, though there were opportunities to make gains and losses around the Cascais City Race tracks.
After Groupe Edmond de Rothschild won the first race and Race for Water triumphed in the second, it looked as if the MOD70 European Tour leader Spindrift Racing was on course to lead thanks to their two second places.
But on the third start of the day Yann Guichard’s team was judged to have jumped the start gun. Race for Water was closed out on the start line and then had to take a penalty. So Spindrift Racing had to wait midway along the first short reaching leg until Race for Water had exonerated themselves, Spindrift Racing allowed by the rules to tuck behind the last boat at the first mark rather than re-cross the start.
It was a tough day for the Foncia crew. They rescued a second from that scrappy third race start but their first two starts left them on the back foot, resulting in two fifth places. Indeed it looked like Michel Desjoyeaux’s team had shed a few unnecessary points in their overall duel with Spindrift Racing until Guichard jumped the start.
The first race was to have been a race downwind to Lisbon in a southwestly breeze of about 8 knots, but the race committee decided that there was insufficient wind in the Tagus river to ensure fair, meaningful racing and so brought the fleet back upwind to Cascais. Sébastien Josse and the crew of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild took command early and was able to win this first race ahead of Spindrift Racing and Musandam-Sail Oman.
Thereafter it was two typical triangle courses. Stève Ravussin’s team nailed the start in the second raced, flying off the line with their gennaker set on Race for Water to build an immediate lead which they held to the finish line.
With the wind into the northeast and 9-12 knots, a well timed start to the third race, leaving the line with good speed, meant Musandam-Oman Sail was able to capitalise from the first mark all the way around the course, leading Foncia across the finish lie by a comfortable margin.
It was a messy start though as Race for Water was closed out at the committee boat end of the start line. Steve Ravussin's crew then had to take a penalty after they started. And so when Spindrift Racing jumped the start gun, as the rule requires them not to restart but to follow the last boat around the first mark, they were therefore forced to stop and wait for Race for Water to exonerate themselves.
Foncia and Musandam-Oman Sail stayed clear of trouble and ran away with first and second.
Cascais City Race series after three races:
1- Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) : 10+10+12 = 32 points
2- Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) : 11+11+9 = 31 points
3- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) : 12+9+10 = 31 points
4- Race for Water (Stève Ravussin) : 9+12+8 = 29 points
5- Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux) : 8+8+11 = 27 points