Edmond de Rothschild by a nose
Sébastien Josse’s Edmond de Rothschild again proved to be the best Routes des Princes MOD70 inshore team around the short courses off Plymouth Sound today but her advantage was much less obvious that it was in Valencia and Lisbon where they won both regattas.
In slightly fickle, shifty westerly breeze of between 9 and 21 knots Edmond de Rothschild did win two of the three short course races which were contested outside the breakwater, but they had to work hard for their wins. The team which have won in both Valencia and Lisbon had their hallmark consistency compromised when they tore their gennaker in Race 2 which resulted in their third place finish.
With the high ground of a headland directly upwind of the course area the wind split, different flanks of the course paying a dividend to no regular pattern. But in terms of making fewest mistakes and making the best decisions more often than not, it was Edmond de Rothschild – the only MOD70 team to take a specialist tactician for the inshore races in Sébastien Col – which did enough to finish at the top of the Plymouth inshore regatta standings.
In the first race Jean-Pierre Dick’s Virbac-Paprec 70 made the best first downwind to lead up the first beat. They looked to have extended enough to win, but they misjudged their angle to the top mark for the final time and let Edmond de Rothshchild slide round the final buoy to steal victory.
In the second contest Virbac-Paprec 70 made no such mistakes and were able to win ahead of Oman Air-Musandam with the hobbled Edmond de Rothschild left to third.
The wind peaked at 21 knots prior to the third race which made sail selection tricky but the wind died right away to confound such decisions. Col and Josse made the right choice when they took Edmond de Rothschild into a gybe-set to move down the left side of the first run where they found the best pressure and wind angle. That was firm foundations for their second win of the day on a race course area which skipper-helm Josse described as ‘very tricky.’
Edmond de Rothschild skipper Sébastien Josse commented: “It was a stressful day. We managed a good first race but broke the gennaker in the second one. Like the other boats we find the sail is quite light, and it went when we were furling at the first leeward buouy. So we could not use it again in that race, even so we were still close to beating Oman. In the third race we made the call to gybe set and go on the left and we had a big gap and that was. It is a tricky course area, probably the hardest we have had because the courses are quite short, the wind is shifty and just before the third race we had 21 knots, and so with the main and Solent it was quite a lot, but then in the race itself there was nothing, so that was interesting. But all in all a stressful day. Any points are important, so we are happy with the day. It is good to win here. Tomorrow will be light, light, maybe even no sailing.”
Virbac-Paprec 70's Jean-Pierre Dick added: “It was a good day for us. The wind was changing all the time. Unfortunately in the last race we were not very lucky but a one and a two from the first two races is good. We could have won the first one easily but we made a mistake, we got the layline wrong and tacked too early. You have to make so many decisions quickly and some of them we did not get right all the time. I think we are sailing better, we have had some good days in some places. So hopefully we can gain some more points tomorrow.”
Damian Foxall on Oman Air-Musandam said: “It was a lot of fun. I felt a bit guilty we were not sailing in the harbour, to give Plymouth the show they deserved. It was pretty compact and in that wind direction it would have been a bit too tight so I think the race committee made the right decision in terms of giving us the best racing. The head was splitting the wind and in the first two races we were bouncing back and forth between the left and right. Sometimes we got it right and sometimes we got it wrong. In the last one, it went OK but we are there, but just not quite there.
"I think there is still a lot of smaller details which we will keep debriefing on. Ultimately we still did more manoeuvres than the other boats. We basically got a bit tight with Virbac Paprec 70 coming in on the reach on the first dog leg and had a penalty, but ultimately we still managed to gybe before them on the downwind. All the little mistakes do add up. If Edmond de Rothschild win the inshores here then we would need to win the offshore and the points. If they win the inshores and either the points or the inshore then they would beat us overall.”
On 26 points for their two wins and a third place Edmond de Rothschild lead the Plymouth series by two points ahead of Virbac-Paprec 70 with Sidney Gavignet’s Oman Air-Musandam third four points behind the leaders.
Saturday’s racing starts at 1115 local time with up to three races.
The Route des Princes decider for both the Multi 50s and the MOD70s will be the last offshore stage to Morlaix which starts at 2000. For the MOD70’ the course is due to go to Wolf Rock off Land’s End and then to a mark Basse Portsall at the mouth of the Chenal du Four, a course distance of 198 miles. The Multi50s head to Wolf Rock also and then to Aman ar Ross mark, a distance of 186 miles. Both classes are offered one bonus point at Wolf Rock for the leader on a race which carries a multiplier of 1.5 pts.
As it stands just now if Edmond de Rothschild win the inshore series here they would only need to win the bonus point or the race to be sure of winning overall.
Results after three races
1- Sébastien Josse, FRA, Edmond de Rothschild 26pts, (1,3,1)
2- Jean-Pierre Dick, FRA, VIRBAC-PAPREC 70, 24pts, (1,2,3)
3- Sidney Gavignet, OMA, Oman Air-Musandam, 22pts, (3,2,2)