Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day 2 in Kiel: 6 races, 6 different winners - classic iShares Cup racing!

[Source: iShares Cup] Day 2 of the iShares Cup Kiel event – 6 races were staged, each delivering a different winner – BT, Groupama, Oman Sail Masirah, LUNA, Oman Sail Renaissance and Holmatro. No one team dominated in the tricky conditions, although Pete Cumming's crew on Oman Sail Masirah did enough to stay at the top of the leaderboard with a 17-point lead going into the final day of racing, but they are certainly not invincible and round 4 of the iShares Cup is still wide open. A grand battle developed for second place today between three of the French skippers - Yann Guichard's team Gitana Extreme raced a great final race which put them in second place overall, whereas Groupama's 7th place relegated the team to 3rd place overall, and Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Renaissance is waiting in the wings in 4th – only 1 point separates each of these 3 teams.

The 9-boat Extreme 40 fleet, minus Mike Golding’s Ecover that was dismasted in a capsize yesterday, went out on the Kiel Fjord today expecting 30 knots and instead had to deal with light, shifty conditions and torrential downpours with occasional gusts, thunder and lightning that turned today’s racing into a game of snakes and ladders for many.

Highlights from the second day of the iShares Kiel Cup. Kiel, 29 August 2009. Video copyright iShares Cup

Oman Sail Renaissance skipper, Loick Peyron: “It was a mixed day – some good, some really bad! Not easy at all today – it was supposed to be really windy but when its not windy, the wind is moving from one side to the other so you have to play –anything can happen. We did a really bad one today, a really bad one yesterday so it could be good to finish the last day with no really bad races! Tomorrow’s going to be the day!”

The battle for the podium looks set to be between Oman Sail Masirah (104 points), Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild (87 points), Groupama Extreme (86 points) and Oman Sail Renaissance (85 points). Pete Cumming’s Masirah crew who were so dominate in the UK round, did enough today finishing in the top 5 bar one race, but they will go into the final day feeling under threat as round 4 is really still wide open. Further down the leaderboard there is a tussle for dominance between LUNA (5th place on 75 points), Team iShares (6th on 65 points), BT (7th with 64 points) and Holmatro (8th on 62 points).

Team iShares skipper, Shirley Robertson: “We have our moments, if we have a good start, we can get ahead but I still feel like a bit of a novice multihull sailor against the likes of Loick Peyron and Franck Cammas! Everyone was good and bad, and going up and down. It was tricky racing the wind was coming and going with the rain clouds and very shifty. We all went out dressed for 30 knots and torrential rain so I think everyone is pretty happy.”

The Dutch team of Holmatro who have a new man at the helm for the rest of the season, were delighted to score a win in the final race today. Although just before the race started, they struck a rock performing a fly-by for the crowds. Skipper Mitch Booth explains: “We were just killing time between the races and thought we’d just do a little sail by the dock and, sure enough, there was a rock right in our way and we hit our daggerboard and crashed it pretty bad. We had to get a guy under the boat to get it out that way and we just got a replacement board out in time for the final race. It was good though in the end because we had a good last race [they won!]. We’re a brand new team here and it takes time to sort out all the team work but we’re pretty happy, we’ve had a couple of bad ones and some good ones too! It was that sort of condition today and that sort of course – the winner got away and then it was very difficult for anyone to pass. But it was a scramble in the middle, I can tell you, but good fun and looking forward to tomorrow.”

The local German team, WIRSOL TEAM KEIL.SAILING CITY our enjoying the racing and the support of the thousands of home supporters. A third-place in the penultimate race of today was there best result so far in the event, but in the final race skipper Roland Gäbler, fell overboard. He managed to scramble back on by himself to finish the race to the obvious appreciation of the crowd.

The forecast for the final day of the iShares Cup Kiel is similar to today’s forecast – SW 10-15 knots with strong gusts. In reality, the Extreme 40 fleet might end up with the same tricky conditions they had today. The Ecover team still has work to do preparing the spare mast and repair the mainsail damage, as well as find replacement crew following the injury to Bruno Dubois.



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