An ecstatic Oman Sail Masirah have won the UK round of the iShares Cup at Cowes Week and now take the overall lead in the iShares Cup 2009 series at the halfway stage of the six-round European circuit. It was a battle to the end for Yann Guichard and Loick Peyron with Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild clinching the final double points race to take 2nd place on the UK podium.
Celebrities from the world of music, Formula 1 and TV joined the iShares Cup to ride shotgun on an Extreme 40. TV presenter and extreme adventurer, Ben Fogle, captured the mood perfectly: "This is the Formula 1 of sailing - I can't remember the last time I saw so many people along the shoreline watching - I loved it!" Thousands of spectators have watched this ‘grandstand’ event over the last 3 days that has without doubt been the opening headline act of Cowes Week. Duran Duran lead singer, Simon Le Bon, said: “I'm really not used to sailing in front of a grandstand but it's been great."
Oman Sail Masirah had done enough by race 17 to secure the UK round – it was an emphatic performance by skipper Pete Cumming, helmsman Chris Draper, Mark Bulkley and Freddie Carr winning 10 of the 20 races over three days. Going into the final double points race Oman Sail’s stablemate, Renaissance helmed by French multihull legend Loick Peyron was fighting for 2nd on the podium - just 1 point ahead of Yann Guichard’s Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild. Guichard led off the start line of the final race, Peyron hunted him down and got close, then too close – contact resulting in a penalty for Peyron giving Guichard and his crew the coveted 2nd place at the UK round of the iShares Cup.
here was a similar head to head for 4th place between Nick Moloney’s BT and Shirley Robertson on Team iShares. Robertson had been awarded average points for the races Team iShares had to sit out on Day 2 due to a collision and this redress lifted her rapidly up the leaderboard on the final day. Mitch Booth, co-creator of the Extreme 40 class and helming BT in place of Darren Bundock, made the BT crew sweat it out – last place at the start and Robertson a few places ahead, Booth did a great job to ahead of Robertson to secure 4th overall.
From the skippers:
Winner, Oman Sail Masirah, skipper Pete Cumming: “We’ve had some fantastic training in Oman for 6 months and the Oman Sail set up has given us a platform and ability to train over the winter. All credit to the guys – Chris, Mark, Freddie and Khamis. Last year Cowes was a lot of fun but this year the set up now with iShares and OC Events putting on a grandstand event and all these people here is amazing. There isn’t really another event like that offers so much reward to the sailors.”
2nd placed, Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild, Yann Guichard: “Yes, it was the perfect event for us and a big fight with Renaissance in the last race, a big match race and I know Loick wanted to beat us but we beat him so it was perfect!”
3rd placed, Oman Sail Renaissance, Loick Peyron: “I made a little mistake – never hit another boat! It was so great to sail in front of everybody here and bravo to Oman ‘red’.”
4th placed, BT skipper, Nick Moloney: “We did pretty well and getting ourselves into a few spots of bother but for me with 22 years as a professional sailor – this is the greatest event I have sailed in. The iShares Cup is on a huge lift and all the crowds coming down here and cheering for us, we really feed off it and the atmosphere has been fantastic.”
5th placed, Shirley Robertson, Team iShares: “I don’t often sail in this tiny little square – it was challenging and pretty hard work, and feel like it’s been more than a weekend!”
Groupama helmsman, Gildas Philippe: “We need, for sure, more training and not to make too many mistakes but we have a good team .”
Overall iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series 2009:
With the absence of BMW ORACLE Racing at the UK round, Oman Sail Masirah with two consecutive event wins now top the overall iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series for 2009. Next round of the iShares Cup takes place in Kiel, Germany over the 28th-30th August.
1st Oman Sail Masirah (27 points)
2nd Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild (26 points)
3rd Oman Sail Renaissance (24 points)
4th BMW ORACLE Racing (18 points)
5th BT (17 points)
6th Groupama (17 points)
7th Team iShares (12 points)
8th LUNA (10 points)
9th Holmatro (9 points)
10th Ecover (4 points)