It’s all about keeping a cool head under pressure for the 10 iShares Cup Extreme 40 skippers at this weekend’s final in the Spanish city of Almeria, from Saturday 10th-Monday 12th October.
The top three teams are separated by just one point going into the final fight for the overall title of 2009 iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series Champions, whilst throughout the fleet it’s equally close! With up to 24 races scheduled, including a double-points event finale, Round 6 of the iShares Cup is set to be an ultra-tense affair. Here’s what the skippers have to say:
Yann Guichard, Gitana Extreme - Groupe LCF Rothschild (2nd, 43 points): “It’s really motivating to be on equal points with Oman Sail Masirah. That leaves the win open and given the fact that we were quite behind in terms of points before Amsterdam, our situation now is exceptional.
“The competition was fierce since the first event of the season and the tight racecourses in Amsterdam demonstrated that every team can have a chance, so we will have to be sharp until the very end. It's clear that Franck Cammas onboard Groupama 40 (4th, 33 points) doesn't have anything to gain or lose so they will clearly fight for an event victory in Almeria. They could be the spoilsports! We'll need to sail really well without making mistakes in order to appear at the top of the leaderboard and hope to win the Series.”
Loick Peyron, Oman Sail Renaissance (3rd, 42 points): “Our goal? To try to do our best, and of course to do better than second if possible. It will be hard for us, even when we’re not far from Oman Sail Masirah on points. We need to try to win [an event] for the first time.
“At the start of the year it was hard to imagine such a close podium. Gitana are racing very consistently, as are Masirah. At the end of each event we know exactly where we won and where we lost. Our only chance to do better is to win and to keep out of trouble. That’s what I’ll try this weekend.”
Pete Cumming, Oman Sail Masirah (1st, 43 points): “Amsterdam was a really tricky place and we had a bit of bad luck there, but Spain’s going to be more open water, more wind, and faster sailing, which is what we love, and is our strongest area, so we’re looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be really exciting racing which is perfect for the last event of the year.
“If you start taking risks that you haven’t done throughout the year you’re either going to pick up penalties or break the boat or potentially capsize. I don’t think many people can sail a lot harder than they have been sailing, because every event counts massively – you’re never allowed to discard an event or a race, so everybody’s been pushing 100 per cent.
“It will be a version of Cowes, sailing along a harbour wall, and you need to have good boat speed and good boat handling, and we seem to do really well in that. I think it will just be the guys who can keep cool, sail fast, and stay out of trouble who come out on top.”
Shirley Robertson, Team iShares (6th, 22 points): "Well, the racing in Amsterdam has certainly left no clear team in the running for that final podium position out in Spain. Not only will we see an exciting tussle amongst the top teams but we will also have a battle on our hands mid-way down the table with just a couple of points separating us - it is all to play for and could be anyone’s game. For Team iShares, we will certainly be putting every effort into each race to keep ahead of Holmatro and Luna... Also we are just one point behind BT (5th, 23 points) so I expect there will be some tough game-playing out on the water.
“Almeria provides the perfect sailing arena and we should see some of the largest crowds of the series... for me, racing in front of such large crowds always gives you that added drive especially when you can hear people cheering from the shore. Spain will certainly be a spectacular finale to the 2009 circuit.”
Mitch Booth, Holmatro (7th, 20 points): “Every team is fighting for the best possible overall result. We are expecting a really tough race in this final event. We have been growing well as a team and need to keep this trend going. We hope we can stand on the podium one time this season. The team that can stay cool under pressure should come out on top.”