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Route des Princes - Edmond de Rothschild dominates

'2013 Route des Princes'    © Marcel Mochet

The Route des Princes has kicked off on a high for Gitana Team. Tied on points at the top of the leaderboard last night after the first three Valencia inshore races, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild dominated play today to take a comfortable win ahead of its rivals. Winners of all three races contested this Saturday, Sébastien Josse and his seven crew ruled supreme to treat Edmond de Rothschild to the first victory in this European Tour for multihulls.

However, the men of Gitana XV will only have a short amount of time to savour this first place because tomorrow they’ll be switching exercise and atmosphere with the start of the first of the event’s offshore legs; an 800-mile race from Spain to Portugal, the finish of which has an ETA in Lisbon of 12 June onwards.

For the second day of inshore racing in Valencia, the weather conditions were totally different. Indeed the cloudy, stormy skies of yesterday gave way to glorious sunshine and a fine westerly breeze of 15 to 25 knots. It proved to be a winning scenario for the crew of Edmond de Rothschild, who were especially inspired and at ease in this steadier breeze. With three victories in as many races, Sébastien Josse and his men ruled supreme, putting up a truly faultless performance: 'The wind conditions we were racing in seemed easier to me, as you immediately feel the force of them on the boat. The crew were up for it and everyone knew exactly what they had to do, with Sébastien Col calling tactics, Charles Caudrelier doing the nav and the trimmers sparing no effort. My seven crew did a fantastic job,' admitted the skipper of Gitana XV before going on to discuss their victory: 'We’re really very happy as this result means that the hard work has paid off. We’re spending a lot of time on the water, but when you’re in the learning phase, as is the case for me on the multihull, it can be difficult to get feedback on how you’re doing sometimes. To win this first inshore race has lifted the whole team’s spirits and even though we’re going to have to follow through on this performance for the rest of the event, we’re going to take the time to savour our first place.'

With this Spanish victory, the men of Gitana Team have proved that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with throughout the three weeks of competition that lie ahead. In tonight’s final ranking, after six races, they have outdone Spindrift Racing and Virbac Paprec. In this way, Edmond de Rothschild has been awarded 10 points, whilst second and third place pocket eight and six points respectively: 'The points we scored today are obviously important, but you do have to bear in mind the fact that the points for the inshore races for the whole event amount to 40 points out of the total of 190 overall in the Route des Princes, that means the inshores are worth 21% of the points', Sébastien Josse reminds us.

Tomorrow the Route des Princes fleet will leave Valencia and its Hispanic shores on the first offshore leg bound for Lisbon. This 800-mile course will kick-start this European tour, linking the Mediterranean to the Atlantic coast of Portugal. With a little less than 24 hours from the start, Charles Caudrelier, navigator on Edmond de Rothschild, describes the physiognomy of this first leg: 'We’re only certain of one thing right now, we’ll have to contend with headwinds! With regard the strength of the wind, that will depend a bit on timing. For now, we’re going to have to climb around 60 miles North of Valencia to hunt down a mark off the city of Benicarlo. As there’s very little wind to the North, followed by little air 50 miles to the South of Valencia that night, that section could be very slow. The later we are reaching the weather systems to drop southwards, the lighter the wind will be. It’s pretty tough to come up with any kind of clear plan this evening, as Race Management hasn’t yet made a definitive decision about the course, though this return leg will have an influence on the next stage. For the time being, we’re watching a westerly breeze, which appears to have settled to the South of Valencia and if we manage to hook onto that before it fades away, we could make headway towards Gibraltar. After this passage, once we’re through into the Atlantic, we should be able to link onto an upwind section again, with a ridge of high pressure to be negotiated. This race promises to be strategically complicated. For now, the routing software is pretty varied and our arrival in Lisbon could be played out this coming Wednesday or Thursday.'

Ranking for the Valencia Inshores
1. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) – 2 – 1 – 3 – 1 – 1 – 1 / 10 points
2. Spindrift Racing (Xavier Revil) - 1 - 3 - 2 – 4 – 3 – 2 / 8 points
3. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) - 3 - 4 – 1 – 2 – 2 – 3 /6 points
4. Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) – 4 - 2 - 4 – 3 – 4 – 4 / 4 points

Route des Princes

by Kate Jennings


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9:28 PM Sat 8 Jun 2013GMT

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