COWES WEEKIN THE fourth race on the second day of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 from Cowes yesterday (Sunday), France’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild ploughed into Sweden’s Artemis Racing at the top mark resulting in severe damage to both boats — bad enough to end their racing for the day.
The breezy conditions on the second day, with 20 to 25 knots steady breeze with bigger gusts earlier in the day, meant the 12-boat fleet was split into two groups of six and raced with reefed mainsails and no gennakers.
The first group raced three races and the action was pretty spectacular as the Extreme 40 crews manhandled their boats around the tight stadium racecourse off Egypt Point, Cowes.
It was in the first race for the second group the collision happened between Artemis Racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.
Artemis Racing, helmed by Santiago Lange, tacked in for the top mark on to starboard in front of Groupe Edmond to Rothschild, who were on port. Artemis Racing went through the tack and Pierre Pennec attempted to bear away around her stern, but the boats crashed — with two of the French crew thrown into the water.
The impact was heard by thousands of spectators along the shore — a record crowd in the history of the event — who have been experiencing amazing close-up Stadium Racing all afternoon. As a matter of course, the jury will hold a hearing in the morning.
Artemis Racing has severe damage to the rear of their port hull and immediately called for a pump as they returned to the dock. Later Santi Lange was transferred to shore for stitches.
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild has sustained serious damage to their port bow and made their way slowly back under tow to the pitlane.
It is the two British helmsman of Paul Campbell-James (Luna Rossa) and Leigh McMillan (The Wave, Muscat) who are sitting pretty at the top of the overall leaderboard, clearly using their knowledge of 'home’ waters to the best of their abilities.
Despite missing three races this afternoon, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild are still in third place.
The Swiss team of Alinghi, Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Team GAC Pindar, skippered by Britain’s Ian Williams, are all tied on 42 points.