British Basilica team clean up at second event in Extreme 40 iShare Cup 10/7/07

In 15-18 knots of wind Basilica, skippered by Robert Greenhalgh dazzled her competitors winning five out of the six races yesterday and firmly winning the Extreme iShares Cup, Marseille, taking her tally to two events out of the four event Extreme 40 Sailing Series.

While the entire fleet chose to reef their mains for the first race, Basilica struck out on her own, hoisted a full sail and carved a trail to victory stepping onto the podium ahead of Groupama and Holmatro. BT had an adventure of her own executing a glamorous nose-dive resulting in a near capsize.

The British boat crewed by Peter Greenhalgh, Justin Slattery and James Grant started nearly every race in front and never looked back, leading around the windward mark and extending until the finish, racking up 153 points.

Commenting on the win Peter Greenhalgh (one of the trimmers) said: “We were looking forward to a bit of breeze and knew that with some strong winds we could lay on the smack down. All of the sailing we’ve done in the past, like 18ft skiff sailing, has prepared us for high-power, full-on, intense racing which is what we had today. We have a good team, we’ve had more practice and we’re physically fit. We won 10 out of 15 races at the event, highlighting our strength in the stronger conditions. Cowes is the next event and we have the advantage of home water and will try to make it three iShares Cups in a row.”

After leading on day one, Franck Cammas’ Groupama, who put in a one-off appearance in Marseille, were suppressed into second overall and finished the event with 131 points and pleased with their performance. Cammas is enthused by the Extreme 40 class. “The passion put behind these boats is what drove us to take part in the iShares Cup, Marseille. We wanted to take a close look at the Extreme 40 and the stopover in Marseille was a great opportunity for us to do this. The entire Groupama team are delighted with our experience. It was a great test and adventure to race on these demanding, high-performing boats with no experience, against teams from other nations, with a constant breeze. These three days have given us a lingering taste of what the iShares Cup is all about, without a doubt we will be back to have another go in 2008!”

Shuffling up a place on the final day was Dutch team Holmatro. Crewmember Greg Homann hit the pontoon smiling. “We had a fantastic day sailing. In these boats it’s about getting your team co-ordination right and our crew work come together today. We had a reef in our main for most of the day but the results show that having a reefed sail is not necessarily a hindrance and that nailing your crew work and positioning your boat well is what counts. On a day like today, with a lot of wind it’s about instinct, survival and how you work the boat.” The team conclude the event with 126 points.

BT, the former Offshore Challenges Sailing Team, may have finished in fourth but had memorable day sailing. Skipper Nick Moloney relived the moment their boat performed a handstand for the crowd. “We came round the windward mark and Groupama came down on us so we had to swerve up out of the way and then quickly bear away again. On the bear away the bow got caught in a wave, we got the bow stuck in and started into a nosedive with the back of the boat kicking up out of the water. It all happened quite slowly. I had one arm around the hull hanging on and was watching Johnny slowly climbing up the now vertical trampoline towards me. When the boat settled back down again we all had a laugh had a bit of a cheer and then it was gennaker on and back in the race.”

The iShares Cup circuit continues in three weeks time stopping in Cowes from the 3-5 August at the start of Skandia Cowes Week with the added attraction of exhibition sailing from 7-9 August.