Round two of the series goes to the wire, with a first for Oman Sail's Masirah

Typically for the iShares Cup, Round 2 went to the wire, with double points up for grabs in the final race. Oman Sail’s Masirah needed to finish higher than seventh place to secure overall victory with both James Spithill’s BMW Oracle Racing and Loick Peyron’s Oman Sail Renaissance both in contention.

Before start of play on the final day in Hyères-TPM, there were five front-runners all be in contention for the Round 2 iShares Cup title, including James Spithill onboard BMW Oracle Racing, Oman Sail boats of Masirah and Renaissance, and Franck Cammas on board Groupama.

The first two races saw the breeze change direction (south-west) and soften (6-8 knots) and it was Shirley Robertson (Team iShares) who led off the start line to score their first morale-boosting win of the regatta. BMW Oracle Racing and Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild (Yann Guichard) took second and third but the Oman Sail teams only managed fifth (Renaissance) and eighth (Masirah).

The next race saw order restored. Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild, first; Loick Peyron (Oman Sail Renaissance), who had to sit out yesterday’s racing due to a damaged rudder, second; and Oman Sail Masirah third.

Briton Mike Golding scored his best result of the event so far with a fourth place for Ecover: “We know we are new and we don’t want to put ourselves deliberately into a difficult situation,” said Golding. “But on the other hand if you want to make any impression on this high calibre fleet eventually you have to make some tough decisions and go in some places that are inherently dangerous to be!”

By race 4, there had been a change on the leader board – a victory from Spithill’s crew put them ahead of Peyron by 2 points. Pete Cumming’s crew were not making things easy for themselves with a seventh place but still maintained the top slot overall.

Going into the final ‘double points’ race Oman Sail Masirah needed to finish higher than seventh place to secure victory. No one was surprised to see James Spithill covering Loick Peyron at the start leaving them at the back of the fleet, but Spithill went on to helm a blinding final race to cross the finish line in first.

For Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Renaissance – they got back in the race but problems furling their gennaker ruined their chances. With those two teams covering each other early, this allowed Oman Sail’s Masirah to escape, and Pete Cumming and his crew crossed the finish line in third place taking Round 2 in emphatic form.

“Brilliant result – all last year we hoped we could do it but fell short. In the final race, we just kept our heads down, stayed focused and stayed out of trouble. We’ve got it right here and great to get this result,” said Pete Cumming, skipper Oman Sail Masirh.

“Chris and Mark did a great job at the back of the boat, and Freddie and I just backed them up best we could. It really felt that for the first time it has come together after our winter training in Oman. Last year we suffered from not keeping out of trouble – we’ve grown up a bit and know when to keep out of trouble and when to push.”

There was some compensation for BMW Oracle Racing though, after their result here in Round 2 they have now taken overall lead in the iShares Cup 2009 circuit. Oman Sail Masirah move into second place and Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild are in third. Next stop is Cowes from 1-3 August.

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