Early indications of how the French leg might go came when Holmatro capsized in 25 knots yesterday
The iShares Cup fleet of 11 Extreme 40s are readying themselves for Round 2 of the Extreme 40 Sailing Series in Hyeres (France), and preparing for some tough racing over the next three days.
An early indication of how testing the French leg of the circuit might be came yesterday, when Holmatro suddenly capsized whilst training in around 25 knots. Crewmember Mischa Heemskerk recalls what happened: “We were sailing with two reefs in the main so the boat was pretty under control, but we went for a bearaway, dug the nose in and the rudders came out of the water.
“Andreas [Hagara, helmsman] knew what was happening because he’d lost the steering, and I knew what was happening so I held on, but the other guys didn’t.”
Bowman Gerd Habermuller was sent flying into the water, hitting the boat on the way down. He was taken to hospital nearby for treatment but released later the same evening, and will be replaced by Ed van Lierde for the rest of the regatta.
Things calmed down a little for today’s informal races and media day, giving French star sailor Francis Joyon a chance to join the Extreme 40s for the first time. “It was a really great day! I discovered a new boat, learn how to steer it, how to allow it to fly. It’s powerful and fast, exactly what I like!” he enthused.
The round the world legend sailed on board iShares during training in the morning, before taking part in some informal races in the afternoon.
There will be more French interest on board iShares for the rest of the event, as cat champion Fred le Peutrec is part of the crew. Le Peutrec is downsizing from the 105ft trimaran ‘Groupama 3’, which he helmed on their Jules Verne round the world attempt last year.
It was also a chance to see the new French team, TWINS, on the water for the first time.
For the first day of racing tomorrow Friday June 13 around 20-25 knots of breeze is forecast from the north-west. Six races are scheduled tomorrow afternoon, starting at 2pm local time.
For further information on the series, visit www.iSharesCup.com .