Oman AIR MOD70 leads the Route des Prince multihull fleet


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Out of the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic, the Oman AIR MOD70 led the Route des Prince multihull fleet through the Straits of Gibraltar on the first leg from Valencia to Lisbon.

That added another bonus point to the two which Sidney Gavignet and a crew which includes Neal McDonald and Damian Foxall picked up for rounding first the turning mark off Benicarlo north of Valencia on Sunday.

Gavignet and the 70-foot trimaran, also called Musandam, have held the lead for most of the time since then from Yann Guichard on Spindrift.

The fleet will be boosted in Lisbon to nine, four 70s, four 50s and the 80-foot scratch boat Prince de Bretagne, for inshore racing at the weekend before leaving on the second leg, round the Fastnet Rock and then north to Dublin.

In San Francisco, the organisers have decided to refund all the money from ticket sales until 5 August for the Louis Vuitton Cup elimination trials for the America’s Cup in September. This is in recognition of the fact that, although the Swedish challenger Artemis is included in the racing schedule, the team has announced that it may not be ready to race until 5 August.

And that depends on the new boat being deemed to be safe after it earlier 72-foot wing-powered catamaran crashed while training on San Francisco Bay, leading to the death of British Olympic gold and silver medallist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.

The compromise has annoyed the boss of Emirates Team New Zealand, who has said he would like to see all racing postponed until 19 July and modified to allow just one elimination series including Italy’s Prada-backed Luna Rossa. Racing, at the rate of one a week, is due to start on 7 July between ETNZ and Luna Rossa.

This sparked an angry response from Artemis ceo Paul Cayard and prompted a posting by the Golden Gate Yacht Club vice-commodore Tom Ehman – also a leading participant in America’s Cup Event Authority discussion - of a rule which forbids anyone damaging the reputation of the America’s Cup.