Paul Campbell-James, skipper of The Wave, Muscat has won the Extreme Sailing Series Trapani snatching the overall lead for the Series from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with the Championship title all to play for in Almeria in less than two weeks time.
The Medieval city of Trapani provided some of the best conditions and thrilling action of the year over the four day series with the seven-strong fleet thrilling the spectators with dramatic mark roundings, near pitchpoles and capsizes and match-racing duels as the fleet covered all corners of the Sicilian harbour.
Going into the final day, Paul Campbell-James
, skipper of The Wave, Muscat had a 16-point lead over second placed contender Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Campbell-James thrived in the 15-17 knot wind, posting two wins, two thirds and a sixth, during which they chased their French rivals down the fleet in an aggressive match-race in the five-race afternoon, crossing the finish line set within inches of the spectators.
But the real battle going on wasn't for the top spot… Four teams were in contention for the second and third podium positions: Groupama 40, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Ecover Sailing Team and Oman Sail Masirah, and none of them were giving up without a fight.
The four teams traded blows, before Groupama dropped out of the running, with two seventh places. And then there were three, but only two podium positions in their sights…
But it was Mike Golding's all British team onboard Ecover Sailing Team who, with dogged determination, improved as their day went on with aggressive starts and lucid tactical calls, posting two bullets in the final two races and take the final podium spot, squeezing out the French team Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, skippered by Yann Guichard, into a disappointing fourth.
Loick Peyron, skipper of Oman Sail Masirah was relieved to take the second place behind stablemate The Wave, Muscat, "It was up and down for us today, as we all know by now you have to win the starts, that is crucial to winning races. We were efficient on the water and the last race was good. I did make mistakes today and didn't win a duel against Trapani at one point but it is good to see the local team have a good last day. They have put on a great event.
"The real battle out there was between The Wave, Muscat and Groupe Edmond De Rothschild for the overall fight for the leaderboard. They are both great teams and it will be interesting to see how they respond in Almeria. In general the event was perfect, perfect for Masirah and perfect for Oman Sail. I am really impressed by The Wave Muscat, they have been really consistent all Series."
Golding commented, "A fantastic day really, a great recovery from yesterday and its a great feeling onboard the boat. We knew we had to go and do our own thing today, there was no advantage to us hunting any particular boat out we just wanted to stay safe and run our own race and see how it would pan out. We were hoping that one of the Oman boats would go hunting Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and I think that happened a little bit especially in the last race which helped our cause. It panned out really well for us and we're very pleased to be where we are at the end of today.
In terms of the overalls its good to see that we're still holing onto third that was important heading into Almeria, Its still incredibly close for those top spots going into the final event so who knows what will happen.
Trapani the Sailing Seacily's skipper, Gabriele Bruni was relegated to the spectator stand as he nursed his broken malleolus, sustained on day two of racing, and his brother, Azzura Skipper Francesco Bruni took his place. The team had a brilliant last day and a great final race when they were locked tight into a match racing duel with Campbell-James' The Wave, Muscat, before succumbing to the former Student World Match Racing Champion's moves and taking their best place of the whole event, a fourth.
"It is good fun watching the racing, but it is much better sailing the races! It is very nice view from here and the boats are really fast and I think for the public it is fantastic, I have never seen such a nice view from the shore, so I think the Extreme Sailing Series is a really nice concept of sailing and I like it even if my story I have always sailed with big, slow boats in the oceans and sailing this is really great, I've loved it."
The final event on the Extreme Sailing Series™ calendar kicks off in just ten days time when the Andalucian city will welcome the circuit for the second consecutive year for the Grand Finale.
With the top four boats separated by just four points for the overall title, nothing will be certain until the 12th of October when the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series™ Champion will be crowned.
Watch the action here from onboard the Extreme 40s here. Would you like to be in their shoes?: http://s3.amazonaws.com/ocgroup-dme-video/61.mov
and check out the results page here: http://www.extremesailingseries.com/results/trapani/
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2010 Overall Standings after Trapani
1. The Wave, Muscat 28 points
2. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 27
3. Ecover Sailing Team 25
4. Oman Sail Masirah 24
5. Groupama 40 12
6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing 12
7. The Ocean Racing Club 8
8. Team GAC Pindar 3
For more information visit: www.extremesailingseries.com