A Friday weather window has opened up for Groupama 3’s attempt on the Marseille to Carthage record, so Franck Cammas’ services are required aboard the big beast – that means that Gildas Philippe is taking the helm of the little beast – Groupama’s X-40 – in the Venice round of the iShares Cup. Gildas, who hails from Douarnanez, France, ranked 5th in the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 in a 470, and has been a Groupama 2 crew member since 2005. When it was announced that he would replace Cammas, Gildas said “As far as the Extreme 40 Groupama is concerned, it’s a sports boat that I’m just discovering. Nevertheless, I’ve sailed quite a lot on a Tornado, which is fairly similar, as well as a 60 foot multihull. As such things should go alright.”
They did; in three practice races today, Gildas’ Groupama was one of three boats that came ashore with a win, along with Gitana and Oman Sail’s Masirah. Our pals at BMW Oracle didn’t score and Jimmy Spithill remarked on the high standard of the competition: "Being in Venice is breathtaking and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed that first day. After having taken part in the Cowes event last year, I can say that the level is remarkably higher than it was in 2008, and it’s very hard to single out a team as several are right up there and can expect to win." Pic of the action on BMWO is from Thierry Martinez , though it seems half the sailing photogs jumped at the chance to go to Venice for the weekend, so check out more pics from Thierry, Ingrid Abery, and Mark Lloyd here.