On the penultimate day of the Extreme Sailing Series Act 7 in Nice, the 11 Extreme 40 boats were out racing early to take advantage of the northerly gradient coming off the land.
The fleet was set 'open water' courses on the Bay of Angels in a good 9-10 knots of breeze. There was a moment of drama when Red Bull Extreme Sailing
mainsheet trimmer Hans Peter Steinacher went overboard with a rope caught around his ankle. He then collided with the rudder suffering a cut to his head and was dragged along behind the boat before Hagara's crew could stop and get him back on board - they were leading the race at the time.
It was the Alinghi
team Tanguy Cariou, Yann Guichard, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey who scored two race wins to move them into second overall. "The morning racing it was good and we had good starts, good tactics and good speed so we are happy,"
said Cariou. "We know that we already had some good starts in the previous events and we know that until the last race with the double points it is not over. We will keep an eye on the leaderboard and try not to lose too many points so we are in a position to win the event tomorrow afternoon."
With 11 points for a race win (22 points in the final race on the final day tomorrow) there are plenty of points still up for grabs - depending on the wind and the number of races staged on the final day. It's still all to play for and it is the all-French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild
_ who go into the final day leading the Nice rankings, ahead of Alinghi
and Artemis Racing.
The French crowds will have plenty to cheer about - especially if the all-French team led by Pierre Pennec score they second win of the 2011 season. "We find ourselves being in the first half of the fleet so we are leading ahead of the last day,"
said Pennec. "We know other teams will come after us and we are ready. I would love to win this Act being a French team in France but I never forget our main objective, which is to win the 2011 season."
Only one race was completed in the stadium racing in the afternoon in an extremely light 3-knot sea breeze. In the very light airs, the Extreme 40 sailors crawled around the boats, trying to make as little movement as possible that could stop any forward motion, reducing the number of manoeuvres on the race course was essential. Luna Rossa
went from potential winner to loser, incurring a penalty from the umpires for a port/starboard on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild
, letting Terry Hutchinson's Artemis Racing
sail away for a win. In the light airs, the fleet arrived at the finish tightly bunched together, practically having to fend off contact. Britain's Ben Ainslie was the most frustrated skipper by the end of the play - if he was a tennis player, he would have smashed his racket on the net numerous times! Oman Air
was given a penalty by the on-water umpires for not giving Groupe Edmond de Rothschild
space at the mark. They finished the race, crossing the line in second place, but without completing a penalty turn they were ranked as a non-finisher.
Extreme Sailing Series Act 7, Nice, France standings after 23 races (1.10.11)
Position / Team / Points
1. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec 173 points
2. Alinghi (SUI) Tanguy Cariou.5 points
3. Artemis Racing (SWE) Terry Hutchinson 169 points
4. Luna Rossa (ITA) Max Sirena 152 points
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) Roman Hagara 143.5 points
6. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker 139 points
7. Oman Air (OMA) Ben Ainslie 132 points
8. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams 124 points
9. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan 109 points
10. Niceforyou (ITA) Alberto Barovier 100 points
11. Team Extreme Nice Côte d'Azur (FRA) Jean-Pierre Dick 89 points