The Extreme 40s are getting ready to flex their seafaring muscles at the penultimate Act of the 2013 global Extreme Sailing Series in just one week presented by Land Rover.
Set against the backdrop of the world famous Promenade des Anglais, Nice, the French Riviera will provide the playground for the eight Extreme 40s including the home nation entry, the first club by ALL4ONE Racing Team from the 3-6 October.
This Act is all about putting valuable points on the leaderboard to set the teams up for the final clash in Florianópolis, Brazil.
Over the last two years, Nice has thrown everything at the teams from light and fickle breeze playing across the Bay of Angels to prevailing mistral winds, which saw gusts of over 30 knots last year. As the fleet head into the business end of the Series the pressure is on the teams to perform in all conditions as Alinghi's Morgan Larson, analyzed, "Nice will throw a variety of conditions at us and consistency, patience and staying cool will be the key. Hopefully we will have good winds that will showcase these exciting boats along the shore of an amazing city on the Cote d'Azur."
The Swiss America's Cup winners on Alinghi have, on paper at least, been the most consistent team this season as the only squad to finish at the podium at every Act. But it is Leigh McMillan, skipper of The Wave, Muscat, who has battled his way to the top of the Series leaderboard having won four of the five Acts this year, managing to put one point between them and longstanding Series rivals Alinghi in the UK leg of the sporting spectacle just four weeks ago in front of a patriotic Welsh crowd in Cardiff. "Nice is absolutely crucial going into Brazil. We need stay within a point of Alinghi and in the worst-case scenario it will come down to who-beats-who in Brazil. Generally speaking when the pressure is on, we rise to the challenge.
SAP Extreme Sailing Team were one team with a very clear goal at the start of the season: to finish on the Series podium, and with three top three finishes this year, the Danish-duo have carved themselves out a decent pathway. Their co-skipper Rasmus Køstner spoke about the team's focus. "We had a slow start in the beginning of the season so we don't have the luxury of taking our foot off the throttle. The key thing in Nice will be consistency and being able to stay out of traffic. The boats are sailing fast and the moment you get tangled up with other competitors you are in one-on-one battles for positioning, races can be lost and won on this basis."
The Danes are just two points behind third placed Red Bull Sailing Team on the overall Series leaderboard. The double Olympic gold medallists have recruited the talents of Kinley Fowler, fresh from victory yesterday at the golden gate's of San Francisco with Oracle Team USA at the 34th America's Cup.
Skipper Roman Hagara commented, "It is great to have Kinley in the team now. He was one of the key players in the AC for Oracle Team USA and thats what we expect from him in Nice as well."
The formidable Frenchman Pierre Pennec will take the helm of Realteam in Nice after an impressive return to the Series at Act 5 Porto where he helped the Swiss multihull lake champions to their first podium position this year. Pennec won the Act in Nice in 2012 at the helm of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and will be hoping he can transfer that golden touch to Realteam.
Another team hoping their experience on the French Stadium will stand them in good stead is the local entry 'the first club by ALL4ONE'. Laden with Extreme 40 and multihull prowess, the team led by Extreme 40 heavyweight Jean-Christophe Mourniac, will dive in amongst the Stadium Racing battleground as the invitational team.
Nice will also see the return of the regular GAC Pindar crew who will head to France fired up for the fight, fresh from their second place at the Red Bull Youth America's Cup. Skipper Will Tiller is focused on the glory of the podium, "Having finished second it definitely has made us hungrier coming back into the Extreme Sailing Series and to want to do better and push the top teams harder. We have the equipment to pull off a podium finish at one of the remaining two events of the season and that is exactly what we as a team will be striving to do."
Another Kiwi young gun leading his team to combat is Phil Robertson on ChinaSpirit who made their 'Stadium Racing' debut in Cardiff.
Four days of racing and up to 32 races are planned for the Extreme 40s and thousands of spectators are expected to flock to the Promenade des Anglais to watch as 40 of the world's most elite sailors spanning 10 nationalities flaunt their worth in front of onlookers not only on shore, but following the action LIVE online from 15:00-16:00 BST/16:00-17:00 CEST 4-6 October at www.extremesailingseries.com