Stability and calm displayed aboard Edmond de Rothschild Group
The light airs dont appear to want to leave the Bay of Angels. Once again, the wind, which didnt exceed five knots, wasnt keen to play ball with the Extreme Sailing Series fleet. Despite all that, the race committee managed to run six races. Alternating between race victories and places towards the bottom of the scoreboard, Edmond de Rothschild Group didnt put up a consistent performance today, yet they have remained constant in the provisional standing for this seventh act. Indeed, Pierre Pennec and his three crew are in second place tonight, for the third day running.

For the third day of competition in the Nice Grand Prix, the Extreme 40s switched into stadium mode. The shorter courses were also closer to shore and the celebrated Promenade des Anglais. “The races in the marine stadium are formidable and really send your brain into overdrive! However, with the experience gained on the circuit over the past few years, we know that you have to remain positive and calm, because things can go either way at any point. Added to that, given the high quality of the line-up, you have to remain humble because it’s really difficult to hunt down the top spots,” admitted Pierre Pennec on his return to shore.

In this particular exercise, where the sailors’ nerves are really put to the test given the frequent contact between the boats, it was Terry Hutchinson’s men who were the top dogs. As such they’re heading the leaderboard in this evening’s provisional standing, to the detriment of Red Bull Sailing Team. For the men on the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, it was a very different day to yesterday, but solely in the way it went rather than the actual outcome. Indeed, as regards the overall ranking, they’re still putting up a thoroughly consistent performance: “Contrary to yesterday and the day before that, where our consistent performance midway up the leaderboard was evident, we’ve had uneven results today. We won two races and scored one second place and one third. That gave us results which are 50% positive and, crucially, enabled us to hold onto our second place, four points shy of the new leader,” explained the skipper from La Rochelle.

The sailors are used to reiterating the fact that in the Extreme Sailing Series, the start is crucial and decides 90% of the end results. However, on the race zone in Nice, which the eleven crews are trying to tame, things aren’t quite so clear-cut. Indeed, the light, random airs which have characterised the Nice Grand Prix since the event started, bring a few nuances to bear, as Pierre Pennec recalls: “The starts remain essential but the conditions which govern the race zone may well feature slightly more play than usual. Today, certain situations demonstrated that it’s possible to make up your deficit after an average start or, conversely, to lose a lot of places after timing the start perfectly. Good positioning isn’t everything here and, in these very light conditions, you also need to be successful at the right moment.”

Well placed to achieve a good result in this Grand Prix, with two days of racing to go, the men on the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild will have to be able to hack the pressure, which is continuing to rise. However, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group is tackling the remaining racing both calmly and constructively: “The crew has done a fantastic job today. Christophe was extremely pertinent and he gave me an excellent vision of the race zone. For my part, I messed up a bit in some of the contact phases. It’s something that needs to be quickly improved upon, especially give the fact that on this circuit, there are a lot of match racing specialists among our rivals, who can handle such elements of the game to perfection. In the light conditions, boat speed is key. Terry Hutchinson was on an absolute roll today and managed to helm whilst getting his head out of the boat a great deal too. That’s exactly where I need to progress.”

Tomorrow a big day awaits the crews competing in the Extreme Sailing Series. As was the case on Thursday, the race committee has opted for two sailing sessions; the first in the morning and the other at the usual time in the afternoon. The one-design catamarans will leave the port of Nice at around 0730 hours as the first race of the day is scheduled to take place one hour later. After a one hour break for lunch, Edmond de Rothschild Group and their rivals will be racing along the Promenade des Anglais again at 1400 hours.

Ranking for the Nice Grand Prix after the 3rd day

  1. Artemis Racing (SWE) - 134 points
  2. Edmond de Rothschild Group (FRA) - 130 points
  3. Alinghi (SUI) – 124.5 points
  4. Luna Rossa (ITA) - 122 points
  5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT) – 115.5 points
  6. Team GAC Pindar (GBR) - 113 points
  7. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ) - 100 points
  8. Oman Air (OMA) - 97 points
  9. Niceforyou (ITA) - 84 points
  10. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) - 80 points
  11. Team Extreme (EUR) - 77 points
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