Not so nice Nice
Gathered together on the race zone in Nice for the opening day of the sixth Grand Prix of the season, the crews competing in the Extreme Sailing Series finally returned to port without getting a single race under their belts. Indeed the scheduled E’ly breeze of between 17 and 22 knots packed more of a punch than forecast, forcing the Race Committee to cancel the races programmed this afternoon. Tomorrow breezy conditions are set to colour proceedings once again and this evening the organisers were waiting to see how the weather situation evolves before making a decision.

A number of the sailors competing in the Extreme Sailing Series still have memories of last year’s light airs Grand Prix in Nice. Indeed the vast majority of the races took place in virtually no wind, which meant that the Race Committee were compelled to schedule in some morning races; a previously unheard of procedure. However, this afternoon the Baie des Anges showed the competitors a very different side: 25 knots of established E’ly breeze and gusts in excess of 30 knots, not to mention a considerable swell, which ended its days washing up on the long beach which extends along the famous Promenade des Anglais. These very boisterous conditions were deemed unfit for play for the one-design catamarans.

Bernard Labro, bowman on the catamaran Edmond de Rothschild Group, explained the situation on the race zone and applauded the decision taken by the Extreme Sailing Series’ Race Committee: “The wind and sea conditions were tricky for sailing today. The combination of a strong wind and big seas initially made things difficult for the Race Committee, which was setting our courses. Despite several attempts, they couldn’t set the marks properly and they kept coming free or drifting. It was complicated for us too in terms of boat handling. Upwind the situation was manageable but the minute we tried to bear away or gybe we were on the edge, as the boat didn’t really follow instructions. In such conditions, there’s always a risk of breakage or even capsize so the Committee’s decision was the right one.”

Back on shore earlier than planned, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group were keen to make the most of the change of programme to organise a special session: “Our physical trainer, Laurent Buttafoghi, is in Nice and has scheduled in a recovery session to keep us in shape for the upcoming races we’re hoping to be able to contest tomorrow.”

Tomorrow, weather permitting, the Extreme Sailing Series fleet will be sailing in Nice’s nautical arena between 1200 and 1530 UTC. Let’s hope that the wind will be somewhat tamer in the Baie des Anges so as the eight competing crews can get down to business on the racecourse.

Provisional standing for the Extreme Sailing Series after five Grands Prix
  1. The Wave Muscat – 48 points
  2. Red Bull Sailing Team – 42 points
  3. Oman Air – 41 points
  4. Edmond de Rothschild Group - 36 points
  5. GAC Pindar - 28 points
  6. SAP Extreme Sailing Team - 24 points
  7. Alinghi – 22 points
  8. Zoulou - 19 points

The crew of the Extreme Edmond de Rothschild Group

Pierre Pennec (Skipper / Helmsman),

Arnaud Psarofaghis (trimmer and traveller),

Hervé Cunningham (headsail trimmer),

Bernard Labro (bowman)

Romain Petit (trimmer)

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