[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] Act 7 of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series™ global tour is just around the corner, as some of world’s best sailors prepare to descend once again on to the shores of Nice, France, for the penultimate Act in the battle for the 2014 crown. The event will be broadcast live online to fans around the world from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th October 1530-1700 local time (GMT+2) daily, and nationally in France on Canal Sport+ on Saturday and Sunday.
Three Act victories so far this year puts Alinghi top of the Series leaderboard, and the Swiss team, helmed by Morgan Larson, will welcome back Olympic champion Anna Tunnicliffe as tactician in Nice. Tunnicliffe, a two-times ISAF World Sailor of the Year knows all about the pressure of competing and spoke about the team’s focus for the Act. “The fleet is very strong, especially now towards the end of the season. Every point counts. The smallest mistake costs a lot on the scoreboard. Our main goal is to win the Act. We can’t just focus on one boat, there are too many good teams on the course.”
Just one point behind Alinghi is The Wave, Muscat fresh from a second place at the last Act in Istanbul just two weeks ago. As defending champion of not only the Series but also the Nice Act, the team’s British helmsman Leigh McMillan knows what it takes to win on the French Riviera. “Nice can be a whole variety of conditions, so we have to be ready for anything. We just need to continue the form we have had for the last two events. We are always improving and working well as a team, so more of the same is the aim.” Looking at the bigger picture, McMillan continued: “The events are too long with too many races to be concerned with one boat, but as the end approaches, we will have Alinghi in our sights.”
Following fantastic form in Istanbul that saw the Kiwis take their first Act win of the year, you wouldn’t bet against Emirates Team New Zealand, who will be reinforced by Glenn Ashby as well as Pete Burling and Blair Tuke – a duo who are quickly earning a reputation as the hottest property in sailing right now. “We know that anything can happen in Nice and we will look to get as much out of the training day as possible, that hopefully will set us up for a good week of racing. Pete is taking turns at the helm with Dean (Barker) throughout the season and this crew rotation is something we decided at the beginning of the year to try different onboard configurations with the different guys, which is working out well. We go into Nice with the intention of keeping a podium position with 2 Acts to go”, said bowman Jeremy Lomas.
The British team J.P. Morgan BAR is currently leading the second half of the fleet, where the battle is just as close, with just nine points separating the Brits in fifth place, from Groupama sailing team in tenth, with SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Oman Air, Gazprom Team Russia and Red Bull Sailing Team all sandwiched between them. J.P. Morgan BAR’s trimmer, Nick Hutton, who won the Series in 2010, spoke about the importance of a good result in the French Riviera. “We have been addressing what worked and what didn’t so we can move things forward, ready to come back fighting in Nice. It’s the second to last event in the Series, there’s not much time left to get the points in the bag and we want to deliver – it’s a great venue and we are looking forward to some solid racing.”
Groupama sailing team will be back to full strength welcoming their skipper Franck Cammas back to the fray, who missed Act 6 whilst competing in the Nacra 17 ISAF World Championships in Santander, Spain. Tactician Tanguy Cariou spoke about what to expect from their home waters: “Nice will offer a new racecourse and some different conditions from all the other Acts this season. The last two years the winds have been very strong so who knows what might happen this year! Nice is also a beautiful city and it will be very interesting to expose both the boats and the Stadium Racing to the French public.”