Terry Hutchinson finds his mojo
The first day of ‘stadium’ racing of the Extreme Sailing Series in Nice, France, reshuffled the leaderboard with Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing going from fifth place yesterday to first today, after winning four of the six races at the halfway point of the competition. For Red Bull Extreme Sailing, who led over the first two days of ‘open water’ racing, it was the reverse as they tumbled to fifth, on a day they would rather put behind them ahead of the penultimate day tomorrow.
Nice opened up to the public today and the crowds that gathered to watch along the Promenade des Anglais and on the beach enjoying the action that came within 10m of the shore – cheering loudly for the French teams of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Team Extreme Nice Cote d’Azur.
Although Artemis Racing faltered in the first race of the day, running out of time to finish in the light airs, Hutchinson’s team with Nice-born Julien Cressant on bow, bounced back to win the next race and went on to win three more as the sea breeze filled in. In the final race of the day, he gave Ian Williams a lesson in match racing, forcing Williams to take the left-hand gate mark, so Artemis Racing could round what he saw as the more favourable right-hand end. Enjoying better pressure on the final upwind leg, Hutchinson’s team got ahead, dropping a tack on Williams and accelerating away to victory. However, Julien Cressant remained pragmatic: “Now we are first but only by four points ahead of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, so everything is tight and being first doesn’t mean anything in the Extreme Sailing Series where everything comes down to the last race for double points. We are taking one race at a time.”
Pierre Pennec’s French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild won the first race and although they didn’t get it all right today, finishing close to the back in three of the races, they did enough to hold onto their second place ranking. “It is an open battle with the top five as the points difference is very small and the level is very high,” said Pennec. “Artemis Racing sailed very well today and their strength is the starts, but we also see that they can finish last, so anything can happen. We still have two race days to go and what matters is to keep a cool head and to be in the game at the end of each day.”
At the start of racing today on the Baie des Anges, the Italian team of Luna Rossa had a 2.5 point lead over Alinghi, tonight that position in reversed with the Swiss team skippered by Tanguy Cariou and driven by Yann Guichard gaining the upperhand by the same amount of points.
Britain’s Ian Williams and his team on Team GAC Pindar retain sixth place in the standings, finishing the final race in second place – their best result of the day. “We are pleased that our performance picked up in this regatta,” said Williams. “We’ve had new sails fitted for Nice and I think that has made a big difference in our performance so we are pleased to have had a consistent day and to be in sixth place. Because we rotate our crew we always start a little slow while we are getting to know each other and we always improve as the regatta goes on and we are starting to get the crew mechanics going again. Once everyone gets comfortable in their positions that means that we can all get the head out of the boat more and start making better decisions.”
The Emirates Team New Zealand, led by Dean Barker, got back on track scoring a second and two third places in the opening races which was enough to elevate them up the rankings by two places. However, Ben Ainslie on Oman Air drop one place to eighth – the rookie skipper in Trapani, he is finding it hard going here, but racing against the more experienced Extreme 40 skippers, it’s not surprising. It is Oman Air’s stablemate, The Wave Muscat who are really struggling. Leigh McMillan’s team was the first team to win two events this season – Cowes and Trapani – and seemed to be on a roll. But the light air Mediterranean conditions seem to have thrown them off course. Can this team get back in the game going into the penultimate day?
The Extreme Sailing Series always delivers intense and close racing whatever the conditions, with the high scoring system providing plenty of points still to fight for over the final two days of stadium racing here in Nice.
Extreme Sailing Series Nice results after 18 races
Position / Team / Points
1st Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Julien Cressant, 134 points
2nd Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham 130 points
3rd Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey 124.5 points
4th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena 122 points
5th Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk 115.5 points
6th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mischa Heemrskerk / Andrew Walsh / Brian MacInnes 113 points
7th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Adam Beashel / Jeremy Lomas / Chris McAsey 100 points
8th Oman Air (OMA), Ben Ainslie / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari 97 points
9th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Stefano Rizzi / Daniele De Luca / Simone de Mari 84 points
10th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri 80 points
11th Team Extreme Nice Côte d’Azur (FRA), Jean-Pierre Dick / Jérémie Beyou / Billy Besson / Arnaud Jarlegant 77 points