Extreme Sailing Series Nice: Denmark’s Realteam lead at the halfway stage

 

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The Independent Online

Nice, Riviera favourite of the British for over 100 years, was almost too nice for the second day running of the Extreme Sailing Series but revelling in the extended summer conditions was Denmark’s Realteam, still leading at the halfway stage.

Unfortunately, the better the weather forecast the less extreme are the wind conditions, meaning more danger from snakes than the likelihood of triumphal ladders and if you pick up a couple of penalties, as Leigh McMillan and his crew on The Wave, Muscat, did, then the catch-up is even harder.

Uncharacteristically, McMillan is lying seventh, seven points behind Ben Ainslie Racing in fifth but then a gap is developing to the top four. Ainslie was also having a mixed day with a good win to offset to back half of the fleet results.

Fourth of the top four is Alinghi, which pushed The Wave all the way to a countback for last season’s championship and came to Nice with a slender one-point lead after the opening six regattas. With the likelihood of another 15 races over the second two days – though forecast rain for Sunday could lead to a soggy end – the regatta is still wide open. Just three points separate Emirates team New Zealand, winner last time out in Istanbul with Dean Barker on the helm but with Peter Burling and Blair Tuke alternating, from Team Russia and Alinghi.

“It was tough, up and down day with some good results and some bad results,” said a slightly frustrated McMillan on the dock but adding “there is still all to play for.”

The first in-port race of the Volvo round the world race is scheduled for Saturday in Alicante, from where the seven boats start the first leg to Cape Town a week later.

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