NICE ULTIMED, A STARTING POINT

A grand Nautical Parade gathering together Sodebo Ultim’, IDEC SPORT and Actual-Grand Large Emotion, escorted by over 150 craft of all shapes and sizes, rounded off the first edition of the Nice UltiMed in style this Sunday. Jean-Baptiste Durier, Director of the Nice UltiMed, gives us an initial on-the-spot run-down of the event and discusses its future prospects… 

Sodebo Ultim’ vs IDEC SPORT: a thrilling mano a mano 

Jean-Baptiste Durier: “The duel between Sodebo Ultim’ and IDEC SPORT was breathtaking. For three days, both crews gave their all and the match race lasted right till the end, with very little separating them throughout the race and numerous leader changes. At the finish, there was less than an hour separating the two Ultimes over a 1,000-mile course. This is testament to the scale of this intense mano a mano, which the sailors really enjoyed.” 

An original “Offshore Sprint”

“This race format was co-built with the skippers. The inshore and offshore course marks were created in the transition zones with the aim of regularly reshuffling the cards. The disruptive aspect of offshore racing, which we fully embrace, is having to adapt the course with a second shortened circuit to ensure the public can witness the finish, in this instance on Saturday afternoon. We’re happy to have dared to pull this off and to have seen such big crowds at the finish.”

The locals out in force

“Getting the Ultimes to compete at the heart of the Mediterranean was a gamble. Together with Christian Estrosi and the City of Nice, we wanted to see if the magic would happen. Clearly, it paid off at the various meetings we lined up: the start of the Exhibition Run, the start of the main event and the Nautical Parade. Each time there were lots of people and evidently the spectators are interested in these boats because they were out in force to see the boats in port. The same was true of the Discovery Exhibition along the Promenade des Anglais, which was always full. Our mission was to share the extraordinary and to introduce a new public audience to sailing. To do that it seemed essential to us to venture further than a traditional “Partners’ Village” and to offer an ambitious exhibition with high-quality content.”

Nice, an amphitheatre for the sea

“The city of Nice has fantastic potential for hosting major offshore racing events. The Rauba Capeù promontory, between the Promenade des Anglais and the port, enables us to give the start from a point on land, which is quite unique. That means that the public can be assembled together and the boats pass within metres of the shore. If we add to that the 5km of the Promenade, which we can fit with a PA to turn it into the longest natural grandstand in the world, we can dream much bigger…”

Follow up the Nice UltiMed with something grand and wonderful 

“In Nice and with the Ultimes, there is the possibility to do some really great things. Together with the sailors, the boat owners, Christian Estrosi and the city of Nice, we share the desire to follow up the Nice UltiMed with something grand and wonderful. Despite the difficulties linked to the capsizes of Actual and Banque Populaire IX, all the protagonists played the game and I’d like to sincerely thank them. It is that approach that today enables us to dream bigger, a lot bigger.

The Tour de France a la Voile, the next major meeting in Nice

“For the fifth consecutive year, Nice will be the finish venue for the Tour de France a la Voile, on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 July. During the two days of Nautical Arena racing, around thirty or so Diam 24ods will be racing within metres of the public. We await Nice’s male and female sailors and spectators at this next major sail meet in Nice.”

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