For the five Alinghi teammates and the other seven teams in the running, this penultimate day of competition was synonymous with action and endurance. In wind of 13 to 20 knots, the race director Phil Lawrence launched eight races, each consisting of three laps of the course.
It must be admitted that the weather and conditions can be quite magical in Sydney Bay: the setting is sublime and the wind has allowed for a flying spectacle, sometimes epic, on each of the 17 races launched since Thursday.
Arnaud Psarofaghis, Alinghi's helm said: "With an average start on the first race of the day, we could only manage a 6th place. But we improved straightaway, picking up two 3rd places, two second and three wins. That meant we had the best of it out of all the fleet with 85 points added to our total. Red Bull also had a great day and moved ahead of Oman in the overall standings.
It is difficult to point out what really makes the difference between the teams, since we're all so close - indeed, five out eight have won in Sydney. For our part, we seek to navigate in a simple way, execute nice manoeuvres and concentrate on just running the boat. It seems that the strategy is paying off, in any case. Anyway, it's been a great day and we have the satisfaction of a job well done. Tomorrow we will continue in the same spirit."
After three days of racing, Alinghi is now six points ahead of Red Bull Sailing Team and 19 ahead of Oman Air. Not enough, however, to mean that the deal is done, given how radically things can change with one or two bad races. Especially since the last race of tomorrow will count for double points.
Nicolas Charbonnier, tactician said: "To prepare for the final day of racing, we will first try to rest to recover from a very physical day. We will do a debriefing session tomorrow morning to identify a few small improvements and then we will continue to methodically apply our strategy without focusing too much on our two main opponents, because the races come thick and fast, as does the distribution of points for doing well in them! If there is pressure, it just pushes us to give the best of ourselves."
The 2016 season will be settled this Sunday between 14:00 and 17:00 (local time, UTC + 11)
Prize-giving scheduled for 17:45 (local time, UTC + 11)
The general standings after 17 races (four of which were in the split-fleet format) are:
1st - Alinghi (SUI): 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 1st, 1st: 152 points
2nd - Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT): 1st, 6th, 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 4th, 5th: 146 points
3rd - Oman Air (OMA ): 3rd, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 7th, 6th, 4th: 133 points
Find all of the results in detail at http://www.extremesailingseries.com/results/2016-Sydney