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Five IMOCA 60s took part with French round the world racer legend Marc Guillemot competing with talented Figaro sailor Morgan Lagravière, who is to take over from Guillemot as Safran’s new skipper from 2015. British skipper Alex Thomson was entered aboard his latest Hugo Boss (ex-Virbac Paprec 3) with Spanish round the world sailor Pepe Ribes, but due to the arrival of his second child, Thomson made the decision to hand over to American skipper Ryan Breymaier. Their campaign was made no easier when they dismasted en route to the start. Fortunately the crew was able to repair the rig at record pace, making it to New York four days before the start.

Spain was well represented by the race’s only mixed crew – Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin, both competitors in the last Barcelona World Race. Spain’s most capped round the world sailor Guillermo Altadill was back on board Team Neutrogena, which he originally skippered when it was launched as Estrella Damm in 2007. He was joined by José Muñoz, the first occasion a Chilean had ever competed in an IMOCA race.

The race was also the first outing for the newest addition to the IMOCA fleet, Spirit of Hungary, marking Hungarian Nandor Fa’s return to the class, following a 17 year absence, joined on board by Marcel Goszleth. Sadly due to delays to the boat’s launching, it only arrived into New York the day before the start. Spirit of Hungary took the start line but then immediately returned to port, and retired, the boat needed some maintenance and further preparation work to be ready for its ongoing programme.

Furthermore the race was the first occasion IMOCA 60s have carried media crewman on board in a major event, fulfilling one of OSM’s key objectives to improve the quality of the media material coming off the boats.

Followers of the race got a taste of things to come in the Prologue from Newport to New York, the weekend before the start, when Team Neutrogena beat Safran Sailing Team by just 1 minutes and 25 seconds.

IMOCA OCEAN MASTERS NEW YORK TO BARCELONA FINAL PRIZEGIVING

This Friday, 20th June at the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona, the prizegiving ceremony for the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race took place. The double-handed race across the North Atlantic represented an exceptional start to the new IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship.

This new race co-organised by Open Sports Management (OSM) and the Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona (FNOB – Barcelona Ocean Sailing Foundation) provided the crews with a challenging course and the opportunity to train for other IMOCA Ocean Master World Championship events coming up later this year: the Route du Rhum and the Barcelona World Race.

 

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Maite Fandos, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona and President of FNOB: “This year Barcelona is the world capital of ocean sailing”

• Sir Keith Mills, Chairman of OSM: “This was a fantastic new event that forms part of the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championships and I’m also looking forward to the start of the Route du Rhum and the Barcelona World Race – an action packed year for the class.”

The event was attended by Maite Fandos, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona and President of the FNOB, with Sir Keith Mills, President of OSM, as well as Jean Kerhoas, President of the IMOCA Class, who between them awarded the main prizes.

Enrique Corominas, President of the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona hosted the event. Local dignitaries in attendance included: Miquel Valls, President of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Simón Sánchez from Hugo Boss Watches, Gerard Esteva, Vice President of the Union of Catalan Sporting Federations and President of the Catalan Sailing Federation and Barcelona City Council’s Àngels Esteller.

Fandos welcomed the five teams and confirmed that the event “has cemented a relationship that will surely stand the test of time”.

“New York and Barcelona are now united by the ocean. This year Barcelona is the world capital of ocean sailing and on 31st December this year, the city will be an international focal point and you will all be the stars once again.”

Sir Keith Mills added: “I am satisfied that this has been a fantastic event: we’ve had five IMOCA 60 racing boats, 10 skippers, five nationalities and three media crew… and we have been able to raise the profile of and attract significant interest in the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship in the media, from sponsors and the general public. The support has been huge and I’d like to thank everyone involved in this success. I’m really looking forward to the start of the next events, including the Route du Rhum and, of course, the Barcelona World Race, which starts at the end of the year”.

The winner’s trophy for this first edition of the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race was sculpted in glass by British artist Paul Critchley. There was great applause when the prize was awarded to the winning team: Hugo Boss, with co-skippers Pepe Ribes and Ryan Breymaier. Hugo Boss arrived in Barcelona on Sunday, 15th June at 20:54:30 local time, taking just over 14 days to complete the 3,720 mile long course from New York.

“It’s a great source of pride to win this race, because it was very competitive and tough, but we pushed it to the limit the whole way and we’ve been rewarded with a win,” said Ribes. “Also, finishing the race in Barcelona, the city I live in, was something very special and it’s always a bonus.” Breymaier added that he had felt a very warm welcome from Barcelona when the pair arrived: “Barcelona’s my favorite European city.”

Four hours later, Team Neutrogena sailed by Spain’s Guillermo Altadill and Chilean José Muñoz arrived, after a very tight battle with Hugo Boss throughout the entire race.
“The regatta went very well for us in terms of testing and preparing the boat for the Barcelona World Race”, said Altadill.

As he was awarded the prize today he added: “The competition was the ideal test for the whole team and the boat. After this I’m really looking forward to starting the Barcelona World Race.” Muñoz also highlighted the demanding nature of the race, his own personal satisfaction with his IMOCA class début and the great dynamic he has formed with seasoned round the world sailor Altadill.

Co-skippers Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín arrived in third aboard GAES Sailing Team. The 15 day long race provided great experience for the crew. “We are very happy because we confirmed that both the crew and the boat have great potential,” said Marìn. Corbella added: “Setting off from the unrivaled backdrop of New York, picking up strong winds in the Atlantic and sailing close alongside our rivals, all the way home to Barcelona… As a sailor, I don’t think I could ask for much more.”

This race was the first scoring event in the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship and is also the first event organised by Open Sports Management, Sir Keith Mills’ sports marketing company based in Lausanne, Switzerland, which holds the commercial rights to the IMOCA class. The IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race was co-organised by the FNOB and the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Prizes Awarded: 

Prize for the best Media Crew Member: Awarded by His Excellency Miquel Camps, President of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, to Andrés Soriano on Neutrogena.

Prize for the largest distance covered in 24 hours: Awarded by Simon Sánchez from Hugo Boss Watches, to co-skippers Pepe Ribes and Ryan Breymaier on Hugo Boss.

Special Award to Spirit of Hungary: Awarded by Gerard Esteva, Vice-President of the Union of Catalan Sporting Federations and President of the Catalan Sailing Federation, to co-skippers Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth.

Special Award to Safran Sailing Team: Awarded by the illustrious Àngels Esteller, Council woman for Barcelona City Council, to co-skippers Marc Guillemot and Morgan Lagravière.

Prize for third place to GAES Centros Auditivos: Awarded by Jean Kerhoas, President of the IMOCA Class, to co-skippers Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín and the Media Crew Member Enrique Cameselle.

Prize for second place to Neutrogena Sailing Team: Awarded by Sir Keith Mills, President of OSM, to co-skippers Guillermo Altadill and José Muñoz and Media Crew Member Andrés Soriano.

Prize for first place to Hugo Boss: Awarded by Maite Fandos, Fourth Deputy Mayor of Barcelona and Councillor for Quality of Life and Sport at the Barcelona City Council, to co-skippers Pepe Ribes and Ryan Breymaier, with Media Crew Member Chris Museler.

Final result for the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race:

1.- Hugo Boss – Pepe Ribes (ESP) / Ryan Breymaier (USA)
Finish at Barcelona: 15-06-2014, at 20h 54m 30s local time
Time taken from New York: 14d 02h 44m 30s
2.- Team Neutrogena– Guillermo Altadill (ESP) / José Muñoz (CHI)
Finish at Barcelona: 16-06-2014, at 01h 05m 17s local time
Time taken from New York: 14d 06h 55m 17s
3.- GAES Sailing Team– Anna Corbella (ESP) – Gerard Marín (ESP)
Finish at Barcelona: 16-06-2014, at 15h 53m 45s local time
Time taken from New York: 14d 21h 42m 45s
Retired: Safran – Marc Guillemot (FRA)-Morgan Lagravière (FRA)
Retired: Spirit of Hungary – Nandor Hace (HUN)- Marcell Goszleth (HUN)

EVENT WEBSITE
www.oceanmasters.com

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LIVE TRACKER:
http://oceanmasters-nytobcn.geovoile.com/2014/app/flash/

WORLD OF OCEAN MASTERS
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http://www.oceanmasters.com/pages/world-of-ocean-masters

IMOCA_ 2014_Ocean_Masters_Charity _ George_Bekris_07

Safran (Photo by George Bekris)

The monohull Safran, skippered by Marc Guillemot and Morgan Lagravière, has been forced to abandon while leading the Transat New York to Barcelona Race.

Last night, at around 0200hrs (French time), during a manoeuver in 35-40 knots of wind, Guillemot fell and suffered a serious blow. He has probably broken some ribs.

At 1500, the boat docked at Puerto Sherry, the port in Cadiz, Spain and Guillemot has gone to hospital for a diagnosis.

They said:

Marc Guillemot: “Abandoning is one injury that always hurts and it’s hard to accept but we are very happy with how we’ve done in the race. Morgan was really assured in looking after the boat. I’m not in very good condition. We are abandoning despite not wanting to.

“There was the (rough) sea, 30-35 knots of wind and there was a big wave. The boat reared up, and I did too, but the boat is heavier and it came back down faster. I found myself one meter above it and then crashed on to the edge of the headsail furler. Fortunately, Morgan saw that something was happening and he was able help me get back to the cockpit. I was doubled over. Once I was safe, he got the boat in a position to continue sailing to Gibraltar.”

Morgan Lagravière: “I saw it happening 10 meters from me. I was at the stern of the boat and Marc was on the bow. I was very scared because I was sure he was going to end up in the water. The waves were so huge that I thought he was a goner. Then he was in a state of shock, I had to drag him to the stern so it was really painful for him. Once he was sitting in the cockpit, he was suffering a lot. I managed the crisis. We managed to tack away to give me some shelter as I went to repair the (furling) reel. We talked about me finishing the race solo with Marc in his bunk and that we could still beat the others. But he was in too much pain. He and I have decided to abandon the race because we don’t know what is causing his pain: if it is a broken rib that could puncture something else, and then it gets complicated. We prefer to have a more accurate diagnosis. It was very intense for me last night…damn hard.

“The overall analysis (of the race) is still positive, as we came to work hard and we are super happy with the work we have done and the partnership we formed. We led the race from start to finish and we were still in the lead. It looked like we would win. We will have good memories even if abandoning is not easy to accept.”

Safran

Photo by Christophe Favreau

Photo by Christophe Favreau

 

(Photos Christophe Favreau)

For someone who is not a professional sailor, to go on a trip on an IMOCA 60 is a rare privilege. Charlotte Guillemot and Christophe Favreau, two of the communications team members of Open Sports Management (OSM), event organisers of the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race, were both able to take part in the prologue race between Newport, Rhode Island, and New York.

For Guillemot (daughter of Safran skipper Marc’s cousin) and Favreau, this provided them with a clearer idea of the work of the on board ‘media crewmen’ who, for the transatlantic race, are charged with writing and sending in blogs, taking great photos and video footage and then transferring these across to the comms team back ashore in Barcelona. During the race the media crewmen will also answer any specific team and media requests made during the race – the first time the IMOCA Ocean Masters circuit has featured a dedicated on board media person during a major offshore race. Their objective is clear: to use the various media to provide followers of the race a glimpse of what life is like on board these extreme yachts as they experience ‘life on the inside’, something that the skippers sometimes struggle to achieve while they focus on trying to race their boats as fast as possible.

 

Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin, GAES Skippers study the routing (Photo by Christophe Favreau

Morgan Lagraviere on the bow  (Photo by Christophe Favreau)

Breathtaking arrival into New York   (Photo by Christophe Favreau)

French photo journalist Christophe Favreau, was on board Team GAES and shared his impressions of the voyage from Newport to New York overnight on Saturday: “The first thing I will remember from this experience is that one has to remain constantly attentive and not be distracted by the incredible environment around you.

To sail onboard an IMOCA 60 is amazing, but you have to be careful not to forget that before taking any enjoyment out of it, the media guy has to work, to take images that will allow him to share the story about a pair of skippers racing across the Atlantic.

Photo and video camera in hand, it is all about finding the best angles that show the intensity that goes into racing a complex yacht such as this. Fortunately conditions were relatively manageable with never more than 15 knots of wind and calm seas that made the work relatively easy for me during the 150 mile race. It even allowed me to climb the mast to get a little height for my shooting, but it is easy to imagine that it would become much more complicated when the weather turns bad and the boat starts to slam into the waves with a violent action. Added to the difficulty of taking images is then the discomfort of working inside the boat. These IMOCA 60s are very rigid and solid and they quickly become uncomfortable and very noisy on board.

The second point that I think is important is to ensure the skippers ‘forget that you are there’. Under the race rules each media man is prohibited from helping the sailing crew race the boat. They must not interfere with any of the manoeuvre, even if things go wrong! They have to embed himself into the crew, and to join in the rhythm of the team – a rhythm that often can be fast and challenging and to react to whatever conditions are thrown at him.

During the prologue race on board GAES, we caught a fishing net and one of the team had to dive overboard to release it. So you have to react quickly, take photos and film as that’s an important story to tell, which shows that it is not always plain sailing on board – you have to stay alert and ready at all times, something that will be tough after a few days at sea when the tiredness starts to creep up on you..!”

Photo by Christophe Favreau

Photo by Christophe Favreau

French video reporter Charlotte Guillemot, was on board Safran for the Prologue race :

Watch and film, be everywhere, without interfering in anything’. If I had a motto for the media person, that would be it. 

For me, to be in the right place at the right time, my sailing experience is always a great advantage : To know the boat well, its way of moving, understanding the different manœuvres, hoisting sails, understanding the crew intentions, in short pretty much becoming part of the team.

The technical terms used during sailing can be complicated and in the height of a race there is no time to explain to you what is going to happen with each move. It is up to you to be in the place you need to be and absolutely vital that you don’t get in the way. While capturing footage you absolutely mustn’t get in the way.

The media man is not allowed to get involved in any of the racing, but that does not alleviate the fact that life on board an IMOCA 60 at times is very uncomfortable. These are tough spartan boats that are built for speed, with no creature comforts and you feel that – even as the media guy. You have to share a communal bunk, eat freeze dried food, and the facilities for washing and the toilet are basic in the extreme !

But even given all that, this trip on Safran was a privilege for me. To be part of this great team, to feel almost like a proper part of the crew, but in particular to be the eyes of the people who will see the footage I shoot – this was an incredible experience.”

I’ve had a taste of offshore sailing, while doing my filming job and I want more !!

 

 

Neutrogena Wins Prologue (Photo courtesy of Ocean Masters NYBCN )

Neutrogena Wins Prologue (Photo courtesy of Ocean Masters NYBCN )

On a stunning day in New York City, with clear blue skies and a light 6-8 knot breeze, the Neutrogena Sailing Team, with co-Skippers Spaniard Guillermo Altadill and Chilean José Muñoz and their additional crew members won the prologue race by a mere 1 minute and 25 seconds over the French Safran Sailing Team. The race committee elected to shorten course and finish the race at the Verrazzano Suspension Bridge due to the lack of wind in the Hudson River.

As predicted the wind was extremely variable throughout the race, making it a tough tactical challenge for the three teams. Safran led the fleet out of Newport Bay and during the night Neutrogena overtook them and they both pulled out a bit of distance over GAES. In the early hours, the battle between the first two boats started and continued right until the finish line. Until the line at Verrazzano Bridge, Neutrogena and Safran were neck and neck, gybing downwind towards the bridge. They then split gybes at the end, Neutrogena favouring the left and Safran the right and so all bets were off and nobody could call it until they came together again for the finish line. A mere 1 minute and 25 seconds split 1st and 2nd place.

“It was an intense and fun race, a real match race. A couple of miles from the finish line, we jumped right in front and thanks to some aggressive tactics, with continuous gybing, we managed to win the race. The conditions were demanding, with almost continuous sail peels going on. It has been a great opportunity to compare the speed of our boat with the others.” explained Neutrogena Skipper Guillermo Altadill.

José Munoz, co-skipper added “I am very happy to get to New York. It’s my first time and I’m so lucky to come in on a sailing boat and winning the race! Guillermo is a really great tactician, he knows such a lot and is also very demanding. In some manoeuvres we suffered from lack of experience as a crew but we getting better. “

Second placed Safran Skipper Marc Guillemot spoke about the race : “ We had great conditions, a flat sea and wind throughout the race. It was very motivating to have such a close fight with Neutrogena all the way, they performed a little bit better than us throughout so its only fair they won, they were strategically better with the current. It was really nice to share the steering and tactical decisions with Morgan. It is the second time that Safran comes to New York and this time in sunshine so even better.”

Marc’s co-skipper on Safran Morgan Lagraviere, added his thoughts, “Awesome conditions, with lots of opportunities for tactical moves, I really enjoyed this trip. However being seven people onboard is not normal for us and so it was not so easy to adapt, and in reality we were not really able to be fully in ‘competition’ mode but it was still a great race.”

GAES TEAM in NYC

Team GAES in NYC after finishing Prologue Race (Photo courtesy of Ocean Masters NYBCN )

GAES arrived in third place joining the festival and welcome into New York. Anna Corbella, Co-Skipper summed up her race, “It has been interesting, despite the few problems we’ve had. In the evening we made a tactical error, sailing further from the coast than the other boats. Also sailing with four crew members is very positive, eight eyes looking around see more than only four. I was very impressed to get to New York, I had never been here before, and to arrive sailing in front of the Statue of Liberty was incredible.
Gerard Marín, Co-Skipper with Anna on GAES
added: ” We were doing very well until the evening time, but maybe we went too far offshore. Then we managed to catch two fishing lines, and we had to cut the second one from the keel early this morning – that was a pity. It is the first time I am in New York and it’s really impressive to be moored here in the centre of Manhattan. “

Safran and Neutrogena at North Cove Marina, NYC (Photo courtesy of Ocean Masters NYBCN )

The final positions and finishing times (New York local time) were :
1st – Neutrogena – 1346 hrs and 55 seconds local time
2nd Safran – 1338 hrs and 20 seconds
3rd GAES – 1508 hrs

Great news too for Hugo Boss as they re-stepped their mast in Newport today and will make their way to New York as soon as they are happy with everything and ready to go.

Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth onboard Spirit of Hungary are also making great progress towards New York and hope to arrive there on Thursday 29th May.

FOR  IMAGES OF THE PROLOGUE START IN NEWPORT BY GEORGE BEKRIS CLICK HERE

 

Hugo Boss and Neutrogena by George Bekris

Hugo Boss and Neutrogena by George Bekris

While the two Hungarian skippers, Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth (Spirit of Hungary), are in the middle of the Atlantic after a short stop which delayed them in Gibraltar (they should still arrive in New York around May 29 according to the latest routing) , preparations are being finalised for the four IMOCA 60s moored in the docks of “Newport Shipyard.” Whilst Gaes Centros Auditivos, Neutrogena and Safran seem to be ready two days before the Prologue Race that will take them to New York, there is still some work to be done on board of Hugo Boss, following their dismasting after 11 days of sailing, just 400 miles from Newport … but nothing that will prevent them from competing in the main race!

Hugo Boss by George Bekris

Hugo Boss by George Bekris

 

In the middle of the night we broke the mast above the second spreader but luckily we did not do much damage to the sails, that allowed us the next morning to set up a jury rig, with 3 reefs in the mainsail and a small sail at the front. We managed to reach Newport in just four days after the damage occurred,” recalls Ryan Breymaier who is replacing Alex Thomson as co-Skipper . Alex’s wife will give birth to their second child during the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race.

Fortunately, the fact that we were in Newport to carry out the repairs was a real advantage because Newport Shipyard is used to dealing with such large boats. It is the ideal place to arrive with a broken mast as they have all the necessary skills! We took the mast out the same day as we arrived and found all the skills we needed by the next day. The only thing that slowed us down a bit was having to wait for the delivery of a vital piece – a broken piece of carbon cable at the second spreader , and that had to come from Sri Lanka. It should arrive tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Apart from that, everything is ready to re-step the mast. Things will go quickly now, and although we will miss the prologue race, we will be ready for the start from New York, and we should re-join the fleet on the 27th of  May, “concludes Ryan.

Neutrogena by George Bekris 2014

Neutrogena by George Bekris 2014

For Neutrogena, the trip was also a challenging one on the IMOCA 60 skippered by Spaniard Guillermo Altadill and the Chilean Jose Munoz but they avoided any technical issues. “Even though we crossed in very difficult conditions, with winds up to 55 knots, we looked after the boat, so as not to force anything and ultimately we did not break anything. We have a few matters to finish for the final preparations, mainly those which we did not have the time to deal with since the end of boat modification time back in March,” explained Spanish racing legend Guillermo Altadill, whilst he also praised the effectiveness of his shore team.

Safran (Photo by George Bekris)

Safran (Photo by George Bekris)

For Safran, the delivery trip also went well, actually really well according to the long time skipper Marc Guillemot. “It surpassed our expectations as we thought we would have to do more upwind sailing. We expected 80% of the trip would be into the wind but our decision to change our routing a bit more towards the south allowed us to do 80% of the trip with the wind behind us! We gained a whole day and a half by doing that, making the trip in only 11 days. And all that with a great atmosphere onboard. And it was the first transatlantic crossing for Morgan which allowed me to see how we would work together for the double-handed race from New York to Barcelona,” explained Marc.

 

Gaes Centros Auditivos by George Bekris

Gaes Centros Auditivos by George Bekris

The ones who probably had the easiest trip were Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin. Onboard ‘Gaes Centros Auditivos’, they enjoyed relatively mild weather. “Even if we had to cross three weather fronts, they were not very strong and we we managed to navigate safely and to get to Newport with a small list of jobs. So now we just have to tweak a few things. Even the food is ready! We loaded the entire food supplies before leaving Barcelona so now we just have to add in some fresh produce. This allows us now to focus on the weather, the sailing instructions, the routing and details around the areas of departure and arrival for the prologue between Newport and New York,” said Anna within 48 hours to go before the initial prologue event starts which will see the fleet reaching New York –  the City of departure.

Safran (Photo by George Bekris)

Safran (Photo by George Bekris)

With 3,700 miles from the Statue of Liberty to the Catalan capital, the New York – Barcelona racecourse is a very open one for the five teams entered (Gaes Centros Auditivos, Hugo Boss, Neutrogena, Spirit of Hungary and Safran). It will undoubtedly be a high-speed chase across the Atlantic chessboard until the Straits of Gibraltar and the entrance to the Mediterranean. Then, there will be tactical moves to play on the 525 miles along the Spanish coast. It will be two weeks of racing for which the crew of Safran had the opportunity to prepare during the delivery to Newport. “It was a delight, I learned a lot, I’m sure we are the ideal partnership for this double-handed race,” Lagravière, the future skipper of the new Safran, said.

A baptism of fire for Morgan Lagravière
Never before has the young Lagravière, who came from the Olympic and the Figaro circuit, spent so many days at sea before embarking on an IMOCA for the first time for this delivery of Safran: “I learned a lot during the delivery, because I had remarkable crew mates,” Lagravière said. “It was a way for me to discover the Open 60 and to cross the Atlantic at the same time. Once we arrived in Newport, I felt ready to handle an IMOCA alone, it is a question of adapting, of getting new bearings.” On the New York – Barcelona, Lagravière will have the opportunity to further discuss things with Guillemot, the skipper of Safran and an exceptional coach, but this time in a race situation. The complementary partnership could shine. “Marc and I are different,” Lagravière said. “I’m fussy about fine-tuning and sometimes won’t let go, a bit like a dog with a bone​, while the other hand he’s a really experienced old wolf and is very conservative on his boat.”

Notes:
Start from New York: Sunday, June 1
Arrival in Barcelona: between June 10-18
Distance 3,700 miles
The races is part of the Ocean Masters World Championship

 

Pictures of offshore sailor Alex Thomson's new Hugo Boss IMOCA Open 60 training in the Solent. UK Credit - Lloyd Images

Pictures of offshore sailor Alex Thomson’s new Hugo Boss IMOCA Open 60 training in the Solent. UK
Credit – Lloyd Images

 

Alex Thomson Racing (ATR) and sponsor, HUGO BOSS are pleased to announce that their new boat is complete and on the water as of 4 April 2014.

Previously named Virbac Paprec 3, this boat has an impressive history which includes placing 4th in the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe after losing its keel, 1st in the 2010-2011 Barcelona World Race, 2ndplace in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet, and 1st place in the 2010 Transat Jacques Vabre. ATR acquired Virbac Paprec 3 for Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes to compete in the upcoming 2014-2015 Barcelona World Race. The team have spent some time refitting and modifying the boat to include a new keel and HUGO BOSS branding. The boat is simply known as ‘HUGO BOSS’ and the ATR team look forward to taking the vastly improved speed machine out on the open ocean from Gosport, UK to Rhode Island, USA next week in preparation for the New York to Barcelona (NY-BCN) race in June.

The new boat is set to depart 22 April 2014 to Newport, Rhode Island where the OCEAN MASTERS New York to Barcelona Race will take place on 1 June 2014. This will be the first event run by Sir Keith Mills’ Lausanne-based Open Sports Management (OSM), commercial rights holder to the IMOCA class and will be supported by the Fundacio per la Navegacio Oceanica Barcelona (FNOB) and the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV).

The start of the transatlantic race itself will be off North Cove Marina on Sunday, 1st June. Competitors will sail pass the Statue of Liberty before exiting New York Harbour. The 3700 mile course crosses the North Atlantic, passing through the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean, where crews will have to negotiate a tactical 525 miles along the Spanish coast before reaching the finish.

The prize giving will be held in Barcelona on 20 June 2014. En route competitors will be out to better the 12 days, 6 hours and 3 minutes course record set by Alex Pella, Pepe Ribes and Stan Schreyer aboard the IMOCA 60 Estrella Damm in 2010.

The ‘HUGO BOSS’ boat will be led by Pepe Ribes and American co-skipper, Ryan Breymaier uponAlex Thomson’s announcement that he will be unable to take part in the NY-BCN race this year due to his wife’s pregnancy and conflicting due date.

Alex said: “This is a bittersweet situation for me; although I am disappointed that I cannot take part in the NY-BCN, I am thrilled that we will be having our second child. I had committed to competing before the official race date had been announced but it turns out that my wife’s due date will conflict and my family must come first, so, as to disrupt the team as little as possible, a replacement co-skipper had to be found. We searched long and hard but found Ryan Breymaier, who will now accompany Pepe Ribes as co-skipper.”

Alex will be with the boat for its delivery to Newport and up until its departure to Barcelona.

ATR’s new American co-skipper, Ryan Breymaier will now complete the NY-BCN alongside Pepe Ribes and is excited about having the opportunity. Ryan said: “I feel so fortunate to have been selected by Pepe, Alex and the rest of the team to take part in this race. I feel honoured to be the only American participant and plan to make both my country and teammates very proud.”

Finding the right co-skipper to accompany Pepe was a challenge and Stewart Hosford, Managing Director of 5 West and ATR commented: “This was not an easy task; finding a compatible co-skipper that has the skill, personality and mind-set to match the rest of the team is quite a challenge. That said, we have selected Ryan, are confident in his ability, and look forward to welcoming him to the team.”

Pictures of offshore sailor Alex Thomson's new Hugo Boss IMOCA Open 60 training in the Solent. UK Credit - Lloyd Images

Pictures of offshore sailor Alex Thomson’s new Hugo Boss IMOCA Open 60 training in the Solent. UK
Credit – Lloyd Images

 

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A new era for the IMOCA 60ft monohull class begins in less than three months with the OCEAN MASTERS New York to Barcelona Race. This will be the first event run by Sir Keith Mills’ Lausanne-based Open Sports Management (OSM), commercial rights holder to the IMOCA class and will be supported by the Fundacio per la Navegacio Oceanica Barcelona (FNOB) and the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV). It is also the first event to count towards the new OCEAN MASTERS World Championship.

The double-handed New York to Barcelona is the only race scheduled this summer for IMOCA, allowing teams ample time to prepare for this autumn and winter’s other major OCEAN MASTERS World Championship events – the Route du Rhum and the Barcelona World Race.

“New York and Barcelona are two of the most iconic cities in the world today and are both perfect venues for the first new race under the Ocean Masters World Championship brand,” explains Sir Keith Mills. “This is part of OSM’s plan to internationalise the IMOCA class and take it to the next level by introducing new events, new venues and attracting new skippers, teams and sponsors.”

The event kicks off with a prologue on Saturday 24th May. Competitors will sail from Newport, Rhode Island on a 142 mile overnight race to New York Harbour.

photo © 2014 IMOCA OCEAN MASTERS

photo © 2014 IMOCA OCEAN MASTERS

In New York for the next week, the boats will be berthed at Manhattan’s North Cove Marina, close to the World Trade Centre site in Battery Park. On Thursday 29th May, they will compete in the ‘Hudson River Race’, allowing spectators a bird’s eye view from Manhattan’s western shore. The day will conclude with a reception in the New York Yacht Club’s magnificent Model Room.

The start of the transatlantic race itself will be off North Cove Marina on Sunday 1st June. Competitors will sail pass the Statue of Liberty before exiting New York Harbour. The 3700 mile course crosses the North Atlantic, passing through the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean, where crews will have to negotiate a tactical 525 miles along the Spanish coast before reaching the finish.

The prize giving will be held in Barcelona on 20th June. En route competitors will be out to better the 12 days, 6 hours and 3 minutes course record set by Alex Pella, Pepe Ribes and Stan Schreyer aboard the IMOCA 60 Estrella Damm in 2010.

Five teams are officially entered, although more are expected:
Hugo Boss: Alex Thomson (GBR) and Pepe Ribes (ESP)
Neutrogena: Guillermo Altadill (ESP) and José Muñoz (CHI)
Safran: Marc Guillemot (FRA) and Morgan Lagravière (FRA)
GAES Centros Auditivos: Anna Corbella (ESP) and Gerard Marin (ESP)
Spirit of Hungary: Nandor Fa (HUN) and Marcell Goszleth (HUN)

Hugo Boss skipper Alex Thomson finished second in the first Barcelona World Race and famously was third home in the last Vendée Globe. His co-skipper is Pepe Ribes, one of Spain’s most capped offshore sailors with four Volvo Ocean Races to his name. They will be sailing the latest Hugo Boss, previously Jean-Pierre Dick’s 2010 generation VPLP-Verdier designed Virbac Paprec III.

Thomson looks forward to the race: “There was an opportunity in the calendar this year, so OSM decided to introduce an event that would raise the profile of the circuit and also could support the Barcelona Race. They wanted an international race, so it was natural to go from somewhere in America – transatlantic – back into Barcelona, double-handed. It is also great training for the Barcelona World Race.”

Spain’s most capped offshore sailor is Guillermo Altadill, with six circumnavigations behind him. He will skipper Neutrogena Sailing Team with Chilean José Muñoz, who raced a Class40 around the world doublehanded in 2008/09. They will sail the 2007 generation Farr design that Thomson took to third place in the last Vendee Globe.

“It is going to be a good race for the Ocean Masters programme,” says Altadill. “This will be our first race together. To have this transatlantic race a few months before the start of the Barcelona World Race, we can use it to train, test the boat and sail together. It is perfect preparation.”

The most experienced skipper in the fleet is Safran skipper Marc Guillemot. The French aerospace and security company is starting its third Vendée Globe campaign, but the team is in transition with Guillemot, 54, in the process of passing over the helm to talented 27-year-old Figaro and Olympic 49er sailor, Morgan Lagravière, who will be co-skipper for the race. The duo will sail their highly developed 2007 generation VPLP-Verdier design while their new IMOCA 60 is in build in Brittany.

“I am delighted to participate in this first race between New York and Barcelona,” says Guillemot. “This new race is a very good initiative by the class and it is very much in our interest to participate in it because the strength of the IMOCA class is that its boats can sail in different events like this.”

The local Barcelona team, fielded by the Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona, will be that of Gerard Marin and Anna Corbella. Corbella is returning to the race course with GAES Centros Auditivos, who backed her last Barcelona World Race campaign. Marin sailed that same race aboard Fòrum Marítim Català.

Hungarian solo offshore racing legend Nandor Fa will sail with co-skipper Marcell Goszleth, on Spirit of Hungary, a brand new IMOCA 60 due for launch imminently.

“The New York to Barcelona Race will be my first with this brand new IMOCA 60, it’ll be our first trial,” says Fa. “We’ll take it as an opportunity to gather some information on the performance of the boat, and we’re confident that she will be safe and competitive.”

Andor Serra, CEO of FNOB, is pleased once again to link together New York and Barcelona through an ocean sailing event, “The OCEAN MASTERS New York to Barcelona Race strengthens the sports and cultural ties between the two cities, and the ocean ‘highway’ that links them is the perfect sports ground for this new and exciting challenge. This event is vital for us all as it prepares for and adds value to the Barcelona World Race which starts on 31st December 2014.”

Source: Leslie Greenhalgh, Open Sports Management; March 10, 2014

About Ocean Masters World Championship
Ocean Masters is the World Championship series for the IMOCA class. The first Ocean Masters World Champion will be crowned in 2015 after the Barcelona World Race and a new World Champion will be recognised every two years after this. The commercial, marketing and event management rights of the Ocean Masters World Championships are managed by OSM.
www.oceanmasters.com

About IMOCA
Founded in 1991, the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA) is the body that manages the 60ft monohulls that compete in its events such as the Vendée Globe. The association has more than 30 skipper members and many other stakeholders, including sponsors, team managers, designers, builders from all over the world.
www.imoca.org

About Barcelona World Race
The Barcelona World Race is the only double-handed (two crew) race around the world for the IMOCA class. The first edition took place in 2007/08, the second in 2010/11 and the next edition starts on 31st December 2014. The course is from Barcelona to Barcelona via the three ‘Great’ capes: Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn, Cook Strait, leading Antarctica to starboard.
www.barcelonaworldrace.com

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