Barcelona (ESP), Barcelona World Race 2014-15, Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm, Jean Le Cam)

Barcelona (ESP), Barcelona World Race 2014-15, Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm, Jean Le Cam)

With Cheminées Poujoulat making good progress up the Atlantic, making close to 18kts, 120 miles SW of the Falklands, Cape Horn marks the frontier between the two different worlds inhabited by skippers on the Barcelona World Race.
All but two pairs, the bookends of the fleet, are still awaiting their release from the Big South, the relentless grey, chilly, damp world. For Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam, bows of Cheminées Poujoulat pointed NE, there is the added vigour of knowing every mile north is a mile closer to sunshine and tradewinds,  a mile closer to Barcelona, and a mile away from their Southern Oceans escapades. And for seventh placed Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman in Bluff, South Island NZ, there is an unfortunate but not unpleasant technical pitstop as they make repairs to ensure a less troublesome second half of their race. Cheminées Poujoulat had a reasonable passage across the border last night, under the cover of darkness. They crossed into the Atlantic passing 14 miles south of Rock at 00:53 UTC, after 55 days 12 hours and 53 minutes of racing. This afternoon Stamm and Le Cam passed the Strait of Le Maire, between Tierra del Fu ego and Staten Island, and their next choice is which side to leave the Falklands. So far the windward, west side looks better and a shorter route. Tensions remain high between second and third. But by virtue of better, stronger breezes Guillermo Altadill and José Muñoz have progressively driven a bigger and bigger wedge between themselves and third placed Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín. The GAES Centros Auditivos pair have found themselves – rather incongruously – upwind in moderate breezes and so losing miles to Neutrogena. From being within five miles at the start of the week, they are now 115 miles astern of second place. “I think we’ve gone faster [than the Neutrogena] most of the time” Corbella said today, ” But there have been times when they escaped because we slowed down for technical reasons. We just try and hold on for a good fight in the Atlantic, to try and stay relatively close.” For Renault Captur, now back at 48 deg S and targeting the Furious 50s again, there is finally the prospect of pulling miles back on fifth and fourth, One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton, and We Are Water: The delta between the two Barcelona boats, One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton and We Are Water has now shrunk from 600 miles to 160 in a week. And with the possibility of Renault Captur progressively getting back to them both, an interesting three cornered fight might just be on the cards for their ascent of the Atlantic. Making their pit stop in the country of birth of Conrad Colman, one might have hoped for a more hospitable welcome for Kiwi Colman and his Hungarian counterpart Nandor Fa. But the duo had driving rain, winds over 50kts, and chilly, wet conditions for their final approach.  Spirit of Hungary tied up yesterday at 22:50 UTC at the port of Bluff, on the South Island of New Zealand. Their list of repairs is longer than expected, having discovered on the way in that they needed to replace a couple of keel bolts. “We’re fine, but there is much work to do,” said Fa. “We had a good dinner and we will relax a little. Tomorrow we lift the boat out of the water to change the keel bolts, but basically things go as we expected “ Unscheduled and unwanted their pit stop may be but Colman, is delighted to be briefly in his home country: ” To come into a dairy and see the familiar sights and sounds, to see magazines and chocolates of my childhood it is fantastic to be back in New Zealand.  I have never been here, and it is funny to have to sail half way around the world to discover a new part of my own country, but it is great. We discovered the problems with the keelbolts after we decided to stop. We were chasing a couple of leaks and decided to re-torque the nuts on the keelbolts and unfortunately one have way in our hands. We were already heading in to New Zealand so that made us feel good about our stopover and also quite thankful. ” We are not shooting for the podium and Nandor and I, as since the beginning of the race, we have a long term vision of where we want to be with our careers, what we want from this race. I am trying to establish myself in my career and Nandor is counting every mile as a precious one. So he wants to do them all. So given that, we would be foolish to rush out of here and compromise for the sake of a few extra hours. Skippers quotes: Renault Captur, from email: “Today, we’re back in the fifties. The albatrosses have found us again and are offering their support by flying over the boat, calmly without flapping their wings. Since we set off again, we have been focusing on getting around a low-pressure area blocking our path. Reaching in moderate winds, it all seems to be working out for the moment, and as the hours go by, we have made up a little of the time. We shall be sailing quite close to the centre of this low and beyond that, Renault Capture will be able to dive downwind chasing after the Water Brothers (We are Water) and their compatriots on One Planet one Ocean. Everything is fine on board and we are feeling fairly quiet in between trimming, navigating and looking at the weather. It isn’t that cold yet, so it’s fairly pleasant sailing for the time being. Well done to Jean and Bernard, who rounded Cape Horn some distance ahead making them well placed to achieve overall victory.” ; Anna Corbella (ESP)  GAES Centros Auditivos: ” I am excited about my second crossing of Cape Horn. I want to be there right now, and I think it is important, we want to begin to go north and point the bow in the direction of home that is something we have been looking forwards to for many days now. The conditions at the moment are that we are in a transition zone between two fronts, and at the moment we are sailing upwind with ten knots of wind with flat water, so it quite a strange situation  sailing towards Cape Horn right now, strange, but in a few hours it will change the NW wind will come again. And it will increase. I think we are going to cross the Cape in typical conditions – probably 30kts – and we are happy with that because it should be the last windy situation in the south and we are happy to sail these last days.” Nandor Fa (HUN) Spirit of Hungary:“Our relationship gets deeper and deeper. On the one side we are a sailing partnership we are in one team and we think of ourselves as a team. In any aspect at all we help each other. On the human side there is respect also. I guess at the moment we are a better team than at the start. We have had surgery before (Colman had to put four stitches in Fa’s head)…….I needed a bandage before and so that has been a good exercise for Conrad (jokes) but he is really talented to do it (stitch) like a sailmaker, making much nicer stitches in my head than a doctor. ” ” When we start again we will be pushing the boat, it will feel like racing, of course we will be a long way from the fleet, hopeless to think of catching up, but at least the performance is important to us and from that point of view we race against the most difficult rivals, ourselves and so we push to our limits, we should be satisfied and proud.”< /p> Standings at 1400hrs Wednesday 25/02/2015 1 Cheminées Poujoulat (B Stamm – J Le Cam) at 6695 miles to finish 2 Neutrogena (G Altadill – J Muñoz) + 1096 miles to leader 3 GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella – G Marin) + 1211 miles to leader 4 We Are Water (B Garcia – W Garcia) + 3244miles to leader 5 One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert – D Costa) + 3405 miles to leader 6 Renault Captur (J Riechers – S Audigane) + 4000.4 miles to leader 7 Spirit of Hungary (N Fa – C Colman) + 4748 miles to leader ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson – P. Ribes)
Bernard Stamm (SUI) and Cheminées Poujopulat (Photo  copyright Cheminées Poujopulat / Barcelona World Race)

Bernard Stamm (SUI) and Cheminées Poujopulat (Photo copyright Cheminées Poujopulat / Barcelona World Race)

 

  • Kerguelens tomorrow for Cheminees Poujoulat
  • We Are Water break Cape of Good Hope
  • GAES Centros Auditivos stem their losses

Another landmark will be ticked off tomorrow for Barcelona World Race leaders Cheminées Poujoulat when they sail north of the lonely Kerguelen Islands.
Coralled north by the race’s Antarctic Exclusion Zone, Bernard Stamm and Jean La Cam will pass 300 miles north of the island archipelago which are in every sense one of the most isolated, lonely spots on planet earth, over 2000 miles from the nearest significantly populated area.

The Kerguelen or Desolation Islands were discoveed 240 years ago by the Breton navigator Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen Trémerec and claimed as French.  There are hundreds of small islands but the only inhabitants are between 45 and 100 French scientists, researchers and engineers stationed there.

As such they are important point on the race course, almost exactly half way from the Cape Good Hope to Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, 2300 miles from the South African cape, 2100 to Leeuwin. They are in effect equidistant from somewhere but quite literally in the middle of nowhere.
They are also the only possible haven for the race fleets when they are crossing this inhospitable stretch of the Indian Ocean. Indeed, just as Jean LeCam was pleased to have passed the Cape Verde islands where his Barcelona World Race ended prematurely, so co-skipper Stamm will subconsciously be pleased to check off the Kerguelens, passing at good speeds with their IMOCA 60 in good shape and with a lead of more than 270 miles. Stamm lost a previous Cheminées Poujoulat when it was grounded in December 2008 during the solo Vendèe Globe. Ironically fellow Swiss skipper Dominique Wavre was also stopped there with a keel problem.

Stamm was not making his memories obv ious indeed he was on good form today when he summed up the Barcelona World Race so far for himself and co-skipper Jean Le Cam.

” A lot has gone on. But all in all the boat performs well , it goes well. Now we had some small technical problems that don’y exactly make our lives easier even now, but nothing is insurmountable. Apart from a passage a little close to the Azores high where we got light winds  we have sailed the course we wanted.”

Cheminées Poujoulat is now lined up 275 miles directly in front of second placed Neutrogena, benefiting from more wind which is more consistent than that of the pursuing duo Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz.
The biggest problem on the horizon for the two leading IMOCA 60s is the former tropical cyclone Diamondra which was more of a threat but which looks to be dissipating now after winds peaking at around 55kts. These storms lose their energy quickly when they pass over the colder water. Nonetheless it remains a concern for Cheminées Poujoulat and for Neutrogena and will certainly alter their relatively straightforwards regime in about three days time.
Their passage of the Cape of Good Hope this morning at 1106hrs UTC is the first Great Cape for the Garcia brothers Bruno and Willy on We Are Water. Considering how little preparation time they had prior to the start, and how both were carrying on their day jobs, Bruno as a heart doctor and Willy as a jewellery retailer until days before the start, their success to date is commendable. Indeed of the fleet they are the first genuine ‘amateurs’  in this race, sailors who make their li ving from outside of the sport.

Anna Corbella and Gérard Marin have meantime stemmed some of their worst losses on GAES Centros Auditivos and have been making double digit boat speeds for much of the day after being badly stuck in a high pressure system, although the light winds are moving east with them. In fact their nearest pursuers, fourth placed Renault Captur are now 416 miles behind when two days ago they were 602 miles astern, but the Spanish duo are now quicker again than Renault Captur’sJorg Riechers and Seb Audigane.

Skippers quotes:

Anna Corbella (ESP) GAES Centros Auditivos:” In fact at the moment we are looking backwards because the meteo we have just now is dangerous for us because the boats in front are gone and the boats in the back are catching us, so at the moment we are looking back. It is our concern. I think after this high pressure we will look forwards again and try to catch some miles again on Neutrogena.
Right now we are going out and have 14kts of wind, downwind sailing now and sailing faster – at 12 kts – in the coming hours we will probably stop again and the wind will got to the front and we are going to have another problem with the high pressure. For the moment the night was not so bad we were sailing slowly but we it was not so bad.
From my side, I don’t know what Gerard thinks, it’s a different race from last time. I don’t know if it is harder. Maybe harder is not the word… but it is a little bit more  intense because since the first days we’ve been sailing with the head of the fleet and we’ve had more pressure and we’ve had to sail as fast as possible. And this makes the race more demanding but not harder. For the moment the weather is the same (as the last edition) and we are doing pretty much the same.
To us, particularly in our case, it is hurting us (the exclusion zone) because it really gives us absolutely no choice. With the ice gates we could have gone up and down a bit, and now all we do is go straight along the line of the exclusion zone. I think for other boats it will be different, I guess in every way it is better or worst. That’s it. I guess it depends on the case.

Bernard Stamm (SUI) Cheminées Poujopulat: “From the beginning we have been O K, we passed a little close to the high and had light winds but since then we have been able to do what we want with no problems, and we were doing everything we can to go as fast as we can, safely as possible. It has been a good first month.”

A month of racing , what conclusions do you draw ?
A lot has gone on. But all in all the boat performs well , it goes well. Now we had some small technical problems that did not make our lives easier even now, but nothing is surmountable . Apart from a passage a little close to the Azores high  we have sailed the course we wanted.
The gaps widen
It is more obvious now that GAES are caught by the anticyclone. With Neutrogena , maybe it will be a bit of concertina effect, I do not know. We make our way according to the the wind not really compared to other competitors.

Things are different from solo?
This is much more serene, sleeping much better. It is good proper slee. Frequently you sleep for three or four hours. Very rarely , much more. Evenother things it is much better . The maneuvers are two , the stacking is with two , it is much simpler.

Life with Jean
Normally , there is no problem. It’s always easier said before , we are not sphinxes , but for many reasons  it has to work. The bottom line is it work for many reasons . Jean said before  said that the biggest concern was the ego. If it was one of us that had this ego problem , but this is not the case, we are tools to make the boat go, so it ‘s going pretty well.

Course to Cape Leeuwin
In front of us on the east coast of Australia , there are two small tropical lows that will come down to us. And our course and strategy will be dicated by how we deal with them. We will have some bad weather, you just have to not push too hard and try and sail in the best, most normal conditions.

The gaps widen
It is more obvious now that GAES are caught by the anticyclone. With Neutrogena , maybe it will be a bit of concertina effect, I do not know. We make our way according to the the wind not really compared to other competitors .

Things are different from solo?
This is much more serene, sleeping much better. It is good proper slee. Frequently you sleep for three or four hours. Very rarely , much more. Evenother things it is much better . The maneuvers are two , the stacking is with two , it is much simpler.

Rankings at 1400hrs UTC Friday 30th January 2015
1. Cheminées Poujoulat (B. Stamm – J. Le Cam) at 15.736,5 miles to the finish
2. Neutrogena (G. Altadill – J. Muñoz) + 272,9 miles to the leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A. Corbella – G. Marín) + 889,8 miles to the leader
4. Renault Captur (J. Riechers – S. Audigane) + 1.305,2 miles to the leader
5. We Are Water (B. Garcia – W. Garcia) + 1.889,4 miles to the leader
6. One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton (A. Gelabert – D. Costa) + 2.444,7 miles to the leader
7. Spirit of Hungary (N. Fa – C. Colman) + 2.955,8 miles to the leader
ABD Hugo Boss (A. Thomson – P. Ribes)

23/12/2014, Barcelona (ESP), Barcelona World Race 2014-15, Barcelona Trainings, We Are Water (Bruno Garcia, Willy Garcia)(Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget/Barcelona World Race)

23/12/2014, Barcelona (ESP), Barcelona World Race 2014-15, Barcelona Trainings, We Are Water (Bruno Garcia, Willy Garcia)(Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget/Barcelona World Race)

 

Barcelona World Race 2014/2015 Start (Photo © Nico Martínez / Barcelona World Race )

Barcelona World Race 2014/2015 Start (Photo © Nico Martínez / Barcelona World Race )

 

As if to underline their billing as pre-race favourites to win, Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes on Hugo Boss led the eight-strong fleet of IMOCA 60s off the start line of the third edition of the Barcelona World Race, two handed race around the world. The British-Spanish duo made the best of the very light winds, setting up with speed at the gun, to eke out a small lead to the turning mark, 1.5 miles away from the line.

NEWS  DEC 31, 2015

With 23,450 miles to sail, of course the early advantage to the British-Spanish duo might only appear to be psychological and within the first hour of racing they found themselves snared by the combination of very calm winds and wash from the sizeable spectator fleet, and were passed by the Swiss-French pairing Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam on Cheminées Poujoulat, but the main objective for all was to ensure they stay in the lead group on what will be a tricky, challenging descent of the Mediterranean to the exit doors at the Straits of Gibraltar.

As per forecast breezes were only very light for the start, 2-6 knots. But the sun shone brightly and brought out huge crowds to the beaches of the Catalan capital. To all intents it felt less like the last day of 2014 in the depths of winter, and more like a day stolen from summer.

The warmth of the sunshine leant an almost surreal air to the emotional scenes as the 16 skippers left the Barcelona World Race dock this morning. They may be heading for some of the most feared stretches of the world’s oceans, but there was a welcome serenity as the crowds bid farewell to each of the duos. To those observers and skippers more used to the oppressive atmosphere of other winter race starts, usually contemplating Atlantic storms, it was a pleasant change.

But for all that, emotions bubbled to the surface, tugging hard at the heartstrings. Who could fail to be moved when Alex Thomson and his four-year-old son Oscar shouted ‘Good bye’ to each other across the widening gap between the pontoon and the departing 60-foot monohull? In their private world it was a beautiful toddler waving his dad off to a day at the office – even if Thomson blinked back a tear behind the Hugo Boss designer shades – but to everyone else it was a harsh reminder of the imminent three months of separation from the son whose illness precluded his participation in the last edition.

Hugo Boss team-mate Pepe Ribes’ farewell to Pepe Ribes Jr was no less touching, considering the last time he left on this race his son was only three weeks old. This time GAES Centros Auditivos’Gérard Marin’s son is only a few months old.

The biggest cheer of the morning was for Anna Corbella, the only female skipper in the race who became the first Spanish woman to sail around the world when she finished the second edition of the race in April 2011 with Briton Dee Caffari. Corbella and Gérard Marin, both local to Barcelona, have been training for two years with their GAES Centros Auditivos and harbour high hopes of a podium finish.

Their partisan fan club were, predictably, the loudest. Corbella’s smile wavered as if to crack but as the docklines came aboard, her game face was fixed and she was immediately in ‘race mode’.
When the gun sounded at 1300hrs local time (1200hrs UTC) GAES Centros Auditivos looked to have made the best start along with Hugo Boss and Renault Captur (Jorge Riechers and Sébastien Audigane), but both GAES Centros Auditivos and One Planet One Ocean Pharmaton (Aleix Gelabeirtand Didac Costa) jumped the gun and had to restart.

As well as media, family, friends and team-mates, the dock was dotted with key figures of the race including twice winner Jean-Pierre Dick, who saw off the eight boats, and Race Director Jacques Caraës, who helped many teams slip their lines. FNOB president Maite Fandos, the depute mayor of Barcelona; IMOCA President Jean Kehroas; Peter Bayer, General Manager of Open Sports Management, and the President of the Spanish Sailing Federation José Ángel Rodríguez, all joined the farewell.

Meanwhile the city of Barcelona delivered a ‘tapas menu’ of live performance featuring wind instruments, spraying water, seashells, and performance artists by the Fura dels Baus as a fitting show as the Mayor of Barcelona Xavier Trias lowered a flag on the La Dona of Mil·leni sculpture to signify the start of the race.

Winds might only have been light at the start but the skippers know the pressure is absolutely on from the start. The race start sat between two wind zones. To the east the brisk NE’ly Tramontana is a strong lure, to sail more miles to reach this corridor of breeze does represent the high risk option but with potentially the biggest reward. A fast passage to the Balearics would allow the leader(s) to hold on to this wind longest. Conversely, this breeze will fade first, potentially leaving any gamblers on this flank downwind in very gentle winds. The alternative is to sail the direct, rhumb line – or to the west of it – and wait until the NE’ly has strengthened all the way to the Spanish coast.

The overall balance between the options remained unclear. For sure there is a ‘rich get richer’ scenario for anyone who breaks through the Strait of Gibraltar first, breaching the brisk, favourable trade winds first for quick train ride south. But the greater likelihood is of a period of very light winds in the busy gateway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

Follow the race:
See the Barcelona World Race Leaderboard, Tracking, Weather Guide, TV schedule and much more athttp://www.barcelonaworldrace.org/en/race-live. Tracker positions are updated at 0500, 0900, 1400 and 1900hrs (UTC).  http://barcelonaworldrace.geovoile.org/2015/

Ranking at 14:00 UTC December 31, 2014:

1 Cheminées Poujoulat (B Stamm – J Le Cam) 23 448.3 miles from the finish

2 GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella – G Marino) 0.3 miles to leader

3 Renault Captur (J Riechers – S Audigane) 0.6 miles to leader

4 Hugo Boss (A Thomson – Ribes P) 0.7 miles to leader

5 Neutrogena (G Altadill – Muñoz J) 1.2 miles to leader

6 We Are Water (B Garcia – Garcia W) 1.2 miles to leader

7 One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert – Costa D) 1.2 miles to leader

8 Spirit of Hungary (N F – C Colman) 1.3 miles to leader

 

Skippers’ quotes:

Guillermo Altadill (ESP), Neutrogena:

“The last GRIB files are showing a little bit variable conditions that are quite tricky. It’s going to be quite open to the Straits – you could go inshore, offshore, so I think it’s going to be quite tricky and very open for all the fleet. We hope to be at Gibraltar ahead, but it’s not very relevant in one race that’s 25000 miles to be ahead 10 miles at Gibraltar, it makes you feel better but it’s not very important.

“You make your own pressure, but it’s going to be pressure for everybody because everybody is going to push the boat and be the first one out to Gibraltar, but for us it’s about holding onto the fleet and to be with the fleet the first part of the race.”

“I’ve probably [raced to Gibraltar] 20 or 25 times. The Med is very unpredictable, so the more you know and the more you race here… you get more confused!”

Nandor Far (HUN), Spirit of Hungary:

“I’m quite relaxed. We did our best to be finished, to be 100 per cent prepared, but you never know. The boat is a very complicated piece so there is always something which is going wrong. Right now I feel the boat is well prepared.

“We are concentrating on the wind and the proper sail choice, and going out in a safe good way, that’s all. It will be nice to have time to think about everything. If we want to be in a good place we have to make good progress, but I’m not worried really.”

Anna Corbella (ESP), GAES Centros Auditivos:

“I’m feeling excited and happy. I want to get going! The weather is OK, it’s nice. It’s easy – in terms of physically, so it’s not going to be a lot of sail changes, I think it’s nice downwind to Gibraltar. Probably at some point it’s not [going to be] easy, but I think what is important is to be at Gibraltar in a good position, and to go out in a good position.”

Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss:

“I think the first 5-6 hours there probably won’t be very much wind, and then after that we should see some breeze, some fairly good breeze hopefully. Then the breeze will run out, but whether we get to Gibraltar or not I don’t know.

“I think for all of us the routing shows that the people at the front will gain and the people at the back will lose – so all the pressure is to be at the front of the pack and not to not lose too much is important. We feel fortunate that we’ve got a boat that can probably catch everybody up if we need to catch everybody up, but we don’t really want to be in that position really!

“As a team we feel very confident. We’ve put in a lot of work and a lot of prep. These last moments are always a bit heartfelt because of the family and leaving them behind for three months. I think it’s not something you would want to get used to, because if you got used to it then it would maybe mean you don’t care as much as you do.”

 

Barcelona Word Race 2014/2015PRESS CONFERENCE SKIPPERS (Photo by Martinez Studio )

Barcelona Word Race 2014/2015PRESS CONFERENCE SKIPPERS (Photo by Martinez Studio )

 

The 16 skippers, eight duos, who are set to take on the 2014-2015 Barcelona World Race gathered to face the media at today’s busy official press conference, the last official gathering of all the teams before the race start on 31st December, now less than 48 hours away.

The conference was opened by Jean Kerhoas, IMOCA Class President, who introduced the UNESCO marine research and education programmes which are essential to this edition of the race, innovating by integrating the round the world competition with an ambitious scientific research programme and a global, openly available further education programme.

He was followed by Race Director Jacques Caräes who explained the starting procedure, which will see the eight IMOCA 60s start at 1300hrs, heading north-easterly along the Barcelona beachfront, before rounding the North Buoy turning mark and heading for Gibraltar and the Atlantic.

But all attention was focused on the 16 sailors gathered on stage. As ever body language and attitude spoke louder and more comprehensively than the words they uttered. Some, like veteran Jean Le Cam (Cheminees Poujoulat), appearing like it was just another work day at the office, relaxed and enjoying the build-up to his second Barcelona World Race. When asked about his final preparations, Le Cam joked that he was going to be mostly eating for the next two days. Guillermo Altadill (Neutrogena), approaching his seventh global circumnavigation, also played to the gallery:

“I live in a small village 90 kilometers from Barcelona. And I realised that I had left the lights on.. So my plan for the next two days, will be to go back tomorrow and put them out!” But for all his humour, fiery Catalan Altadill knows he has been given a gilt edged chance of winning the race which starts and finishes on the waters where he first learned to sail, an opportunity of a victory which would rank him as the first Spaniard to win a major IMOCA race, the same as it would be for Pepe Ribes who grew up in Benissa beside Calpe, 75 kilometres down the race track. 

CF8_5544.194122

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.

 

CF8_5555-2.194228

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)

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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 !!

 

 

 

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.

 

 NY_to_BCN_pic (1)

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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