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.

Musandam's Crew , Skippered by Sidney Gavignet, celebrate winning Offshore Leg 4 (Photo by Mark Lloyd)

 

man Sail’s flagship boat Musandam-Oman Sail hurtled across the finish line in Marseilles today to celebrate their first win of an offshore leg in the MOD70 European Tour and lift them to third overall in the rankings.After battling with light winds from the start of the leg in Cascais on Thursday, the final few hours saw an altogether different struggle as Sidney Gavignet’s triumphant Omani and European crew encountered 35 knot winds which almost caused them to capsize just ten minutes from the finish.“We were going very fast – sometimes too fast,” said an emotional Gavignet.

Musandam - Oman Sail's skipper Sidney Gavignet flashes a smile after winning Leg 4 (Photo by Mark Lloyd)

“It was a bit scary going at those speeds in the black night. We almost capsized in the bay. The wind was dropping but we were caught by a 40 knot gust. The boat reared up – it was so sudden.”

This jolt came on top of discovering as they approached the finish that another 40 mile upwind stage had been added to the 1030 nm course making it an action-packed closing stage to a dramatic leg.

They completed the course from Cascais to Marseilles in 3 days 16 hours 11 minutes and 34 seconds, crossing the line two hours and 23 minutes ahead of second placed Steve Ravussin’s Race for Water and two hours and 45 minutes ahead of sailing legend Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia.

The result was a great testament to the developing skills of the Musandam-Oman Sail crew, Gavignet said, making special mention of Omani helmsman and trimmer Fahad Al Hasni, Khamis Al Anbouri also from Oman and navigator Jeff Cuzon from France.

“Fahad is a great example of what we are trying to do at Oman Sail. He has grabbed the opportunity of being part of Oman Sail and is running with it.

“He still has a lot to learn but he is becoming a serious offshore sailor, both technically and in terms of his energy. He is very positive and contributes to the team, which for me is almost more important than whether they are good or bad sailors.

“Being part of Oman Sail is a platform for doing something great and he is really making the most of his opportunity.

“We are all making progress especially Jeff Cuzon who has been doing a great job in the nav station. He understands better and better what these boats can do and what is and isn’t dangerous from a navigation point of view.

Crew of Musandam (Photo by Mark Lloyd)

“Khamis came in and replaced Mohsin Al Busaidi for this leg but Mohsin took it the right way and although Khamis was seasick, his energy was impressive. I think he may have been our lucky charm.”

“I am so happy for the team – very proud of them and of our flag,” added Al Hasni.

“I always felt we could win because each time we finished a leg, we discovered something new and added to our experience. In this leg, we discovered we were very fast in the light winds, which has given us a lot of confidence.

“We have beaten some of the best sailors in the world by a long distance and that makes us proud,” said a tired Al Hasni who was planning on a big 24 hour sleep, waking up only when he needed to eat.

For Khamis al Anbouri, it was his first experience of sailing offshore after a career spent mainly racing inshore, during which time, he has posted a win against MOD70 European Tour rival Yann Guichard in the Extreme 40s

“It was my first offshore race and winning the stage was amazing. It shows we are competitive. I was seasick just for an hour but I was able to keep on working because I was so happy to be on board for the leg.

“I love to compete and win especially against these sailors because they are the best. I have now beaten Yann Guichard twice – one in the Extreme 40s and now this.

“It would be nice one day to see an Omani sailor skippering one of these boats and I shall be working very hard towards that aim.”

In Cascais last week, Michel Desjoyeaux, one of most admired and respected offshore sailors in the world commended the Musandam-Oman Sail crew on their progress in the European Tour.

“Sidney (Gavignet) and Oman Sail has improved fast as a team,” he said.

“It’s a very hard job to win because the delivery is very high on all the boats, and because the boats are one design it is difficult to be first.

“My advice for the young Omanis back home is that they have the opportunity today for some of them to sail on the MOD70 but it is the highest they can achieve at the moment. They have to consider that it is a real chance for them but to learn sailing they must sail as much as possible.

“They must sail every kind of boat they can, every race they can and don’t hesitate to take the chance to change boats and sail all kinds of boat, small boats, big boats, boats with full crew, short crew, offshore, inshore to get more experience.”

The Musandam-Oman Sail team will now get some rest ahead of the Marseille City Race which starts on Friday.

 

Leg 4 Cascais to Marseille


1. Musandam Oman Sail finish time: 07h 11m 34s  (3 days 16 hours 11 minutes and 34 2 seconds)

2. Race for Water: 2h 23m 7s from winner

3. FONCIA: 2h 45m 32s from winner

 

Coming up:

28/09: Marseille City Race

29/09: Marseille City Race

30/09: Start of Leg 5 Marseille – Genoa

Oman Sail's MOD70 Musandam skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) crosses the line and wins the offshore leg between Cascais - Marseille (Photo by Mark Lloyd)


Sidney Gavignet and Musandam Crew Celebrate 3 Wins (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / S.A.MOD70)

Sidney Gavignet and Musandam Crew Celebrate 3 Wins (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / S.A.MOD70)

Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet with his international crew became the third different team to win City Race series in successive stops of the MOD70 European Tour when they triumphed in the sixth race in Cascais, Portugal.
 
Musandam-Oman Sail won three of the six races sailed over three days, almost all in light breeze, which proved somewhat contrary to Cascais reputation for reliable strong winds. Smarting after losing second place to FONCIA in the final half mile to the finish of the offshore stage from Dun Laoghaire at dawn in very light airs early on Wednesday morning, Gavignet and his crew realised then they had a small deficit in speed to Michel Desjoyeaux’s crew. They made changes accordingly and, aligned to steady starting and some strong tactics from Jean Francois Cuzon, have remained very consistent, complementing their three wins with two thirds and a fifth to win ahead of Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing.

Musandam-Oman Sail collect 12 precious points in the chase for the MOD70 European Tour while second place for Spindrift racing ensures they increase their overall lead in the general classification. 

Race 5
From a race which was contested in only a very light and patchy SW’ly breeze that never topped more than 6kts and faded to almost nothing in areas, Yann Guichard’s crew on Spindrift racing took the winning gun for Race 5 of the City Race series. With Musandam-Oman Sail finishing fifth, Spindrift racing temporarily had the overall series lead by a single point. Although it was Sébastien Josse’s team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who made the best start and lead to the first offset mark, on the upwind leg, they ran out of wind pressure in the middle right of the leg.

Spindrift racing and FONCIA chose to stay closer to the Cascais shore where they found some localised acceleration of the wind and were able to round the top mark in first and second.

With the breeze fading and developing big holes, although the MOD70’s moved with impressive efficiency in the light winds, Race Direction chose to halt the race after one round of the triangle course.  This time the triangle course was upwind-downwind as opposed to the downwind-upwind format of yesterday and Friday.

Race 6
It was in Race 6, the final inshore contest of Cascais, that cemented the overall Cascais City Race series for Musandam-Oman Sail, winning by two points ahead of Spindrift racing.

Three boats were called over the start line early, FONCIA, Race for Water and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.

Musandam-Oman Sail emerged from with the lead and were able to stay ahead around the two lap course.

Race for Water restarted smartly and made a smart good recovery at the top end of the first windward leg. In the end they were able to push Musandam-Oman Sail hard at the finish line.

Results after six City Races
1- Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) : 10+10+12+12+8+12 = 64 points
2- Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) : 11+11+9+10+12+9 = 62 points
3- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) : 12+9+10+9+9+10 = 59 points
4- Race for Water (Stève Ravussin) : 9+12+8+8+10+11 = 58 points
5- FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) : 8+8+11+11+11+8 = 57 points

MOD70 European Tour Standings. After two offshore stages and three City Race series.
1- Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) 11+47+12+52+11 = 133 points
2- FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) 12+53+10+46+8 = 129 points
3-Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 10+44+11+41+10 = 116 points
4- Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) 9+34+8+42+12 = 105 points
5- Race for Water (Stève Ravussin) 8+38+9+35+9 = 99 points

Sidney Gavignet, FRA skipper Musandam-Oman Sail (OMA): “ We are happy, we won three races from six which is pretty good.  It is great, just great. What is good is that we just work on making progress and we did not need to make big progress, but to just keeping making progress step by step all the time wherever you start from and we started pretty low. We lost crew on the first race in Kiel. We broke the daggerboard in Dublin, so we were starting from quite low, and had some problems. But we kept working. We kept the positive spirit and little by little we get more cards to play the game with. What we learned here, if we had those two cards on the way in, we would have been second from Dublin. One is easy we could not pass the battens across in the light winds and the other is speed with the gennaker. So for sure we are making progress and growing in confidence and that affects the others who lose in confidence, we need to keep progressing.
We have a contract with ourselves, we said our goal was to finish mid fleet, so a podium, and it is start. The points for winning here are not much compared to winning offshore, but it’s a step in the right direction. So we are kind of into our stride. We are better organised.
Jean Francois Cuzon is the tactician and does it all. I am just the helmsman. We are still not at 100% confidence and sometimes we are just looking at the others to see how to go fast. I think one thing we have done well is if you want the tactician-strategist to do the job well you have to leave them the space to do it well. For the Omani’s I am sometimes a bit hard on them, over their shoulders, and that is not good because I am not doing my job so well. And I am putting pressure on them, So on the first day we regrouped a little, and each one is doing their job well. Now I let everyone do their job. »

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17/09 
8h30   : Skippers’ Briefing
11h00 : Start Leg 3
18/09  : Arrival Leg 3
20/09  : Start Leg 4 Cascais – Marseille
Spindrift Wins KRYS by (Th. Martinez  /Sea & Co/ MOD 70)

Spindrift Wins KRYS by (Th. Martinez /Sea & Co/ MOD 70)

Yann Guichard and his crew of five crossed the finish line on Thursday July 12 at 12hrs 08m 37s UTC (14hrs 08m 37s) to take overall victory in the inaugural KRYS OCEAN RACE transatlantic race in an elapsed time four days 21 hours 08 minutes 37s, an average of 25.03 kts on this 2950 miles race course.
 
In this first ocean race for the new MOD70 one design multihull class, Spindrift racing finished about an hour and a half ahead of Sébastien Josse’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and FONCIA, who were about a quarter of an hour behind second, after a great race across the Atlantic from New York to Brest in winds which is rarely dropped below twenty knots …This is the first great ocean racing victory for Yann Guichard.
At 38, this former Olympic Tornado catamaran sailor, who finished fourth in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, has amassed considerable multihull experience offshore with Marc Guillemot, Bruno Peyron and Franck Cammas, racing solo across the Atlantic in 2010, but also on the Swiss lakes in the D35 and M-2 multihulls.
He has also raced inshore as helm in the America’s Cup World Series and the Extreme 40 series.

Launched in January this year, Spindrift racing is MOD70 hull number 5, and has been taken on by his crew, which includes Pascal Bidégorry, Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant, Jacques Guichard, Leo Lucet and Kevin Escoffier.

Bidégorry, Escoffier and Le Vaillant are among those who set the existing outright Atlantic record in 2009.

Spindrift racing sailed an actual 3284 miles on the water at an average of 28.04 knots.

Spindrift Bow by George Bekris

Spindrift Bow by George Bekris

For the leaders of the KRYS OCEAN RACE the frontal system that they have ridden since Saturday night continues to prove the gift, which keeps on giving.
Before leaving New York, initial predictions suggested that the five MOD70’s would benefit for at least three to four days, but as the leaders now contemplate negotiating the north east side of the Azores high pressure system, it now seems likely they will have every chance of curving progressively towards Ireland, the Scillies gate and then to the finish line in Brest with hardly any reduction in speed.Sébastien Col, tactician and helm from FONCIA, even suggested today that the most favourable weather files had them reaching the finish with no gybes.With the S-SW’ly winds still hitting over 30kts this afternoon, their fourth since leaving Manhattan, the speeds of the three leading MOD70’s continue to be impressive. Spindrift racing have clocked up another day of more than 700 miles on the mid afternoon rankings, holding their average speed just under 30kts.So far Spindrift racing’s remarkable 711.9 miles sailed over 24 hours, set Monday, is the highest run yet.Yann Guichard and his team, which has lead since Sunday night, still managed to increase their margin on the chasing duo today. With around 1300 miles to sail to the finish, Spindrift racing was holding an advance of 50 miles this afternoon ahead of Seb Josse and crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with FONCIA 13 miles behind them in third.Foncia’s Sébastien Col told the live radio call today that their best option should present itself as they pass over the Azores high pressure system. Depending on its evolution as the more southerly boat of the leading trio, FONCIA may find a better, reaching angle sooner whilst their two opponents may find themselves slowed, on a more downwind, open angle.

But patience has, to some extent, been part of the FONCIA strategy, Col acknowledging on today’s radio vacation with KRYS OCEAN RACE HQ in Brest, that both Spindrift racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild have continued with better wind strength and angle.

Col said: “ We are slightly slower than them and just have to try to sail the boat as fast as we can. With this little disadvantage we try to cross the high pressure not too far behind these two guys, and then try to catch places after.”

The mood remains stoic, mostly upbeat on fourth placed Musandam-Oman Sail. They have adapted well to their compromised predicament, managing to replace their damaged port foil with the starboard one, a delicate manoeuvre in 25-30kts of wind which required all the strength of three crew plus one helping the lift on a halyard.  Though they had tried to sail without a foil, they had found the boat liable to nosediving. But in their new configuration they were making a decent 26 knots average this afternoon, but were some 122 miles behind FONCIA.

The leading boats are expected Friday, spearing right into the first day of the massive Tonneres de Brest maritime festival.

The 20th anniversary international gathering of mariners and craft of all shapes and sizes is expected to attract somewhere around 800,000 visitors to Brest’s seven kilometres of waterfront festivities and runs 13th to 19th July.

Quotes:

Sébastien Col, FONCIA, tactician, trimmer, helm: “Today FONCIA is sailing just above Spindrift and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, our target is the waypoint to the north of the high pressure which we will reach in approximately 24 hours.  We are sailing a little slower than Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Spindrift because we are a bit more south than them and have a little bit less wind and they have a better angle and so that means we are slightly slower than them so just have to try to sail the boat as fast as we can. With this little disadvantage we try to cross the high pressure not too far behind these two guys, and then will try to catch places after. We are targeting only one gybe to approach the Scilly Islands. One of the best routages we have actually shows that we have no gybes, and so that even suggests it will be very fast for the end of the race.”

Ryan Breymaier, No 1, Musandam-Oman Sail: “We are going well at the moment – pretty much full speed. When the foil failed, we had to take it out because there was a lot of turbulence and drag and the boat was very slow – about 22 knots – though when it came out completely, the bow dug in a lot so we had to reduce sail. We didn’t feel comfortable trying to change the foil from one side to the other during the night but now we have the foil from the starboard side on the port side, which makes things normal again. The guys are getting tired as it weighs 100kgs and takes three crew plus one on the halyard every time we change it over, but hopefully we will only have to do it twice more during the race.”
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