Archive | Barcelona World Race

50 days to the start and the Seventh Anniversary of the first Barcelona World Race

Posted on 13 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Barcelona World Race] The start of the first edition was given at 13:00 (local time GMT+1) on the 11th of November 2007. There were nine boats on the starting line, with 18 skippers, including some of the best solo and double-handed sailors in the world, from seven different countries: France (9), Spain (4), UK (1), Australia (1), USA (1), Ireland (1) and Switzerland (1).

The race started after ten days of build up with a large number of visitors turning out to enjoy the Race Village opened on Barcelona’s Moll de la Fusta. There people could take a look at the IMOCA racing machines close-up before they set off. This was an important event for the city, with the Village and start day attracting some 500,000 visitors and saw 650 boats on the water to watch the IMOCA 60s set off on their adventure.

The first edition did have something of British flavour, with Britain’s Alex Thomson and Australian Andrew Cape on Hugo Boss (94d 17h, 34m 57s) finishing in second place. But it was Paprec Virbac 2Jean-Pierre Dick of France and Ireland’s Damian Foxall who triumphed in the Barcelona World Race, crossing the finish line on the 11th of February 2008 at 21:49:00 local time, after 92 days, 9 hours, 49 minutes and 49 seconds of sailing around the planet. Theirs has been the fastest Barcelona World Race to date.

In the second edition (2010/11), starting on 31st December 2010, Jean-Pierre Dick took victory once again, this time with fellow Frenchman Loïck Peyron on Virbac-Paprec 3. The pair completed the circumnavigation of the globe in 93 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 36 seconds (one day and 13 hours more than the previous edition).

Now into its third edition, the Barcelona World Race is a well-established globally know race which has consistently raised the bar with each successive edition; an outstanding achievement through the years of world economic crisis. The race is also the global benchmark for double-handed ocean sailing, its success backed up by a truly impressive list of entries that has grown with every edition and a huge and ever-increasing following.

50 days to the start, organization and teams are preparing the last details for the start on 31st December.

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Alex Thomson: “The boat is faster, but I can’t fall in love with it”

Posted on 25 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Barcelona World Race] The boat which has been updated to conform with the new IMOCA rule was remeasured accordingly and then at the end of this month it will be sailed to the Mediterranean where it is planned that Thomson and race partner Pepe Ribes will fine tune their training and preparations, interspersed with times at home with their young families.

Alex’ baby daughter Georgia was born four months ago and the British skipper has been enjoying being with her and his family before he sets off on his next round the world race.

“There will be some performance gains with the new rule but the main thing we have been concentrating on has been reliability. For example we have changed the backstays system, we have completely surveyed and tested the mast and reinforced it in places and so it should be safer and less prone to breakage. We have completely replaced all the keelbolts as a precaution and fitted a new engine.” Thomson offers.

Although ultimately Alex sat out June’s New York to Barcelona race, staying home for the birth of his daughter, he is content that he and Ribes have sailed enough miles together. “You’d always like to have done more, that is in the nature of it, but I’m happy.” He says.
Previously they have sailed to Poland and back and across the Atlantic. “Basically I did everything except the race and so that must be around 10,000 miles.”

Hugo Boss is the VPLP-Verdier design which was previously Jean-Pierre Dick’s Virbac-Paprec 3, which won the last edition of the Barcelona World Race, and Thomson cherishes many of the features of the new boat, but it is no love affair!

“The boat is definitely faster and that is what counts. It is a lot stiffer as a composite structure and you feel it, it feels faster. But I can’t fall in love with it. I do like the old boat. This boat has less protection, though I do like being able to drive from inside the pod.” Alex states that he very much enjoys the sociability and the companionship of two handed sailing, and each of his partners has been different in terms of personality and sailing skills.

Ribes is of course Spanish – like their Barcelona World Race rival Guillermo Altadill with whom Alex finished second in the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre – but they are different individuals, as Thomson considers: “Their culture is essentially similar. They are both very tough and hard working and both come from the Volvo which means they are used to ‘taking it’ (staying on deck taking the weather and sea’s punishment) while I like a bit of shelter, but the similarities end there. Guillermo is much more expressive, so you know very quickly when he is not happy. He is more Latin if you like. And Pepe is not quite so. Sailing wise Pepe is more new school, very up to date with everything, more numbers orientated and driven, Guillermo is much more by feel and more ‘seat of the pants’.”

“With Pepe I think we are pretty equal in terms of how we will work the boat. If a decision needs to be made one of us will make it. He is quite extrovert and I am sure we will challenge each other.”

“Of course it will take some work. All relationships need work to flourish.” Thomson asserts.

The British skipper says he learned so much from his third place in the last Vendée Globe, the solo race non stop around the world, a result he had put more than 10 years of his life into achieving. But he does not think the upcoming Barcelona World Race will be any less intense: “It will be as intense, but in a different way. With two you push that much harder, there is less risk and it is way more fun. I really think it will be very close between the first four boats.”

He is very much looking forwards to this race having been sidelined during the last one. Each race brings new learning:

He smiles: “I learn race by race. As you get older you certainly become more attuned to what is going to happen or what might happen. On the Vendée Globe I learned a lot about carbon repairs. Hopefully with Pepe as the boatbuilder then I won’t be doing that this time!”.

“What I like about the Barcelona World Race is that it is properly international and it is double handed. These things are important to me.”
And as for his rivalry and friendship with Neutrogena’s Guillermo Altadill: “Let’s just say we have to beat him. He may be from the same team and is a good friend but we are out to beat him. Team orders? There would never be any. And can you really ever see Guillermo following them!?!”

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100 days to the start

Posted on 22 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Barcelona World Race] Anticipation, emotion and excitement. Those are some of the emotions being experienced today by both the Barcelona World Race organisers and the teams taking part in the world’s only two-crew, non-stop round the world regatta.

There are exactly 100 days to go until one of the planet’s most gruelling competitions kicks off; an adventure and a challenge that pushes human endurance to the limit.

The third edition of the Barcelona World Race, organised by the Fundación Navegación Oceánica Barcelona (FNOB), will set off from the Spanish city of Barcelona on the 31st of December. The yachts will hear the starting gun fire at 13:00 (GMT +1), on the starting line opposite the W Barcelona Hotel. They will then set off on a non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, covering a total of 24,000 miles (44,448 km) from Barcelona to Barcelona, putting the capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn to port (their left) and Antarctica to starboard (their right). Over the course of three months the skippers will pass through 12 climate zones and three oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.

For some 90 days the sporting partnerships will race on IMOCA 60 yachts, 18 metres in length. These are sea giants, as long as a three-axle lorry and as high as ten-storey building. The yachts’ sail area in fair winds is larger than three tennis courts put together. However, the living areas inside the boat are tiny, with just ten square metres for the sailors to move in. The crew of two must share that reduced space for three months, in extreme conditions; suffocating heat at the Equator, and bone-chilling cold in the Southern Ocean, where hurricane winds and gigantic waves sweep across the deck of the boat with mighty force.

There will be between eight and ten yachts on the starting line. For all of them, preparation for the regatta has entered its final stages and the clock has begun ticking.

Neutrogena with Barcelona’s own Guillermo Altadill and Chilean skipper José Muñoz has had a lot of time to get ready. “The boat is ready. We could load on the food and set off tomorrow”, said Altadill, confidently, for whom the Barcelona World Race is unfinished business.

Cheminées Poujoulat has just come out of the shipyard and is now ready for some sailing test runs. On board, experienced skippers Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam notch up no less than six Vendée Globe entries, nine circumnavigations of the globe and sixty transatlantic crossings between them. However, this will be the first time the Swiss and French sailors, two titans of ocean sailing, will share a yacht…

Hugo Boss with Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes, however, is still at the shipyard in refit mode. “Are we ready for the Barcelona World Race?” the famous British yachtsman asks himself. “We’re getting there. We’re training and doing what we’ve got to do to be able to compete successfully. We’re looking forward to the start”.

Catalan skippers Aleix Gelabert and Dídac Costa, first-timers in a round the world regatta, have just celebrated the official launch of their yacht, One Planet, One Ocean, sailing with the support of the Pharmaton brand and with an important scientific mission ahead, guided by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. The pair are set to start the final sailing test runs ahead of the big day.

There will be an official presentation of GAES Centros Auditivos on Thursday this week. Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín are facing the final phase of preparation for what will be for both skippers their second round the world regatta, although this time with different partners. The pair have planned a final test sail for next week to fine-tune the yacht ahead of the regatta.

Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane will soon be revealing the details of their new boat and sponsor. “We make a great team and we have a good boat, so we’re happy”, said Riechers.

Polish sailors Zbigniew “Gutek” Gutkowski and Maciej “Magic” Marczewski will finalise their Barcelona World Race registration in the coming weeks and will also be announcing their sponsor and boat name. The pair have been sailing on their yacht almost daily for the past four months, which is currently undergoing a refit.

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One Planet, One Ocean, sponsored by Pharmaton, presented

Posted on 18 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Barcelona World Race] The boat One Planet, One Planet Ocean which will participate in the third edition of the Barcelona World Race sponsored by Pharmaton® , has been presented today at midday. The presentation act has been attended by the main guests, skippers Aleix Gelabert and Dídac Costa, who were joined on this occasion by actor Jesús Olmedo; Susana Laguna, head of PR at OTC in Boehringer-Ingelheim and Xavier Amador, Director of Institutional Relations from the Department of Life Quality, Equality and Sports of Barcelona City Council.

Following the speeches from the main guests, the skippers and the Pharmaton® ambassador went on board the One Planet, One Ocean, and Jesús Olmedo handed over two boxes of Pharmaton® to the skippers symbolising the energy required to sail around the world. The actor then broke a bottle of cava over the bow for good luck in the next voyages.

Collaboration with UNESCO

The team formed by Aleix Gelabert and Dídac Costa will collaborate in several projects during the race around the world through the cooperation between the Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona (FNOB) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO (COI-UNESCO).

The results of the One Planet, One Ocean-Pharmaton® will contribute to the efforts of the Scientific Community, coordinated by the COI-UNESCO, and will constitute a fundamental part of the Barcelona World Race educational programme.

A strong, reliable boat

The One Planet, One Ocean-Pharmaton® is the former Kingfisher, the boat on board which Ellen MacArthur achieved breaking the Atlantic record from Plymouth to Newport in 2000, finished second in the Vendée Globe 2000/01 and claimed victory at the 2002 Route du Rhum. Furthermore, the boat participated in the previous two editions of the BWR as Educación sin Fronteras in 2007/08 and Fòrum Marítim Català in2010/11. The One Planet, One Ocean-Pharmaton® is a strong, efficient boat designed by Owen-Clarke Design, and built in 2000 in New Zealand. The boat has undergone a thorough inspection in the FNOB Sailing Base with several keel and appendix tests, inspection of the manoeuvring system and the tuning of all electronic equipment.

The team

Aleix Gelabert

Born in Girona 37 years ago. Architect. The Barcelona World Race means a huge step following a successful participation at the Mini Transat 2011, which was his first crucial test. A prestigious professional in the world of technical preparation of racing boats, Aleix is familiar with the IMOCA class after being a member of the Onshore team of boats such as GAES Centros Auditivos with team Anna Corbella and Dee Caffari, on board which he sailed the Vuelta a España held in 2010. He was also member of the Synerciel (former Renault Z.E.), boat on board which he sailed the tuning crossing from Barcelona to Lorient together with Jean Le Cam and Bruno García, before the French sailor’s Vendée Globe. In offshore cruiser regattas he holds two victories in the Copa del Rey. He was also a member of the Spanish Pre-Olympic team for the Athens 2004 Olympics. Aleix Gelabert sails representing Club de Vela Blanes.

Dídac Costa

Born in Barcelona 33 years ago. Fireman and undoubtedly the indispensable qualities developed in this hard and highly technical profession have been very important in his Oceanic career. All of them will be one of the elements to be taken into consideration on board the One Planet, One Ocean Pharmaton®. Dídac is one of the young sailors from the Mini youth squads. His sailing career is mainly based on Solo and two crew races. In the 2011 edition of the Mini Transat 6.50 he was the first Spanish team in the Serie category. He has won regattas such as the Sanremo Mini SOLO, the Mini MED 500, two crew race, and the Ophiusa Regatta. He was third at the Gran Premio Italia, two crew race, in 2013 together with Bruno García. Dídac Costa sails representing Club Nàutic l’Escala.

The team has been working over the past months in the boat tuning starting the first navigations last July. Following the qualification course for the regatta, of over 2,800 miles in Atlantic waters, the team will head to Sanxenxo (Galicia) to undertake the last big Oceanic training.

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Barcelona World Race: the countdown has begun

Posted on 16 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Barcelona World Race] With just three and a half months to go until the start of the Barcelona World Race, the countdown has begun for the teams taking part in the double-handed, non-stop, round the world challenge. Getting ‘back to school’  has been even more intense this year for the teams, after a summer that left little time for relaxing as the skippers followed their regatta preparation schedules both on shore and out on the water.

Cheminées Poujoulat

These summer months have seen the French-Swiss team Cheminées Poujoulat stick to their plan, focussing on making adjustments to the boat under the watchful supervision of skippers Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam and adapting the yacht to their requirements. The boat has undergone a refit in Brest (France). From September 19th, Cheminées Poujoulat will launch into an intensive schedule of training.


For Neutrogena, with Spain’s Guillermo Altadill and Chile’s José Muñoz, it has been a busy summer, as the Catalan skipper explains: “We’ve been doing a bit of everything; training, sailing and a boat refit and we’ve also taken some time off, although we’ve been racing on other boats. There are always more regattas during the summer, so I like to take part in as many as I can, on any type of boat and with different people. It gives you a lot of knowledge and experience”.

Altadill is happy with the boat preparation: “It’s ready. We have a new keel, a new bulb, new rigging and sails. The boat has been improved as far as possible for the team, so it’s ready. We could even load on the food and set off tomorrow!”.

The Spaniard said that the crew preparation was covering “all areas”, to boost skills and get to grips with the onboard systems. “Personally I’m very focussed right now on physical training and getting a better understanding of the meteorology”, he said.

The motivation displayed by Altadill comes as no surprise. Despite his immense ocean sailing experience, the Barcelona World Race is still unfinished business for the skipper: “I’ve taken part in many round the world regattas, but I have never finished a Barcelona World Race. I want to finish it and in a good position. I always forget about what I’ve done before and focus completely on the next competition, as if it were the most important race of my career”.

Hereon the team’s plans are clear: “We’re going to do our final test run of 2,000 miles, we’ll take the boat to Barcelona and we’ll wait for the start. Whilst we’re there we’ll meet with the sponsors, continue our physical and mental training and we’ll relax a bit”, explained the skipper from Barcelona.

One Planet One Ocean

For Aleix Gelabert and Dídac Costa there has been no time for a holiday. “For us every minute is worth its weight in gold”, said Gelabert.

The boat was put back on the water on the 25th of June after an extensive refit. “We spent the month of July doing short runs on the boat to get to grips with the onboard systems and to continue getting to know the boat. In August we did the qualifying run for the Barcelona World Race: 2,800 miles via the Canaries and Madeira. We had 15 days of intensive sailing, which was really useful for us to draw some conclusions”, explained Gelabert.

Costa also commented: “After three months of working on shore with the boat and doing physical training we’re now in the phase of notching up as many hours on the water as we can. The aim is to really get to see how the boat handles in different conditions and to maximise the dynamic between us”.

Gelabert said: “We’re really excited and happy to see how we are burning through the different stages leading to the start of this round the world regatta”.

The plan for the coming months is to “try out the new sails, fine-tune the boat’s polars, polish off some of our manoeuvres, square up the energy consumption and lots of other things”, said Costa. “And to sail as much as possible”, added Gelabert. “So, we’ve haven’t got time to hang around!”, said Costa.

There’s no doubt that the team’s schedule leaves no room for resting: “At the end of September we’ll sail to Sanxenxo in Galicia, where we’ll spend the entire month of October, sailing in ocean conditions, which are difficult to come across in the Mediterranean. That will be the last big test for us to really try out the boat and as a crew ahead of the Barcelona World Race”.

The team are also fine-tuning the instruments they’ll be carrying on board One Planet One Ocean as part of the collaboration between the FNOB and the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission, that sees them taking part in various scientific projects during the regatta. “Right now the technicians are working on the data recording system (temperature, salinity and microplastics concentration) so that the levels are sent directly to land every team we link up via satellite, so that we can minimise the impact of the experiments on our sailing routine”, said Dídac Costa.

GAES Centros Auditivos

The GAES Centros Auditivos team with Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín did stop to enjoy some well-deserved holiday time, however.  The IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race and all of the preparation in the run-up to the regatta “meant five very intense months” so the crew needed “a little break to enable us to take on the final stretch to the start of the Barcelona World Race with our batteries recharged”, said Corbella.

The boat itself has been undergoing the final refit ahead of the Barcelona World Race. “As well as carrying out improvements that we skippers felt were necessary after the New York to Barcelona Race”, says Marín. “The entire boat has been given a new coat of paint, the new keel has been put in and the boat and mast have been thoroughly checked to guarantee that they are ready for sailing round the world, among other jobs”.

“We’re heading into the final strait. The boat is almost ready and we’re following the scheduled plan on a number of fronts: physical preparation, meteorology and training sessions for different boat systems, such as the electronics and upperworks and electrics and hydraulics”, adds the Catalan sailor, who said that both skippers were “very happy with the potential and the performance of the boat and were very hopeful ahead of this latest challenge with GAES Centros Auditivos”.

With three and a half months to go to the start, the team is back in action to test out the changes to the boat carried out during the most recent refit, testing out new sails and fine-tuning polars, as well as training on the water and boosting their physical condition with training. At the end of September the crew will sail to Galicia (Spain) to take on the final test with the definitive boat configuration for the Barcelona World Race, trying out all of the onboard systems in ocean sailing conditions.

“We’ll return to Barcelona at the beginning of November. Thereon until the start we won’t be pushing the boat, so as not to take any unnecessary risks and we’ll focus on our own personal preparation”, the skippers said.

Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss has had a very busy summer indeed, including training on the water with Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes sailing together to Poland and Denmark. However, the British skipper did manage to take a couple of weeks off to enjoy some time with his family and to relax. Pepe Ribes also managed to spend time with his wife and son.

Right now the boat is in the shipyard, in refit mode. “When Hugo Boss gets back on the water I think the priority will be continuing to train together. We’ve planned the coming months in great detail and there’s always a lot to do, because each day brings new challenges and solutions”, explained the Spanish skipper.

“Are we ready for the Barcelona World Race?” Thomson asks himself. “We’re getting there. We’re training and doing what we need to do to compete successfully. So I don’t think we need to get nervous or stressed, because we’ve been preparing well. We’re really excited about the start”.

Alex Thomson doesn’t think there are any favourites: “There are lots of teams with the potential to win. The experience of Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam is enormous, Neutrogena has demonstrated it can go up against the latest generation yachts and GAES Centros Auditivos has been training really hard… The competition will be tough and I think Pepe and I are in a good position and we’ve got a good boat, so we’ll see. I’m really looking forward to it!”.

Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane

The team with Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane suffered a setback when the German publishers Mare abandoned their project in April this year. The pair have spent the past few months on the lookout for a new boat for the Barcelona World Race, as the yacht they had been set to race on went to Bernard Stamm.

The German French duo will soon be ready with news of their new boat and sponsor.

Zbigniew Gutkowski and Maciej Marczewski (pre-registered)

The team with Zbigniew “Gutek” Gutkowski and Maciej “Magic” Marczewski have recently pre-registered for the Barcelona World Race. The two Polish skippers are set to complete their registration in the coming weeks, when they will also announce the name of their sponsor and the name of their boat, POL 53, the yacht Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape sailed to second place in the Barcelona World Race 2007/08.

Gutek and Magic have already tested out their boat, sailing almost daily for the past four months to test out and make modifications to the boat configuration, mast and rigging. The boat is currently undergoing a refit at the Sunreef shipyard in Gdansk (Poland), including paintwork, changes to the electronics, lines, rigging, new sails and a general inspection. Meanwhile, the duo have begun an intensive physical training programme including cycling, crossfit and running.


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Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam at the start of the Barcelona World Race

Posted on 17 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: IMOCA Ocean Masters] Bernard Stamm has hardly stopped over the past few months, busily putting his new project into place. The determined Swiss sailor won his bet today as he prepares for a new round-the-world race – double-handed this time.

So the double winner of the Around Alone will be on the startline at the next edition of the Barcelona World race at the helm of an IMOCA 60 – former Jörg Riechers’ boat Mare – which will be dressed up in the colours of Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard’s loyal partner since 2003 who will side with him again on this new adventure. Jean Le Cam will accompany him on this “four-handed” adventure.

Since last December, Bernard Stamm has done everything in his power to bounce back and build up a new project. “Everything kind of fell apart with I lost my boat, especially since no other IMOCA 60 seemed to be available. Which is why I tried working on other projects simultaneously, and some of them nearly worked. Then I found out through the class that an IMOCA boat was on the market, so I went for it.” Bernard Stamm has signed a lease contract with an option to buy Jörg Riecher’s Farr-design boat that was launched in 2007 and aboard which Michel Desjoyeaux won the 2008-09 Vendée Globe. It then came second in the 2010-11 Barcelona World Race with Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, and was back at the 2012-13 Vendée Globe with Jérémie Beyou.

“It has been regularly re-fitted to follow the IMOCA rule and all work carried out has been done well. It’s still a big step down for me, since my team and I had developed our previous boat to a really high level,” explains Bernard, who will be sailing his new boat from Lorient to Brest this week. “We will work on the 60-foot boat at our home-base, completing the work that the old owner began then adapting it to our way of working. And of course we’ll dress it up with our sponsors colours,” he added, happy to announce that Cheminées Poujoulat, world leader in fireplaces and chimneys, will be continuing to support him as he heads towards the third edition of the Barcelona World race, the only round-the-world double-handed non-stop and without assistance race, which starts in Barcelona in Spain on 31 December 2014. “Cheminées Poujoulat has been active in sailing with Bernard Stamm for aver 10 years. Participating in a round-the-world with such an experienced and competitive team is a great opportunity for our brand,” declared Frédéric Coirier, CEO of the Poujoulat Group.

Quite a tandem!

“Between us, we have accumulated a huge amount of miles, that’s for sure. Racing together will be an enriching experience – things kind of happened by chance, but it’s great,” said Jean Le Cam. Together the two men will form one of the most experienced teams in the race.”

Between them they accumulate no less than six Vendée Globe participations, nine round-the-worlds and sixty or so Transats! Suffice to say that the two men aren’t just here to take part – they’re here to win. Over the next few months they will be doing everything they can to get there, although they are aware they’ll have to move and adapt fast. “The race start is tomorrow! The boat should be back in the water by the end of August and then we have to learn to tame it. We’ll multiply our training sessions, tests, calibrations as much as we can in order to be at the top as quickly as possible,” continues the Swiss sailor who will be fully supported by his loyal team. “I’ve done everything I can to maintain my team and base in Brest over the past months. It wasn’t easy but today these efforts are paying off and that’s good news,” he stated, adding that he will continue to sail on the Diam 24 One Design circuit in parallel. “We’re already committed and it allows us to maintain a continuity in our preparation. We’ll be taking part in the next races even if we missed the Trinité-sur-Mer race last weekend. And I’ll have to step up my physical preparation to be 100% up to speed by September because I still have a few cervical problems from my accident in December that I’m treating with my physiotherapist. All the thorax injuries have healed”, concluded Bernard who should soon be announcing the arrival of new partners very shorty.

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IMOCA 60 Safran heads to Cadiz as Marc Guillemot suffers injury

Posted on 12 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: IMOCA Ocean Masters] On the 10th day of the Transat New York to Barcelona Race, the IMOCA 60 race boat Safran, skippered by Marc Guillemot and Morgan Lagraviére, are heading towards Cadiz in the south of Spain.

Last night, around 0230 hrs local time, during a manœuvre on the foredeck in around 35-40 knots of wind, Marc had a fall during which he suffered an injury. He is experiencing strong pain in his ribs.

Both sailors have decided to head towards Cadiz in order to get further medical assistance.

The duo have had a great race so far and they were in the lead of the fleet a few miles from the Strait of Gibraltar. Safran is now 20 miles from Cadiz.

The race organisation is putting in place all the necessary support and logistics to welcome the Skippers and the boat to Cadiz.

Further information will be made available as soon as we have more news.

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Start of New York to Barcelona race

Posted on 01 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: IMOCA Ocean Masters] Today the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona race set sail at 1210 local time. On the start line directly off North Cove Marina in the shadow of the One World Trade Centre, newly built on the site of Ground Zero, it was GAES Centros Auditivos and Team Neutrogena that got the best start in the light conditions, making the most of the ebb on the Hudson River, the banks of New York’s famous waterway lined with spectators.

But in a great display of tactical prowess it was Hugo Boss, sailed by American-Spanish crew Ryan Breymaier and Pepe Ribes, that headed off to the left side of the course. They benefitted from the best current close to Governors Island. As the rest of the fleet was becalmed in the centre of New York Harbour’s Upper Bay, the silver IMOCA 60 was able to slip past the fleet, into first place.

Hugo Boss was first to reach the turning mark off Ellis Island, some three minutes ahead of the French crew Marc Guillemot and Morgan Lagravière aboard Safran with Spain’s Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin on Gaes Centros Auditivos holding third in turn just over two minutes ahead of Team Neutrogena.

Once under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the boats were heading for a mark at the entrance to the channel leading towards New York harbour. This mark is in the same position as the Ambrose Light and it is from here that the record passage between New York and Barcelona will be measured.

As the boats now head out into the Atlantic, tactically the next 24-48 hours will be among the race’s most crucial. To minimise the chance of contact with icebergs the race management team has including an ice zone the boats are prohibited from entering, which extends all the way down to 40degS. So the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona boats are now heading due east, but directly in their way is a depression, centred some 650 miles off the coast. As a result the boats will encounter building northeasterly winds the further offshore they sail tonight and will have to make the decision to head north or the south of the depression.

After arriving into New York only yesterday morning, the repair work and preparations for the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race have still not been completed on Nandor Fa’s Spirit of Hungary. However the Hungarian team did officially start the race on time today. Co-skipper Marcell Goszleth explained : “The plan is to start with the fleet and do our best but after the start we informed the jury and the race committee that we suspended racing and we have now come back to finish all the repairs before we continue on. We hope to leave as soon as possible.”

Hugo Boss’ Ryan Breymaier commented: “It looks like it will be quite light today, but as it is bright and sunny this afternoon we’ll get a nice sea breeze to get us out of the harbour and along the Long Island shore for the first afternoon. Then we’ll head offshore to try and get into more gradient wind.”

After making a reasonable exit from New York Harbour, Neutrogena’s Guillermo Altadill also believed reaching the gradient wind was crucial. “One of the keys to the race will be entering that as soon as possible after losing the influence of the coastal heat/sea breeze.”

According to GAES Centros Auditivos’ Gerard Marin, how crews handle this first depression could be one of the only tactical choices of this Atlantic crossing: “Afterward, it seems to be simple and quick to Gibraltar, a horse race without tactics,” he says.

Morgan Lagravière, experienced Figaro sailor turned IMOCA 60 rookie, sailing aboard Safran was looking forward to the light conditions at the start. “That will make our lives easier, as during the first hours racing, your body needs to re-adapt to life at sea. Also, we’ll be going from very comfortable conditions to rather Spartan conditions in cramped quarters.”

As to the time it will take to get to Barcelona, Ryan Breymaier reckons to 10-11 days to Gibraltar and 13-14 days in total, whereas Neutrogena’s Guillermo Altadill predicts 15 days to the finish in Barcelona. Marc Guillemot thinks 8.5-9 days to Gibraltar and possible another four to the finish.

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