EDS news update
While the mood was one of fun, it was obvious that the teams were sizing each other up. It was the last chance before the late Tuesday start that the skippers could show what they are capable of and to gain that all-important psychological edge. In an event such as the EDS Atlantic Challenge, it is the incremental gains that count.
"We were enjoying ourselves and getting a feel for the boat with more than one person on board," Californian former Around Alone competitor Brad Van Liew, now crewing aboard Gartmore, commented after the yachts returned to the dock. "These boats are so sensitive to weight that it's interesting to see how they handle the extra load."
For the thousands of spectators who lined the walls of the old city and those that took to the water, the minutiae of weight versus speed was lost in the excitement of a fleet of powerful Open 60 sailboats plowing through the spectator chop and leaving all but the fastest powerboats in their wake.
In a move aimed at bolstering his overall team and perhaps the public's opinion, Gartmore skipper Josh Hall announced that Spaniard Javier Sanso, a fellow Vendee Globe competitor will co-skipper the boat for the EDS Atlantic Challenge. "I am honoured and a bit surprised that Josh has asked me to do such a job," Sanso said. "We became great friends during the Vendee and I am very excited at the prospect of sailing on a new Open 60. My boat for the Vendee was old."
Ken Campbell of Commander's Weather, the experts who advise the competitors on weather conditions, has predicted fine conditions for the start, but warns that the course to Cuxhaven, Germany will be mainly upwind. This could favor Sill and Kingfisher, the two boats that have been optimized for upwind sailing.
The EDS Atlantic Challenge fleet will be in Portsmouth on 11-14 July.