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W-Hotels Open 60 completes her New York to Barcelona record attempt

Wednesday April 21st 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

W Hotels accelerated progressively towards the finish line of the New York Barcelona Transoceanic Sailing Record Challenge reachig the finish line at 09:59:35 GMT.

The W Hotels team of Pachi Rivero, Toño Pires and Peter Becker completed the passage in a time of 12 days 15 hours 23 minutes and 50 seconds, reaching Barcelona 9 hours 22 minutes and 32 seconds after their rivals on Estrella Damm.

When Estrella Damm finished early this morning, the W Hotels crew reckoned they were just 42 miles behind - a strong finish after the small, time consuming problems which had compromised their challenge. Their drive and determination to put mishaps behind them, and fight on has been one of the outstanding characteristics of this inaugural challenge.

A rudder repair and being broached by a huge wave when the one rudder they had at that point was left airborne as their IMOCA Open 60 was tossed sideways, and the resulting loss of their key Solent, cost them over 100 miles, but they fought back to re-gain the lost miles in full, although they could never find a way to get back on to the same stretch of Mediterranean in the same fickle breezes as their rivals on Estrella Damm to make their perceived light winds speed advantage finally tell on the slow ascent from Tarifa to Barcelona.

But the many hours, and intense days locked in battle with Estrella Damm, on all points of fast reaching, have been extremely valuable, particularly for Rivero and Piris. Theirs is a partnership which was new to IMOCA Open 60 racing – although the duo have been firm friends for many, many years and sailed miles together before – but bodes well for their campaign for this year's Barcelona World Race.

“I want to congratulate Pepe, Alex and Stan for their record on behalf of our team," said Pachi Rivero upon his arrival. "Their mark is a very good one and I think it will be difficult to break. It has been very fast, nice and close racing in the first stage, since the breakdown we had in our rudder and we lost pace. In the Mediterranean we had little options to overtake them, since they always chose the best tactical option.”

Toño Piris (ESP) co-skipper W Hotels said: “The animal (IMOCA Open 60) was totally new for me, and it is very exigent and has a lot of different points to care about. I did not know the charges they can resist and my reference to push or not was Pachi’s face. It has been a very good preparation for our main goal, which is the Barcelona World Race, because we have been able to sail in many different conditions and we have had to overcome the breakdowns”.

American Peter Becker added: “ It was fantastic to get here this morning. Clearly we are disappointed not to be here first, but how could one not be pleased and happy to have completed such a wonderful experience as sailing across the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean Sea.

“It has been a process of getting back into the game, of pushing hard, and constantly believing that you could make up the deficit, and staying competitive. And I think that is a constant balance and a challenge. And when you look at the deficit of more than 160 miles, I think it was at the greatest, and you say to ourselves ‘how can we ever make that up?’. And by today we had made up everything but 42 miles, or something like that.

“My experience is that on first meeting with Pachi it was a very, strong like minded appreciation for each other. Toño quiet and strong and very solid. He is a very steady, straight guy. It was very easy for the three of us, from Day 1, to be steady and strong and be a good team. Here we are at the end of the passage, and those bonds, those relationships are solid, they are so strong, just great.”

....On their technical breakdowns: “That is ocean sailing. I don’t believe any of the failures were as a result of bad operation or bad decision making. Everything that happened was because of cards which were set in play before we even started the race.”

“I am convinced that, with all respect for the other boat and their crew and congratulate them on the record they have set, say that Pachi and Toño are a very, very fast and strong team and they have a boat which is well equipped and well tuned to do what they have to do.”

Stats: W Hotels
Arrival Wednesday 21st April, 09:59:35 GMT
Elapsed time 12 days 15 hours 23 minutes 50 secs, Average speed 12.11kts
Difference to Estrella Damm 9 hours 22 minutes 32 seconds

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