Meet the teams
With less than 48 hours before the start of the second Barcelona World Race, 27 of the 28 skippers from the 14 teams due to take part presented themselves at a press conference within the Moll Barcelona World RACE Expo this afternoon.
The one missing skipper, Hugo Boss’ Alex Thomson it was later revealed was undergoing emergency surgery to remove his appendix. The decision over whether Thomson will participation or not, will be announced tomorrow.
The other skippers took time out from their final check-lists, commitments and efforts to find time to relax and store their energy for what presently promises to be a demanding and very critical leg out through the Straits of Gibraltar in what are forecast to be light conditions, with several stop-start transitions.
Iker Martinez (ESP) Mapfre: “To prepare for the Olympic Games does not compare to this. There you sail with without instruments, without radios, all the boats are equal. And in the Volvo the boats always go at 100%. The IMOCA Open 60s are great boats for two people and it is not easy to handle them with two. Only after this race will be decide what we do in the future. We may get a fright and not want to do more of this type of sailing, or we may find we have a real passion for it and want to do more."
Pachi Rivero (ESP) Renault ZE Sailing Team: “We will start very motivated and much more prepared than the last time in the first race.”
Toño Piris (ESP) Renault ZE Sailing Team: “We are almost ready, we only have some food to go on board. And I hope we have luck with the weather and get an express departure from the Med.”
Andy Meiklejohn (NZL) Hugo Boss (before news of his co-skipper’s surgery): “Hugo Boss is looking great. The shore team have done a fantastic job and everything is looking fantastic. The final job is just to load on the Manchego and jamon, and do a bit of entertaining, then we’re on our way!”
Bruno Garcia (ESP) Président: "I am a bit nervous. If you had said to me a year ago that I would be on the verge of setting off to go around the world now, I would have said you were crazy."
Jean Le Cam (FRA) Président: “Bruno and I will make a good team. Within three months, when we return, we will see if we divorce or stay married, which would not be bad either, between Bretón and a Catalan. At the moment we a re a strong marriage. But for me to co-exist on board with another person for three months is something new and we will just have to see how it goes.”
Gérard Marin (ESP) FMC: “To be here is a dream. We both have a great desire and passion to go sailing and we both share a love for the sea.”
Cali Sanmartí (ESP) We Are Water: “This is magical. It was a dream of mine and today it is a reality, and to leave from our home city is fantastic. Hello and goodbye to everyone.
Juan Merediz (ESP) Central Lechera Asturiana: “We are fighting on this first stage but we will be thinking positively all the time and pushing. Thanks to everyone we will be able to make the start line along with everyone else."
François Gabart (FRA) Foncia: “As the start approaches you could not say that life is exactly calm, on the contrary it gets more and more intense. But on the 31st and 1300hrs we will be going and then life becomes very simple.”
Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac-Paprec 3: "Barcelona holds great memories for me. The finish here three years ago was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. This is an Adventure with a capital A. We are all at the same time adventurers and entrepreneurs.
Alex Pella (ESP) Estrella Damm: “The boat has been ready to go for a week, so these last few days have been very relaxed, because we have been working at it for 18 months."
Pepe Ribes (ESP) Estrella Damm: “It is looking quite difficult I think. The start is in a NE’ly 10 knots to Ibiza and then a ridge coming and then no wind and a start again. We take it as it comes because our boat is not especially good in light airs. So we have to be really awake and active, ready to make the transitions very quickly. And of course you have two tonnes of things inside to move forward, aft, from side to side and trimming all the time. We know the area very well, but I think there will be lots of breaks, lots of changes, a lot of sail changes. From Barcelona to mid way to the Canary Islands it is going to be a nightmare, for us. Not hard weather but a lot of manoeuvres, a lot of changes. We are very prepared for it. The competition starts in two days and it will be full on from the start. I think it will be really good.”
Ryan Breymaier (USA), Neutrogena: “The first stage of the race is pretty much the whole race. When you leave Gibraltar if you are not in the leading group everyone gets into the stronger winds and takes off and you have a deficit you have to make up. So the first part of the race is critical. We have done a lot of things on the boat to optimise for this first stage rather than later on, trying to keep the boat super, super light for this section is ultra important. The first 500 miles in light airs, if you don’t have a boat which is light to begin with, then you will struggle. For us that has been choosing hydro-generators, less fuel, trying to extend the advantage over people who have the heavier boats. The pressure is right on from the start gun, and it could be on on the way back too, even with a big lead if you stop after Gibraltar then those chasing can make up 500 miles in a day and a half, then you know are back to square one after 25,000 miles. The Mediterranean is make or break for sure. And that is a little weird compared to the Vendée Globe or races like that where you start from Atlantic coast and straight into the weather system. It is different. And there is very much the possibility of a re-start coming into Gibraltar in either direction.”
Dee Caffari (GBR) Gaes Centros Auditivos: “The nice thing is because the weather’s looking quite light, it’s not like with the Vendée where you think you’re going straight into a big system. But it’s going to make it harder because the boats aren’t going to get away, we’re all going to be a lot closer and having to work really hard for every fraction of a knot that we can get, so it’s quite stressful. We’ve got to push to get out of the Med as fast as possible, and there’s going to be a fast transition in the Alboran Sea, where we’ll get a bit of downwind, then it’s just going to be really hard work as we try and get to the new wind. So I hope it’s going to be not as light as it’s forecast to be, but it’s nice to know that you’ve got time to get into the system without anything scary coming! We’ve done this trip in and out of the Med several times now for practice, and obviously this is Anna’s back garden so I’m in her hands. She knows local effects and what normally happens, whereas I’m pretty much stuck to the models because I haven’t sailed here that much. But we’ve got to look at the others too because there’s a lot of local knowledge in the fleet, so we’ve just got to keep our eyes on what they’re doing as well as what we think is going to happen. In order to beat them you’ve got to be sailing with them, so there won’t hopefully be any flyers, and I don’t think you’ll get anyone do anything extreme because we’ve all got that mission to get out into the Atlantic. It’s just about keeping the boat moving, and that big transition will be the killer, that’s where someone might get stuck. If it is light we know how strong the currents are in the Gibraltar Straits so it’s going to be really hard. But it’ll make it a really exciting race for people watching, the boats will be together tightly, which is what everyone wants.”
Anna Corbella (ESP) GAES Centros Auditivos: “To be honest I’d be happier to be going now. I would like it to be one hour to go, not 48 hours. The last days are about commitments and media and they are things I am not used to."