MOD70's first transatlantic underway
Temperatures were sweltering and the pressure intense as New York bid farewell to the MOD70 fleet when it left the busy confines of the Hudson River bound for the open sea and the start of the 2950 mile long Krys Ocean Race to Brest.
Winds were only light on New York's hottest day of 2012 so far, with only the occasional puff to send the five MOD70s en route, though the strong contrary current made life hard when the giant mulihulls stuck to the water.
Just as they did on Monday's dress rehearsal prologue start in Newport, Seb Josse and his well drilled crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild proved quickest out of the blocks, filling their gennaker headsail first to accelerate smoothly away from the fleet. Though they all compressed again at the upriver turning mark, set off the North Cove Marina, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild rebuilt their margin when they stuck to the Jersey shore and slid away, leading Musandam-Oman Sail out to towards the Atlantic.
With the Hudson River mirror calm in the early morning, the departure from the quiet sanctuary of Manhattan’s North Cove Marina was one filled with emotion, not only as crew bid their dockside farewells to family, friends and hard working shore crews, but these minutes signified the final end of the three year preparation, planning and execution period for the exciting new MOD70 class and the Multi One Championship. The time has come to go racing.
Ahead is a six day sprint across the Atlantic to Brest, which will test the five teams’ abilities to maintain high speeds hour-after-hour. And in the new fleet which is studded with the fastest ocean racers on the planet, all are sure the level will be high, but the question most teams were pondering as they left today was exactly how high?
"It will be fun and interesting in this new race," said Foncia skipper Michel Desjoyeaux before heading off. "We leave just ahead of a cold front, which is good because it will get us down to the Gulf Stream quickly and then we will go fast to the first mark of the course, the Scilly Isles. Until then we will be downwind but after that it will be about managing the finish into Brest. And being one design means that if you are not as fast as your neighbour then you are doing something wrong and have to adjust to be faster. We have a strategy for the race, but of course sailing is never an exact science so we adjust as we go.”
Stève Ravussin, skipper of Race for Water commented: “ I love the speed and this Krys Ocean Race across the Atlantic is only about speed. I think we can make a good race. I am never nervous, life is good. Three years of working for the first Transat for the class and here we are with a perfect forecast. It will be windy. And this is the perfect boat for me.”
Yann Guichard, skipper of Spindrift Racing added: “I am ready, we have been waiting for this for a long time and here we are with a fantastic forecast. I think it will be really fast and a bit wet. The level will be really high, the rhythm needs to be very high because we know everyone will be pushing very hard. We have to be there. It depends, if we are comfortable with the boat and the weather I am sure that we can be the team that sets the level.
Sébastien Josse, skipper Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “ The weather looks just as it has for the last three days so we expect a fast Transat, downwind. All good. For us it is more than a year that we have trained together and it is now the perfect timing for us to be going racing for my crew. With the background we have we have done enough training and so we are really confident in the boat and with the crew. I don’t feel nervous at all. I know where we go, it is just six days of sailing, I know my crew so well and we are not a crazy crew. You are nervous where you don’t know where you are going or what might happen, but this is just a front, not a big low pressure. Maybe it’s windy, but it’s not the Southern Ocean. The question is how hard to push. The level is high and so you don’t know whether it will be crazy or be smart and sensible, and you have to find that level. In 48 hours it will start to be windy, with more than 30kts, and that is when you have to decide which gear to use, whether to be in sixth gear or five for a bit.”
Musandam-Oman Sail's Ryan Breyamaier added: “I am so proud to be representing my country getting out of here in the shadow of these skyscrapers and looking forwards to an amazing passage on a great boat. The forecast is great and we plan to take full advantage so that we can be there to celebrate Bastille Day in good shape, and that will be huge.”