Photo: Sandra Mudronja

Krys Ocean Race: Last boat home

Steve Ravussin's Race for Water arrives in Brest with massive crack in hull

Saturday July 14th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

While Spindrift Racing, winner of the Krys Ocean Race, crossed the finish line on 12 July after less than five days of racing, followed by the Seb Josse-skippered Groupe Edmond de Rothschild Group and Michel Desjoyeaux's Foncia, over just a two hour window after almost 3000 miles of racing, so Stève Ravussin and the crew of Race For Water was the last boat to arrive. She reached Brest this morning, but with a 2m long crack in her central hull and a daggerboard badly damaged following a collision with a submerged container. This was a painful way to deliver the message of water conservation and ocean pollution for the Multi One Attitude Foundation's ambassador craft.

Race for Water crossed the Krys Ocean Race finish line this morning at 07:32 UTC. In addition to the damage to their boat thanks to their slow progress they were further hampered by unfavorable weather conditions in the end.

"We really tried to remain competitive as long as possible!" said Stève Ravussin. "Even after the first shock when we found out that the daggerboard was broken, we took it on the deck (on the net), and we stayed almost at the same speed during the repair, because we were sailing downwind, and so we did not really need the daggerboard. We went on and gave all what we had. We were really fighting, but despite the great sailing, we did not understand why our boat was not going as fast as the others…"

It was only a day later, when Benoît Lequin dismantled the bulkhead inside the central hull that the crew realised that the boat was actually sinking. "With 1000lt of water at the bow, it was no longer a one-design competition!" says Yvan Ravussin bitterly, recalling all the efforts to prepare the boat in Newport. The team members have been forced to pump every 45 minutes until the end of the race, despite a repair to the split in the hull made by Loïc Forestier and Benoit Lequin, despite the extreme conditions.

Francois Morvan, navigator and tactician aboard Race for Water, was doing his "baptism" of the Atlantic: "Life at sea is hard. And when something like that happens, it's hard to stay upbeat and remain competitive. Then, when you understand that the damage is far worse and it will be impossible to race against the others, you have only one goal: bring the boat back safely! "

Loïc Forestier, another "youngster", as Steve Ravussin calls them, who was making his first Atlantic crossing too, said: "It was wonderful to experience a first arrival in New York by boat for the delivery and then the race… Later, the disappointment is big, when you know you won’t be able to sail as fast as you wanted." Let’s hope that this experience will only be a bigger motivation for the young Swiss sailor who is preparing to enter the Mini Transat in 2013.

Gurvan Bontemps, the latest addition to the crew, comments on the great atmosphere on board despite the circumstances: "It is in difficult times that you see the true relationships between people: it's a great close-knit team." Steve Ravussin remains positive after the race: "It is a magic boat! It is solid and efficient. It is a pleasure to steer such a boat!… We will leave fairly quickly for Lorient and proceed with the necessary repairs to be able to compete in the next steps of the program."

Results of the Krys Ocean Race

1- Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) on 12 July at 14h 08’ 37 at 25,3 kts average speed (orthodromy) in 4d 21h 08’ 37

2- Edmond de Rothschild Group (Sébastien Josse) at 15h 19’ 49 à 25,06 kts average speed in 4d 22h 19’ 49

3- FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) at 15h 47’ 57 at 24,96 kts average speed in 4d 22h 47’ 57

4- Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) on 13 July at 0h 05’ 38 à 23,3 kts in 5d 07h 05’ 38

5- Race For Water (Stève Ravussin) on 14 July at 9h 32’ 32 at 18,47 kts average in 6d 16h 32’ 32

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