With only a few hours left in New York before Saturday's 11:00hrs start of the KRYS OCEAN RACE to Brest, France, the fleet which is composed of many of the world's very fastest ocean sailors are widely anticipating a rapid Atlantic crossing for the first deep ocean race for the new one design MOD70 trimaran class.
If the winds for the start are due to be relatively light, a benign opening in 7-9kts is expected to give way to a very quick downwind passage as the favourable breezes build through 15 to 25kts through Sunday where sheer speed will be the deciding factor rather than weather strategy.
The only hurdle on the horizon for the new MOD70's looks to be the evolution of the Azores high pressure system in around three days time when the light winds which it generates might spread the fleet after some initial compression. At 24 hours before the start skippers were expected to take less than six days for the 2950 miles crossing.
"The weather forecasts could not really be better for this race. The general picture is for SW'ly winds until the Azores high. There are no strategic points until the Azores high after three days of racing so it will be a speed race rather than a tactical race." Explains KRYS OCEAN RACE race director Jacques Caraës
Preparations have long since been completed, with the boats in a ‘locked down' ready to race mode since they arrived from Newport, Tuesday. All are in perfect condition in advance of their first big ocean test.
And just as the boats are fully primed, so too their crews know that the time to perform is almost upon them. The mood of expectation and anticipation round New York's North Cove is heightened by the knowledge that all the pressure is on them.
In this fleet of exactly matched grand prix ocean racing multihulls, who wins the KRYS OCEAN RACE will be determined by how they manage themselves and their boat, not any technological or design advantage....or disadvantage. There is nowhere to hide and so far there is no form book.
The fleet is predictably rich with multihull and ocean racing talent. Holders of the outright speed record for crossing the Atlantic, and for sailing around the world can rightly claim to be the fastest sailors in the world and they are evenly spread across the KRYS OCEAN RACE fleet.
Pascal Bidégorry, who skippered the crew to the outright Atlantic record in 2009, sails with skipper Yann Guichard on Spindrift racing. The Atlantic record breaking crew are spread through the fleet. Bidégorry is joined by Jean-Baptise Le Vaillant on Spindrift. On Stève Ravussin's Race for Water there are brother Yvann Ravussin and Kevin Escoffier and with Michel Desjoyeaux on FONCIA, record holders include Manu le Borgne and Xavier Revil, and Florent Chastel is on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.
And holders of the recently won Jules Verne record round the world include Brian Thompson on Mussandam-Oman Sail, as well as Le Vaillant, Yvann Ravussin and Florent Chastel
Double Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux returns to ocean multihull racing and takes on the Atlantic which he has raced more than 20 times. Among his FONCIA crew he has chosen America's Cup and World Match Race tour ace Sébastien Col to bolster their inshore skills and intensity on board as well as double Solitaire du Figaro winner Jérémie Beyou. But there are sailors with multiple Volvo and Whitbread round the world races, America's Cup crew, and Figaro soloists all the way through the fleet. Even Benoit Lequin from Race for Water has sailed the Atlantic from New York to Lorient on a 20 foot open catamaran.
Performance and results may be directly related to how the teams manage themselves as a crew of six in a very small, uncomfortable living space. There are only two bunks on board, limited headroom and the motion in a seaway means the only method of moving around the boats is usually crawling. But the pure, simple goal is high speed.
MOD70 N°01 Race For Water
- Steve Ravussin (SUI)
- Yvan Ravussin (SUI)
- Loic Forestier (SUI)
- François Morvan (FRA)
- Gurvan Bontemps (FRA)
- Benoit Lequin (FRA)
MOD70 N°03 FONCIA
- Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA)
- Xavier Revil (FRA)
- Emmmanuel Le Borgne (FRA)
- Antoine Carraz (FRA)
- Jérémie Beyou (FRA)
- Sébastien Col (FRA)
MOD70 N°04 Groupe Edmond de Rothschild
- Sébastien Josse (FRA)
- Antoine Koch (FRA)
- Christophe Espagnon (FRA)
- David Boileau (FRA)
- Florent Chastel (FRA)
- Thomas Rouxel (FRA)
MOD70 N°05 Spindrift racing
- Yann Guichard (FRA)
- Pascal Bidégorry (FRA)
- Jean Baptiste Levaillant (FRA)
- Jacques Guichard (FRA)
- Léo Lucet (FRA)
- Kevin Escoffier (FRA)
MOD70 N°07 Musandam-Oman sail
- Sidney Gavignet (FRA)
- Ryan Breymaier (USA)
- Fahad Al Hasni (OMA)
- Moshin Al Busaidi (OMA)
- Jean-François Cuzon (FRA)
- Brian Thompson (GBR)
Sébastien Josse, skipper Groupe Edmond de Rothschild:
"Right now it is looking windy from start to finish and even the most conservative routing has us finished in less than six days. We have looked at all the options including those in which we fail to catch the system we are aiming for. With 24 hours before the start it appears like the great circle route (the shortest) is not the fastest. So the routings agree that mostly we will go south at the start and for the first half with a little hitch to the north near the end."
Sidney Gavignet, skipper Musandam-Oman Sail:
"We are racing and sometimes on our boat things are not always perfect like other boats and it is very easy to become frustrated. The role for me as the skipper is to be the keeper of a good atmosphere so we can learn well together. In the short term that will not be easy, but if we are to take our diversity as an advantage it is important we grow well together. In the long term this can prove to be a strength because we need to be more focused on the methods and the process because of the mix of levels on board and the difference of communication on board."
"It will be more or less ideal conditions."
Michel Desjoyeaux, skipper FONCIA:
"We feel good, the crew did not spend too much time here and so they are not tired by downtown life. I pushed hard to help the MOD company fulfil the one design concept, as hard as possible in the boat and around it and so I appreciate what we have. Of course I like technology and finding an advantage but these are not the times for that. This is about delivering something for the non multihull French culture. So we are looking further afield, hoping that more teams from outside France will come and race with us and against us. With the One Design concept everyone has the same boat that we have."
Stève Ravussin, skipper Race for Water:
"It will be about going fast and a short race in just a few days. We will get across in six days approximately at the best speed all the time. We will be wet and tired when we get to Brest but we look forwards to drinking some cider there!"
Yann Guichard, skipper Spindrift racing:
"The most important thing on this race is to be 100% comfortable with your team, because when you go to sleep you need complete confidence in the crew. We organise ourselves in three watches. Normally we will have three on deck and one floating, and a minimum of five for the manoeuvres. If we have to change sails or make a gybe then I am woken up.
Decisions are taken between me and Pascal, we share the decisions, we sail the same way. The weather looks good and simple, no big opportunities to go alone and leave the fleet. We will go downwind for four days and the most important thing will be the rhythm."