Two days to the Prologue

The latest from the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona fleet

Thursday May 22nd 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

While Spirit of Hungary's skippers, Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth are still mid-Atlantic after a short stop which delayed them in Gibraltar (they should still arrive in New York around 29 May according to the latest routing) , preparations are being finalised for the four other New York to Barcelona Race IMOCA 60s.

Moored in Newport Shipyard, Gaes Centros Auditivos, Neutrogena and Safran are more or less ready with two days to go before the Prologue Race that will take them on Saturday from Newport to New York, but still much work remains to be done on Hugo Boss, following her dismasting after 400 miles from Newport ... but nothing that will prevent them from competing in the main race!

Hugo Boss co-skipper Ryan Breymaier recounted what happened: "In the middle of the night we broke the mast above the second spreader, but luckily we did not do much damage to the sails. That allowed us the next morning to set up a jury rig, with three reefs in the mainsail and a small sail at the front. We managed to reach Newport in just four days after the damage occurred.

"Fortunately, the fact that we were in Newport to carry out the repairs was a real advantage because Newport Shipyard is used to dealing with such large boats. It is the ideal place to arrive with a broken mast as they have all the necessary skills! We took the mast out the same day as we arrived and found all the skills we needed by the next day. The only thing that slowed us down a bit was having to wait for the delivery of a vital piece - a broken piece of carbon cable at the second spreader, as that had to come from Sri Lanka. It should arrive tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Apart from that, everything is ready to re-step the mast.

"Things will go quickly now, and although we will miss the Prologue race, we will be ready for the start from New York, and we should re-join the fleet on 27 May."

For Neutrogena, the delivery trip was also a challenging one for skippers Spaniard Guillermo Altadill and Chilean Jose Muñoz, but they avoided any technical issues. Altadill explains: "Even though we crossed in very difficult conditions, with winds up to 55 knots, we looked after the boat, so as not to force anything and ultimately we did not break anything. We have a few matters to finish for the final preparations, mainly those which we did not have the time to deal with since the end of boat modification time back in March.”

For Safran, the delivery trip also went well, actually really well according to the long time skipper Marc Guillemot: “It surpassed our expectations as we thought we would have to do more upwind sailing. We expected 80% of the trip would be into the wind but our decision to change our routing a bit more towards the south allowed us to do 80% of the trip with the wind behind us! We gained a whole day and a half by doing that, making the trip in only 11 days. And all that with a great atmosphere onboard. And it was the first transatlantic crossing for Morgan which allowed me to see how we would work together for the double-handed race from New York to Barcelona."

The ones who probably had the easiest crossing were Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin. Onboard Gaes Centros Auditivos, they enjoyed relatively mild weather. Corbella said: "Even if we had to cross three weather fronts, they were not very strong and we we managed to navigate safely and to get to Newport with a small list of jobs. So now we just have to tweak a few things. Even the food is ready! We loaded the entire food supplies before leaving Barcelona so now we just have to add in some fresh produce. This allows us now to focus on the weather, the sailing instructions, the routing and details around the areas of departure and arrival for the prologue between Newport and New York."


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