COUNTDOWN IS ON !
LESS THAN ONE MONTH UNTIL THE START OF THE IMOCA OCEAN MASTERS NEW YORK TO BARCELONA RACE
In one month’s time five IMOCA 60s and their double-handed crews will be heading out into the Atlantic on the inaugural IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race.
This 3,700 mile long transatlantic race marks the start of a new phase for the IMOCA class in the Ocean Masters World Championship, best known for being the class of yacht used in the Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop around the world race. A year and a half ago Sir Keith Mills' company Open Sports Management (OSM) acquired the marketing rights to IMOCA with the goal of globalising the predominantly French class, attracting more international skippers, teams and sponsors to it, in turn providing the opportunity of exposing the class to new countries and venues.
The IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race is the first step towards this, taking the IMOCA class to North America as well as Barcelona, from where the Barcelona World Race will start this New Year’s Eve. This new event is being co-hosted by OSM and FNOB (Fundació per la Navegació Oceànica Barcelona).
American Ryan Breymaier is competing aboard Hugo Boss, but has his own US project targeting the 2016 Vendée Globe. For him, the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race provides an ideal platform with which to launch his campaign and secure sponsors, particularly as he is sailing on board a boat which is heavily branded with a name recognised around the world: “It is a great example of a successful project and a successful sponsorship. It cannot do anything but help, because any potential sponsors considering this are only going to see good things. With me being from the US and the race starting in the US, it is a dream come true.”
The race will also count towards the new Ocean Masters World Championship, designed to tie together the growing number of international events for the IMOCA class.
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”Ocean Masters is huge,” continues Breymaier. “The class needs it, because big sponsors like Hugo Boss and Safran for example need an international market and to get an international market you need international teams and the effort that OSM is making is going to make that all possible.”
Five IMOCA 60s are entered in the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race, representing France, the UK, Spain and Hungary, with their double-handed co-Skippers also coming from the USA and as far afield as Chile.
GAES – Anna Corbella (ESP) & Gerard Marin (ESP)
Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin both competed in the last Barcelona World Race, but on separate boats. These FNOB sailors, who both cut their teeth in the Mini class, have since joined forces and have competed in the Figaro class’ Transat AG2R. They are racing Loick Peyron’s former Gitana 80 yacht.
Link to features:
Hugo Boss – Pepe Ribes (ESP) & Ryan Breymaier (USA)
Pepe Ribes and Ryan Breymaier both previously competed in the Barcelona World Race, also on separate boats. Ribes is one of Spain’s most experienced offshore sailors having sailed in four Volvo Ocean Races in addition to the last BWR. Breymaier, who is standing in for Alex Thomson (whose second child is about to be born) is mounting a US campaign for the next Vendée Globe. They are racing the former Virbac Paprec 3 yacht.
Link to features:
Neutrogena – Guillermo Altadill (ESP) & José Muñoz (Chile)
Alongside Ribes, Guillermo Altadill is another of Spain’s most experienced offshore sailors having won The Race in 2001 with Grant Dalton on Club Med and competed in two Volvo Ocean Races and been part of America’s Cup challenges and coached Olympic gold medallists. José Muñoz became Chile’s first shorthanded round the world racer, when he competed in the 2008-9 Portimão Global Ocean Race. They are racing the former Estrella Damm/BT/Hugo Boss.
Features to be published next week
Safran – Marc Guillemot (FRA) & Morgan Lagravière (FRA)
Guillemot is one of the most experienced offshore sailors in France with a career spanning more than 30 years. In the IMOCA class Guillemot and Safran finished third in the 2008-9 Vendée Globe and won the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre. Guillemot is now in the process of handing over the reins of his IMOCA 60 to talented former Olympic 49er and Figaro sailor Morgan Lagravière.
Link to features:
Spirit of Hungary – Nandor Fa (HUN) & Marcell Goszleth (HUN)
Nandor Fa is a legend of shorthanded round the world racing having been the first Hungarian to carry out a circumnavigation and subsequently competing in three round the world races, including a 5th place in the 1992-3 Vendée Globe. After a 17 years absence from the class he returns with a brand new boat, built to the latest iteration of the IMOCA rule. Co-skipper Marcell Goszleth is a former Olympic 470 sailor and leading Hungarian coach. Spirit of Hungary has just had her christening ceremony in Trieste, Italy.
Link to features:
Marcell feature to follow next week
At present the boats are being delivered or are soon to set out on their deliveries from Europe to the US.
A record breaker?
The 3700 mile course for the Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race is likely to see boats first hugging the coast before they take on the Grand Banks to the south of Newfoundland, with its notorious dense fogs, a proliferation of fishing boats and even the chance of encountering icebergs that have drifted south on the Labrador Current.
Once out into the Atlantic proper, the crews will attempt to remain in favourable downwind conditions as they round the Azores high but will certainly receive the brunt of an Atlantic gale along the way. The major decision for crews is likely to be over when to leave the stronger conditions to the north and turn south for Gibraltar.
Once into the Mediterranean, there is then a tactical last 525 miles along the Spanish coast before reaching the Barcelona finish line.
In 2010 FNOB, organisers of the Barcelona World Race, laid on a record attempt between New York and Barcelona, in which three boats took part. In this Estrella Damm set the best time of 12 days, 6 hours and 3 minutes.
As to whether this record will fall: Four years on, the latest generation IMOCA 60s is faster, but unlike 2010, this time competitors have a fixed time when they must start and are not allowed to wait for the optimum conditions.
Hugo Boss co-skipper Pepe Ribes competed on Estrella Damm in 2010: “For me the key moment is the beginning but the Mediterranean will have a huge impact. Last time we took eight days to cross the Atlantic and then it was another four to Barcelona - so to do 20% of the course we spent nearly half of the time.”
The race is expected to take 10 to 18 days depending upon conditions.
24th May: The IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race kicks off on with an overnight prologue race to New York from the US sailing capital of Newport, Rhode Island, home for more than a century to inshore yacht racing's top prize, the America's Cup. The fleet’s presence in Newport coincides with that of the Atlantic Cup for the smaller version of the IMOCA 60s, the Class40s.
This feeder race takes the fleet on a 144 mile course along the south side of Long Island before arriving in New York Harbour.
25th May: Prologue race arrives into New York Harbour
25th May - 1st June: IMOCA 60s will be moored at North Cove Marina in downtown Manhattan.
29th May: The teams will compete in the Manhattan Challenge Charity Race. The course for this will be within New York Harbour, starting off North Cove Marina at 1200 hrs and racing down around Governors Island, past the Statue of Liberty and back. This race will provide a bird's eye view for spectators who will be able to see the IMOCA 60s racing from anywhere along Manhattan's western shore.
1st June: The IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race starts from within New York Harbour just off North Cove Marina at 1200 hrs local time. Competitors
will sail pass the Statue of Liberty before exiting New York Harbour and heading out into the North Atlantic.
7th – 20th June : The Barcelona race area will be ‘open’ from 7th June and the boats will be docked in the central area ‘Portal de la Pau’ right next to the Monument de Colom at the bottom of Las Ramblas. General public and visitors will be able to see the boats and meet the skippers, watch the arrivals and learn about the Ocean Masters World Championships and the forthcoming Barcelona World Race. The final prizegiving will take place on Friday 20th June.
10-18th June: ETA of IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race boats into Barcelona.
20th June: Final event prizegiving in Barcelona
For further information, please contact:
Open Sports Management
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