Race For Water led the Krys Ocean Race fleet into New York City today, winning a slightly slow, but testing, 150 miles prologue race – the inaugural contest for the current MOD70 fleet - which started with an exciting sprint out of Newport last night.
Krys Ocean Race Prologue
Race For Water, skippered by Stève Ravussin, along with his young crew and Multi One Design President Marco Simeoni as guest on board, had put their faith in the Long Island shore early this morning. And with less than one mile to the finish - in benign conditions more reminiscent of their native Swiss lakes - they were blessed with an extra measure of thermal breeze which allowed them to bear down more directly towards the line, accelerating to the finish. They stole a morale boosting victory, overtaking Seb Josse and the Groupe Edmond de Rothschild team in the dying minutes of the race.
There are no championship points awarded for the prologue which was predominantly raced in around 10kts of breeze, with much less during the small hours of what proved to be a long, and at times slow night.
Though it was Ravussin, sailing boat number 1, which placed first, four of the five different boats all had a turn in the lead at some stage through the passage, each successively staking a claim to victory until the balance swung between the consistent early advantage offshore finally to the inshore, Coney Island line when the thermal effects helped out. In contrast, several of the offshore teams reported later that they had underestimated the strength of the contrary current in relation to the light breeze.
And while most had had a shot at winning during the race, the win for Race for Water was a popular result, a nice bonus for some of the prime movers in the MOD 70 initiative. Just as they have lead from the front in pulling this ambitious project together, so too it was pleasing to see them lead from the front, getting first bite of the Big Apple.
In fact the most thrilling part of the prologue was Monday night’s start out of Newport, where the preliminary circuit in Narranganset Bay saw the five MOD70’s jostling spectacularly for position in an early evening breeze. In 12-15 knots of wind they surged to over 20kts of boat speed at times, before they exited the bay into dying winds.
'In fact the best speed of the race was at the start, reaching at 26 knots, it was spectacular, what a way to leave Newport.' Commented Ravussin, ' But after that, never fast again! It was light, but it was a very interesting race because all the time the speeds of all the boats were the same. During the night we could see all the boats. I think it was a nice race.'
'Always we were third until we chose the land side of the course this morning, because there was no wind and we wanted to find the thermal breeze. And that was a hard choice because for one or two hours there was no wind. After that the wind came in and we got there in front.'
'Sure it is always nice to win, even if it is just the prologue. We have not sailed very much together, only doing the Transatlantic as a crew. So we have speed, we were fighting with the other guys, it is a good deal!' said Ravussin.
'When we see all the boats here in such an incredible setting, in among these skyscrapers, when were thinking about this three years ago, I am so very happy to be here with five boats. It is real now and it feels fantastic.'
Race For Water crossed the finish line just shy of the Verrazano Bridge at 12h53’20’ local time, just 2 minutes and 30 seconds ahead of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. Spindrift racing skippered by Yann Guichard sailed in to third with Foncia hard on their heels. Musandam Oman Sail, which had lead the race until there was about 10 miles to the finish ran out of breeze offshore and finished fifth across the line, concluding the prologue from Newport to New York after covering the 150 miles course in around 21 hours of racing.
After the race there was a spectacular parade of sail up the Hudson River to the base at North Cove Marina in the South of Manhattan, where the five MOD70 trimarans will be based until the start of the Krys Ocean Race on Saturday 7th July.
KRYS Ocean Race Prologue, Newport to New York, provisional results
1. Race For Water ( Stève Ravussin) finished at 12h53’20’’ Local time
2. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) finished at 12h55’50’’
3. Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) finished at 13h35’08’’
4. FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) finished at 13h38’44’’
5. Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) finised at 14h04’01’’
Michel Desjoyeaux, skipper Foncia: 'The cards were not that well dealt through this prologue, FONCIA did not seem to benefit off. It was a light airs prologue we might have almost have believed was on Lake Geneva. For the first time on a multihull, I think I have sailed 150 miles without wearing foul weather gear! Incredible! But it was good on FONCIA, the boat went well and the crew did well also, and indeed it was the guys who did everything aboard! This is my first arrival to New York by sea, I admit it's pretty impressive. It was nice coming in past the Statue of Liberty.'
Sébastien Josse, skipper Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: 'It was light with not very much wind but it was interesting because there were two options and the fleet was really compact. And as we see in the last fifteen miles the result can change very quickly. We lead for a lot of the time, but I think Spindrift and Foncia cut inside out of the cloud and took a big advantage. But in fact were in good shape, with a good position all the way through the race and so we are pretty happy. The Transat of course is completely different, it is not in five knots of wind and it is the Transat which matters, we have a good crew and we feel like we have good speed, but now we have to do a proper race. It is a special harbour here, nice to be here.'
Yann Guichard, skipper Spindrift: ' It was not fast but it was interesting. It was a first time to sail together as a team so that was good, we set some new sails. I am so happy because the speed of the boat was good all the way through the race. We were first through all of the night but the finish was so difficult for us. We underestimated the tide as you come into the river, it is so difficult to be on the left side. We were good until ten miles from the finish. It is a game and we are happy to be here, in the game and now waiting for next Saturday.'
Krys Ocean Race http://www.krys-oceanrace.com/