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Southern Spars

IMOCA Ocean Masters action on the horizon

by Leslie Greenhalgh on 23 May 2014
IMOCA Ocean Masters - fleet docked at Newport Shipyard Christophe Favreau/OSM
Whilst the two Hungarian skippers, Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth (Spirit of Hungary), are in the middle of the Atlantic after a short stop which delayed them in Gibraltar (they should still arrive in New York around May 29 according to the latest routing), preparations are being finalised for the four IMOCA 60s moored in the docks of 'Newport Shipyard.' While Gaes Centros Auditivos, Neutrogena and Safran seem to be ready two days before the Prologue Race that will take them to New York, there is still some work to be done on board of Hugo Boss, following their dismasting after 11 days of sailing, just 400 miles from Newport ... but nothing that will prevent them from competing in the main race!

'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,' recalls Ryan Breymaier who is replacing Alex Thomson as co-Skipper. Alex’s wife will give birth to their second child during the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race.

'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, and 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 the 27th of May,'concludes Ryan.

For Neutrogena, the trip was also a challenging one on the IMOCA 60 skippered by Spaniard Guillermo Altadill and the Chilean Jose Munoz but they avoided any technical issues. '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,' explained Spanish racing legend Guillermo Altadill, whilst he also praised the effectiveness of his shore team.

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,' explained Marc.

The ones who probably had the easiest trip were Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin. Onboard ‘Gaes Centros Auditivos’, they enjoyed relatively mild weather. '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,' said Anna within 48 hours to go before the initial prologue event starts which will see the fleet reaching New York - the City of departure.
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