The inaugural edition of the Krys Ocean Race has resulted in a close finale between the podium finishers. Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) finished at 12h 08 '37 UTC to take the outright victory.
Crossing the finish at the Petit Minou light, at the entrance to the Rade de Brest at 13hrs 19min 49secs (15hrs 19min 49secs local), 1h 11m 12s behind the winner, Sébastien Josse and the crew of Groupe Edmond de Rothshchild took second place after being pursued vigorously for more than four days by double Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux and the crew of Foncia who finished third only 28 minutes, eight seconds behind them.
Speaking immediately after completing the race a delighted Guichard, whose first major ocean racing victory this is as skipper, winning the inaugural oceanic event for the MOD70, said: 'We have won this first race and are really happy. We enjoyed it and we really made a great routing. These last miles were tough especially when Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Foncia could catch up. We are surprised at the speed. It was all on a starboard tack then only a few minutes on port for the finish.'
Guichard and his crew, which included the highly experienced Pascal Bidégorry who skippered the giant catamaran Banque Populaire to set the existing outright Transatlantic record in August 2009, made a key move on the second night of the passage which saw their gains climb quickly on the fleet, sailing lower and faster with a gennaker set rather than the standard headsail that their opponents carried.
Bidégorry recalled: 'I think the advantage that was built was on the second night of the race. A very dark and windy one. Strategically as we were on one long starboard tack it was going to be important to position ourselves as low as possible on the route. We decided to keep our gennaker up, despite the strong wind conditions. We could see that we were gaining an advantage on the others at each position ranking where we had a better angle and were up to a knot faster.'
But in fact Spindrift racing were often simply quicker than their two main rivals. During that Monday night they took the lead from Foncia on the evening rankings, taking a lower faster line, extending from an initial three miles to 17.5 miles to 26 miles over successive rankings.
As they further benefited from their more northerly position they further curved NE towards Ireland, their lead was at its greatest – 70 miles, before the leading trio went into ghost mode. But compression occurred as they negotiated a lighter winds zone before the Scilly isles, and in the end Spindrift were only 20 miles ahead.
The next MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail of Sidney Gavignet and his crew is expected to cross the line off the Petit Minou lighthouse at around midnight local time.
The Atlantic delivered exceptional conditions for what proved to be a speed race from New York to Brest with the MOD70’s averaging 25 knots over the theoretical optimum course and 28 knots over the actual course sailed on the water.
After leaving New York last Saturday at 1500hrs UTC (1700hrs French) to arrive at the finish line in less than five days proves a remarkable ocean racing debut for the MOD70 class.
The MOD70’s will be welcomed into the heart of the massive 20th Tonnerres de Brest maritime festival Friday 13th from 1500hrs local time.
Krys Ocean Race, New York-Brest:
1 - Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) finished 12 July at 12h 08’ 37 UTC at average 25,3kts for the theoretical course, elapsed time 4 days 21 hours, 8 minutes and 37 seconds.
2 - Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) finished 12 July at 13h 19’ 49 UTC at average for the theoretical course of 25,06kts, elapsed time 4 days 22 hours 19 minutes and 49seconds.
3 - Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux) finished 12 July at 13h 47’ 57 at average 24,96kts for the theoretical course, elapsed time 4 days 22 hours 47 minutes 57 seconds.
Spindrift racing: Yann Guichard, Pascal Bidégorry, Jean-Baptiste Levaillant, Jacques Guichard, Leo Lucet, Kevin Escoffier.
Groupe Edmond de Rothschild Group: Sébastien Josse, Antoine Koch, Christopher Espagnon, David Boileau, Florent Chastel, Thomas Rouxel
Foncia: Michel Desjoyeaux, Jérémie Beyou, Sébastien Col, Xavier Revil, Emmanuel Leborgne
Yann Guichard, skipper Spindrift racing: 'We have won this first race and are really happy. We enjoyed it and we really made a great routing. These last miles were tough especially when Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Foncia could catch up. We are surprised at the speed. It was all on a starboard tack then only a few minutes on port for the finish.'
'The conditions were favourable and the boat performed well in the sea conditions, the boat really performed well with no issues. Two Atlantic crossings in less than a month and the boat is in perfect condition, that really shows the level of the MOD70.'
'In fact there was not that much strategy for the race.'
'We are really looking forwards to a hot shower and a nice fresh salad. We forgot our fresh food!'
Pascal Bidégorry, helmsman and crew, Spindrift racing: ' Experience of the Atlantic course helps, although it is not exactly the same route. The atmosphere, the feelings are similar. There is a great atmosphere on board. On these smaller boats conditions are not as comfortable.'
'I think the advantage was built was on the second night of the race; a very dark and windy one. Strategically as we were on one long starboard tack it was going to be important to position ourselves as low as possible on the route. We decided to keep our gennaker up, despite the strong wind conditions. We could see that we were gaining an advantage on the others at each position ranking where we had a better angle and were up to a knot faster.'
Sebastien Josse, skipper – Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: 'We are relieved to have finished the race, on which we fought hard right to the finish. The weather showed there were very few options, with one key thing being to avoid any material damage, which means you have to watch and keep your boat safe, it was very tight.'
'There is no disappointment at being second. We did see the option that Sprindrift took. I did not want to take that risk on the first Transat on the boat. Well done to Spindrift to have taken it and done it. The boat is very safe and solid. We have just used it a bit. It can carry a lot of sail and the more we put up the more we pushed it.'
Life on board was very, very wet. There are six of us on board and that means it smells. But there was a good atmosphere but at the same time disciplined and professional as we had jobs to do.'
'The stealth mode did not help all that much strategically on this race, just to make you guess and attack a bit more. There were options and Spindrift took the major one.'
'So we are pleased to have finished second after what has been a long fight with Foncia over the last few days.'
'It was tough being wet constantly, outside and then inside the boat too.'
Michel Desjoyeaux, skipper, Foncia: 'I am satisfied because you can always do worse, but disappointed because the New York start was not great. We are content to have been up next to Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Spindrift, it was an Express Crossing.'
'There are virtually no technical issues on board; we are really pleased with the boat. We know that the boats are fast and then there are things that we need to learn that will allow us to go even faster.'
'On board life was ok in the warm water and then as of the day before yesterday it is more uncomfortable with the cold. You just want a warm shower.'
'We did nose dive a few times, so you can hurt yourself. We just need to work things out on that front.'
'After that you just want to go and sunbathe for a week now!'
Friday 13th July at 1400h, the MOD70 fleet arrive into Brest harbour taking centre stage in the Tonnerres de Brest maritime festival.
Krys Ocean Race website
by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson
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7:43 PM Thu 12 Jul 2012GMT
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