Everything starts in Newport
Having arrived in Newport on Sunday 24 June, after a high speed, week-long delivery trip, the 70-foot trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is calmly preparing for her first heated exchange in the Multi One Championship. On 7 July 2012, the five MOD 70s already in the running will take the start of the Krys Ocean Race. This first transatlantic race will take the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group and their rivals from New York to the heart of the huge Tonnerres de Brest (Shiver me’ timbers) maritime festival in Brittany, France. With ten days to go until this initial encounter, Sébastien Josse and his five crew are making their final adjustments. Furthermore, the Krys Ocean Race fleet will treat itself to a final test run on Monday 2 July, during a prologue match between Newport and New York.

A full-scale crossing

Having set sail from Lorient, her port of registry, on Sunday 17 June, the one-design Edmond de Rothschild Group tied up in Newport Marina (Rhode Island) a week later after a final sea trial. Having opted for the so-called ‘northerly’ route, Sébastien Josse and his five crew were able to put their steed through her paces in some very varied conditions, as the skipper explained on his arrival in America’s yachting Mecca: “For this delivery trip to the start of our first transatlantic race, we set ourselves a few objectives and I was keen for it to be as similar as possible to conditions in our upcoming race. Given the weather forecast, we opted for the northerly route, so as to trial the boat in some slightly more boisterous conditions. During our pre-season sailing and notably during our deliveries to and from Morocco, we were able to validate a certain number of configurations, but the ‘boisterous’ element was lacking. We’ve ticked that off our list now though. We had some relatively wintry conditions! We had a breeze of up to 35 knots, a swell of up to 4 metres and a dip in the water temperature to 6°C, as we passed within a hundred miles or so to the South of the ice zone. We had a few close encounters with marine mammals, none of which were serious, and everything went very smoothly on Edmond de Rothschild Group, which is in tip-top condition.”

In 2008, Christophe Espagnon was selected to compete for France in the summer Olympics, which were taking place on the Qingdao site in China. Representing his country in the Tornado category, Christophe got to know the Olympic Games’ environment inside out after two Olympiads and eight years of his life as a sailor dedicated to this objective. Four years later, whilst some of his former ‘Games’ companions are on the home straight in their preparations for London 2012, he is preparing for his first transatlantic in race configuration, which he has already had a taste of during the delivery trip to Newport: “I come from an Olympic background and even though my career has included the Solitaire du Figaro in 2009, I’m not an offshore specialist. This delivery trip between Lorient and Newport was my first crossing. Seven days isn’t bad for my first time! I didn’t head out with any particular expectations other than a curiosity to discover crew life offshore for several days in a row. Living and performing in a confined space like the MOD 70 had me wondering how things would pan out a bit. Ultimately the lack of privacy wasn’t a problem at all and on a human level these seven days at sea have been very rich and pleasant. There are several of you experiencing the same thing so it’s all about sharing. In terms of the sailing, I discovered what long sessions at the helm were like in some slightly steadier conditions. We’re on the right track!” admitted the sailor. The ragging has been a success then for the sailor from La Rochelle, who is clearly eager to head back out to sea, albeit in a proper race this time.

Having covered over 2,500 miles, the crew has been joined by Gitana Team’s shore crew to check for any wear via a thorough check of the platform, the rig and the deck fittings. Sébastien Josse and his men have also switched their delivery sails for the ones they’ll be using in the race. As such Edmond de Rothschild Group is in race mode, ready to set off on her first official confrontation in the Multi One Championship.

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group

Sébastien Josse (skipper, helmsman)

Antoine Koch (navigator - helmsman)

Christophe Espagnon (trimmer - helmsman)

David Boileau (trimmer - helmsman)

Thomas Rouxel (trimmer - helmsman)

Florent Chastel (bowman)

The programme for the Krys Ocean Race

- Monday 2 July (1700 hours local time, 2100 UTC): Prologue between Newport and New York

- Tuesday 3 July (around 1000 hours local time, 1400 UTC): Finish of the prologue

- Thursday 5 July (1500 – 1700 hours local time, 1900 - 2100 UTC): New York Speed Match

- Friday 6 July (1200 hours local time, 1600 UTC): Press conference for the start broadcast on the race site

- Saturday 7 July (1100 local time, 1500 UTC): START OF THE KRYS OCEAN RACE

- Friday 13 July: first ETAs possible in Brest

- Saturday 14 July (1800 UTC): Prize-giving for the Krys Ocean Race

- Monday 16 July (0800 – 1500 UTC): Brest City Race (2 races scheduled)

- Thursday 19 July (0800 UTC): Closing parade Tonnerres de Brest

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