A prologue on the edge
After setting out from Newport, Rhode Island late yesterday afternoon, the fleet of MOD 70s made landfall in New York this Tuesday, after a twenty-hour port-to-port sprint. In order to cover the 150 miles, which separate the two North-American cities, the five competing crews had to contend with some light conditions and a few stormy patches. Favouring a central option, whilst Musandam - Oman Sail preferred a route offshore and Race for Water went for the inshore option, Sébastien Josse and his crew secured second place in the Krys Ocean Race prologue. The result is symbolic, since this test run doesn’t count towards the event standing, but it still augurs well for their future confrontations just days before they cast off on their Atlantic sprint. After making their way up the Hudson River and putting in a few tacks at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild took up her berth in North Cove Marina, to the South of Manhattan.

During the prologue between Newport and New York, the five trimarans which make up the Krys Ocean Race fleet were able to sail within contact and take up their racing configuration in this pre-Atlantic ‘friendly’. The mild weather conditions, which accompanied the thirty sailors over the 150-mile course were perfect for a gentle introduction to proceedings: “Before setting out, we didn’t really know what awaited us on the water, even though certain weather models were opting for light airs. Ultimately we had some very light conditions, with no more than 12 knots of breeze, as well as storm that erupted into life a few hours after the start in Newport, as we were passing Block Island. This storm messed up the wind a bit. I must admit that I wasn’t delighted to be racing a prologue under the cover of darkness, just a few days before a transatlantic, knowing that this area is renowned for it’s fishing pots and nets. However, conditions lent themselves pretty well to this race and Edmond de Rothschild Group has made it into New York in tip-top condition. We got off to a good start in Newport, with good timing, and that enabled us to head out of Narrangansett Bay in the lead. After that, there were a few options up for grabs. Oman chose to head offshore, whilst the rest of the fleet began to weave their way along the side of Long Island. At the end of the course, Race for Water chose to stay inshore and the results show that this was the right move. The outcome was decided over the final miles in a dying breeze. It was a fine prologue in contact with the others and we’re keen to do battle in the Atlantic now,” commented the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group on his arrival.

By finishing two minutes and thirty seconds astern of the Swiss one-design, the No.1 of the class, Sébastien Josse and his five crew secured second place in this warm-up. Spindrift Racing rounded off the podium, after just managing to snatch third place from Michel Desjoyeaux.

After a parade between Verrazano Bridge and the South of Manhattan, the five one-design trimarans had to slip along one by one into North Cove Marina, at the very heart of the City. To tie up there is both tricky and spectacular for the New Yorkers present, but the final setting is well worth it:I’ve already visited New York and North Cove Marina but it was with a VOR 70 and not a 16m-wide multihull. The entry into the marina is pretty overwhelming as it’s narrow (around 22 metres) and with the current from the river, you really have to be focused! However, it’s fantastic to be at the very heart of the city, at the foot of huge buildings that make up Wall Street”, admitted Sébastien Josse, before going on to discuss the previous night’s exploits by the French: “Aboard the boat, we were following the Volvo Ocean Race finish in Galway. Hearty congratulations to Franck Cammas, his crew and all his team. Their win was achieved in imperial fashion and that’s no small matter. Congratulations to them!”

Tomorrow the Gitana Team will have the chance to celebrate Independence Day, a national holiday in America, with ringside seats. A final moment of relaxation before the countdown to the Atlantic sprint definitively kicks off!

* In summer Newport and New York operate at GMT-4 hours.

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

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

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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