Shortly after 0900 hours local time, Edmond de Rothschild Group cast off to calmly prepare for the start, which took place two hours later at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. There was time for the last embraces with friends present on the pontoon and the six men of Gitana Team left North Cove Marina with broad grins, ready to get going. Sébastien Josse gave us his last impressions: “I’m focused and very happy to cast off. We’ve been preparing for this first event for many, long months and the whole crew is keen to do things well, if only to thank all the people who are putting their efforts into the project, starting with the owners of the boat, Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild. We’re going to have to negotiate the exit from New York’s Upper Bay first of all. The grib files are announcing very, very little wind at the start and, given the current in the Hudson, I think the course thought up by race management will call for a great deal of finesse at the helm. These first few miles are very important as they’ll determine how things pan out. We’ll have to get our timing right straightaway and not fall off the pace at the start.”
A short lap and then off
Before heading offshore, the Krys Ocean Race fleet treated the New Yorkers in South Manhattan to one last spectacle, over the course of a quick sprint across the Hudson River. When the start gun rang out at exactly 1100 hours, Sébastien Josse and his crew were the quickest off the line. Timing the start to perfection, they powered into the lead under gennaker, bound for the first mark moored off North Cove Marina. As soon as they had left the mark to starboard, the men of Gitana Team kept up the fight to extract themselves as best they could from this hazardous bay, given the conditions and the wind shadow caused by the numerous skyscrapers. On passing Verrazano Bridge, which marks the way out to the open ocean, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild was hot on the heels of Musandam – Oman Sail, who had moved up into the lead. The Atlantic is now opening up ahead of Edmond de Rothschild Group and its adversaries.
Just minutes from the start, Antoine Koch, the on-board navigator, gave us an update on the weather conditions and described the atmosphere for the first few hours of racing: “There are no major changes compared with what we observed yesterday, namely a cold front situation over the Saint Lawrence Estuary, whose influence is likely to propel us very quickly towards Europe, if we manage to remain ahead of the system. After a fairly slow start in New York’s Upper Bay, the wind is set to build gradually. Tonight we’re likely to have between 20 and 25 knots and we’ll already be making around 30 knots of boat speed. As such the atmosphere on-board will very quickly change. Initially we’ll be slipping along on relatively flat seas, but despite that it’ll be wet on deck due to the speeds these boats can do. After that, the sea will gradually build as we distance ourselves from the American coast. Our final routing gives us an ETA of 5 days and 12 hours to reach the Scillies, at the South-West tip of England.”
Though there’s obviously everything to play for with 3,000 miles to go for the five MOD 70s, the successful introduction by Edmond de Rothschild Group was very important in light of the weather system forecast across the Atlantic.
A cartography is available on the Gitana Team website.
From Saturday 7 July at 1900 UTC, the positions will be updated every three hours, which means the next standing will be at 2200 UTC.
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)
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