Edmond de Rothschild Group, a fabulous second in the Krys Ocean Race
The numbers speak for themselves when describing the exceptional transatlantic crossing, which the top three MOD 70s in the Krys Ocean Race have just accomplished. Just hours before they set out from New York on 7 July, the routing envisaged some record times for devouring the theoretical 2,950 miles of the course and the sailors did just that. On crossing the finish line, situated at the entrance to Brest harbour, this Thursday 12 July, at 13h 19 minutes and 49 seconds, Sébastien Josse and his five crew secured second place in the event. Indeed, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild completed this eastbound transatlantic in 4 days 22 hours 19 minutes and 49 seconds, a little over an hour astern of the winner Spindrift Racing, after averaging 28.02 knots in terms of the actual miles covered. The skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group has thus enjoyed a great introduction to the world of oceanic one-design multihull racing.

The first words from Sébastien Josse, skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group

“Before discussing the race, I would like to thank those who’ve enabled us to make a crossing such as this. Thank you to Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild for the trust you have placed in us and for having chosen me to helm Edmond de Rothschild Group. I’m the rookie of this class but Gitana Team and all the shore crew working on the project have put all their experience to good use so that we can achieve this result.”

A first in race mode in a multihull on the Atlantic

“My first Atlantic crossing in a multihull was wet, very wet even and incredibly intense! We haven’t had a moment to ourselves; you couldn’t ease off the pace from beginning to end. This course required 200% commitment from everyone with complicated living conditions aboard. I have a super crew; I already knew that before I set off but these past five days have further confirmed the calibre of these five boys, who accompanied me on this race. It’s no small matter as there were three of us who had never raced a multihull across the Atlantic before. I am very proud of my crew.”

Second place

“It’s a good start: it’s a great place for our first time so we’re very happy aboard! We were able to take the pressure put on our shoulders by Foncia and this was the case virtually throughout the event. They came very close to overtaking us – 4 miles – but nobody eased off the pace. It’s a huge satisfaction, as the battle between our two crews was tough. We have no regrets because even though we’d spotted the route adopted by Spindrift, we found it to be too risky. The zone we were in meant we had to contend with a poor sea state and I knew that further North conditions were worse. I didn’t want to take my crew into these conditions. They were daring and that enabled them to win: congratulations to them, they sailed a very fine trajectory.”

Damage to report

“Yes, we made a bit of a hash of things because yesterday afternoon we’d noticed that our port foil, the leeward one which we’d been using since the start, had delaminated. Initially this discovery knocked our spirits a fair bit because we needed to slow down to avoid breaking it. However, as we were close to the finish and after consultation with Cyril (Cyril Dardashti, General Manager of the Gitana Team), we took the decision to go for it. We put our foot to the floor again and defended our second place right the way to the finish. The foil is in a poor state, but it held and it’s fantastic to be here.”

The weather conditions

“Hard but efficient. We set out from New York with a weather system and we’re arriving in Brest with it, hence our race time. We sailed the whole course on starboard tack, on a direct route. It’s incredible. All in all, we’ve had some boisterous weather conditions with a south-westerly wind, which rarely fell below 20 knots. The toughest day of the crossing was that on Monday. There were big seas as we were sailing very close to the centre of the depression. We wondered what on earth we were doing there but not for long. Driving these multihulls at high speed means that you’re constantly on a knife edge. We buried the bows a few times, with all three rudders out of the water, but I think that was the case on all the boats. Last night, due to our damaged foil, we did some unplanned freestyling and it took a long time before the boat was back in its normal position. I was sleeping in my bunk and I ended up standing upright on the bulkhead. You’re on the edge but that’s the name of the game. The boat scored a new speed record, with a peak of speed of 40.7 knots; it was Florent Chastel helming.”

Review of the conditions during such a crossing

On 7 July, the five MOD 70s set off from the foot of the Statue of Liberty, bound for Brest. The weather pattern, which was settling over the North Atlantic, was forecast to be perfect for expressing the trimarans’ speed potential. Indeed, a cold front settled over the Saint Lawrence Estuary, which meant that crossing on a single tack was very much a possibility!

Despite a tricky exit from the Hudson River due to the light, shifty wind reigning to the South of Manhattan late morning on Saturday 7 July, Edmond de Rothschild Group and its four adversaries timed things just right and managed to position themselves ahead of a cold front, which was heading for Europe at over 25 knots. Propelled at high speed by this weather system, the thirty sailors in the Krys Ocean Race set off on what was to prove a hellish transatlantic. In some boisterous sea and wind conditions, – in the worst of the depression on Monday, Sébastien Josse and his men endured average winds of 30-35 knots and waves of 4.5 metres – the one-design trimarans were racking up average speeds of 30 knots. Aboard the boat, dampness pervaded everything and sleep was very limited.

The MOD 70s expected into Brest tomorrow afternoon

On crossing the finish line this Thursday afternoon at the entrance to Brest’s harbour, the top trio outsmarted all the forecasts and arrived offshore of the city some 24 hours ahead of the organisers’ schedule. As such, the MOD 70s won’t be able to enter the Port du Château, at the heart of the maritime festival in Brest, until tomorrow afternoon. At the risk of being controversial, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group expressed his surprise at such a situation: “I can fully understand the imperatives on shore but for those of us on the water it’s hard to accept. We’ve just spent five days at sea; we’re soaked and cleaned out. We have two bunks for six people, so it’s impossible to sleep and we have to wait another 24 hours before we can set foot on shore.”

The podium times for the Krys Ocean Race

1. Spindrift Racing

Finished on Thursday 12 July, at 12h 08 minutes and 37 seconds after 4 days 21 hours 08 minutes and 37 seconds / average speed along the great circle route: 25.3 knots

2. Edmond de Rothschild Group

Finished on Thursday 12 July, at 13h 19 minutes and 49 seconds after 4 days 22 hours 19 minutes and 49 seconds / average speed along the great circle route: 25.06 knots/ average speed over the ground: 28.02 knots

3. Foncia

Finished on Thursday 12 July, at 13h 47 minutes and 57 seconds after 4 days 22 hours 47 minutes and 57 seconds / average speed along the great circle route: 24.96 knots

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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