Up and running
The MOD 70 fleet set off on the first leg of the European Tour at 1448 hours local time this Sunday. In an established breeze of around fifteen knots, Foncia got off to the best start whilst the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild crossed the start line in second position. After a few miles of following a coastal course along the river to bid farewell to the large German crowds, Edmond de Rothschild Group and its four rivals headed offshore, bound for the Skagerak headland to the extreme North of Denmark. This particularly demanding start to the course (200 nautical miles), given the numerous channel marks which the competitors have to respect, should be astern of the MOD 70 by tonight. The 1,238 miles which make up the first part of the route are likely to put the sailors to the test physically given the varied weather phenomena announced as there will be little time for the five competing crews to recover their strength.

Quotes from the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group prior to casting off

Sébastien Josse, skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group: “ The weather is as forecast. We’re going to head off in a medium wind of 10-15 knots along a fairly direct course. We’re going to have to keep our eyes open and respect the channel marks, which are numerous at the start of the course with around 30-35 marks prior to the Skagerak headland. The wind will build over the course of the night once we tackle the passage to the North of Denmark. We’re expecting 25-30 knots and a pretty short and messy sea. This phase is set to last between five and seven hours and won’t be comfortable for the men or the boat. However, the wind will be a lot more manageable over the rest of our journey across the North Sea. This first leg will be long and the weather forecasts will mean that it’s going to be action-packed, particularly from Pas-de-Calais. The emphasis will be on remaining in contact with the fleet, whilst retaining the necessary lucidity and energy for the end of the course. We’re likely to get little sleep for the first forty hours and crew management will be very important. Our organisation will be more reminiscent of a long coastal course than that of a offshore race proper.”

Antoine Koch, navigator on Edmond de Rothschild Group: “Once we’re into the rhythm, this Kiel – Dublin will be slightly reminiscent of a Figaro leg. There will be a lot more manœuvres than in the Krys Ocean Race and hence a lot more people on deck. We certainly won’t be able to respect the watch system we set up in the Atlantic. We’re going to have to get in some rest when the opportunity arises. It won’t necessarily be possible to have such sequences scheduled in advance. As onboard navigator, I’ll have to spend a lot of time at the chart table and less perhaps on deck and at the helm. With four Figaro sailors out of the six sailors aboard, the rhythm appeals to us. However, we aren’t the only ones in the fleet to have this experience, far from it.”

Thomas Rouxel, helmsman – trimmer on Edmond de Rothschild Group : “We’re going to encounter some very different weather phenomena throughout the race: a passage of a depression, a ridge of high pressure, then more wind… It’s going to be bracing and we’ll have a lot on our plate during this leg. The race is set to last nearly four days. It’s likely to be as intense as the Krys Ocean Race but the style will be somewhat different.”

Leg 1: The promise of a lively opening and a long route to Ireland

When Race Management were preparing this European Tour, they thought up two routes for the first leg between Kiel and the Irish port of Dublin, so as to be able to adapt to the weather conditions at the time. The latest forecasts and the announcement of a deep depression over northern latitudes caused them to opt for the more southerly course. The first part of the course remains unchanged: Edmond de Rothschild Group and its rivals will leave Kiel with around 200 miles’ navigation across the Baltic Sea bound for the Skagerak headland, situated to the extreme North of Denmark. Following that, instead of setting a course for the Shetland Islands (61° North and the highest point of the first route), the one-design trimarans will have to head South in order to leave England to starboard and make their way up the English Channel to Land’s End, at the South-West tip of England. They’ll then make for the Celtic Sea, followed by St Georges Channel and the port of Dun Laoghaire, the terminus for this first leg, which theoretically spans some 1,238 miles.

According to the latest routing, the MOD 70s are expected into Ireland overnight between Wednesday and Thursday.

The crew of the MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group

Offshore: Sébastien Josse (Skipper), David Boileau, Florent Chastel, Christophe Espagnon, Antoine Koch, Thomas Rouxel

The European Tour in five legs

This is the second event in the Multi One Championship after the Krys Ocean Race, which took place in early July between New York and Brest. In total the five crews will have to cover over 5,000 nautical miles in five weeks on a North-South route! In addition to the offshore races between the host cities and contested with six crew per boat, the MOD 70s will do battle in races around the bay called City Races, where the number of sailors increases to eight. It is a comprehensive, demanding event, which will be intense to say the least.

Kiel (Germany)

Kiel City Races: from 31 August to 1 September

Leg 1 – 1,188 miles: Kiel – Dun Laoghaire (Dublin), start Sunday 2 September

Dun Laoghaire (Ireland)

Dublin City Races: from 7 to 8 September

Leg 2 – 1,215 miles: Dun Laoghaire (Dublin) – Cascais, start Sunday 9 September

Cascais (Portugal)

Cascais City Races: from 14 to 16 September

Leg 3 - 558 miles: Cascais – Cascais (Around Portugal Race), start Monday 17 September

Leg 4 – 1,071 miles: Cascais – Marseille, start Thursday 20 September

Marseille (France)

Marseille City Races: from 28 to 29 September

Leg 5 - 672 miles: Marseille – Genoa, start Sunday 30 September

Genoa (Italy)

Finish of leg 5: Tuesday 2 October

Closing race: Wednesday 3 October

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