On his arrival in the Alcantara Marina, Sébastien Josse gave us his first impressions: “In this first leg, the first 24 hours were separate to the rest of the race… From the start in Valencia to Cabo de la Nau, we sailed well as we were up with the leaders. However, at that stage, the cards were reshuffled. We were tightly bunched, within 100 metres of one another, two boats headed offshore, one went inshore and we got stuck fast in a wind hole. There really was nothing in it but ultimately there were serious consequences. It was the start of a whole new race for us then, the objective of which was clearly to secure third place ahead of Virbac. As a result, we began marking our pursuer rather than sailing our own race in terms of courses and strategy.”
Indeed after the tricky section at Cabo de la Nau, situated 70 miles to the South of Valencia, the weather never enabled the men of Gitana Team to make up ground on the head of the fleet, as Charles Caudrelier, the on-board navigator explained: “We sailed a good first section with some sound navigation on the first night. At Cabo de la Nau we hesitated a fair bit about whether to go offshore or inshore and we had to come to a decision then and there as there was a TSS (Traffic Separation System) to be respected. We opted to remain with the group. However, I made a poor analysis of this phase and we had to pay very dearly for our mistake. We were with Spindrift at that point, which managed to hook onto a puff of air and do a horizon job with it. This section caused us to end up with a big deficit in relation to the leaders. As a scan of the grib files indicated, those at the front would be able to make the break and we very quickly learnt that we wouldn’t be able to catch up the top two.”
The winner of the opening races in Valencia, Sébastien Josse was naturally frustrated with his crew’s third place and keen to head back out to sea and set sail for Ireland, the next offshore leg of this Route des Princes: “I believe that this result, which was decided very early on really, isn’t a true reflection of the crew’s potential. We know how to make fast headway, the crew manœuvres well and when we’re in contact with the others we really have a lot going for us. I’m eager for us to set sail for Dùn Laoghaire.”
With regard the overall standing, this leg between Valencia and Lisbon has reshuffled the cards. Last in the Spanish inshore races, Oman Air has moved up into the top spot thanks to the offshore leg’s factor of 2 scoring system and the forty points awarded to today’s winner. The trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is lying in a provisional third place this evening, six points shy of the Omani one-design.
This evening Sébastien Josse and his five crew will be able to benefit from some well-earned rest. Indeed this first leg, most of which was sailed close-hauled, has been physically wearing: “It was a pretty exhausting race for the crew as there were a lot of manœuvres, which call for everyone to be on deck. That was the case during the first 24 hours, as well as during the passage of Gibraltar, where we had to weave our way along amidst the cargo ships, which is never easy and is stressful above all. During the leg we didn’t get much sleep and the day off tomorrow is very welcome as it will give us a chance to recharge our batteries before the two days of inshore races,” concluded the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild before heading to his hotel.
On Friday 14 June at 1500 hours, the four MOD70 crews will switch back to inshore race mode and, if weather conditions allow, it’s at the very heart of the Portuguese capital that this nautical jousting will be contested. In fact, the race zone created on the Tagus River will stretch from the Praça de Comercio to the Belem Tower.
The crew of Edmond de Rothschild on offshore 1
Sébastien Josse / Charles Caudrelier / Thomas Rouxel / Olivier Douillard / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Florent Chastel
The figures from the first leg
The trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild crossed the finish line of the first offshore leg this Wednesday at 15 hours 31 minutes and 36 seconds GMT. Sébastien Josse and his five crew took 3 days 3 hours 31 minutes and 36 seconds to cover the 784 theoretical miles between Valencia and Lisbon. Their average speed over the theoretical course is 10.51 knots. In reality however, Gitana XV covered 1,076 miles over the ground at an average speed of 14.25 knots.
Ranking for the Valencia – Lisbon leg (prior to the jury) – GMT
1. Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet), finished on 12 June at 11h 41mn 38sec
Race time: 2d 23h 41mn 38sec
2. Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard), finished on 12 June at 11h41m38sec
Race time: 3d 0h 26mn 30s
3. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse), finished on 12 June at 15h 31mn 36 s
Race time: 3d 3h 31mn 36sec
4. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick), finished on 12 June at 15h43mn25sec
Race time: 3d 3h 43mn 25s
Overall standing for the Route des Princes (prior to the jury)
1. Musandam – Oman Air / 48 points
2. Spindrift Racing / 44 points
3. Edmond de Rothschild / 42 points
4. Virbac Paprec 70 / 34 points