A review of a very fine transatlantic
On Thursday 12 July at 13h 19m and 49 seconds UTC, Edmond de Rothschild Group was second across the Krys Ocean Race finish line in Brest’s harbour, thus writing the first line of its oceanic track record. This inaugural race in the Multi One Championship is sure to go down in history. For the speed initially: Sébastien Josse and his five crew completed this eastbound transatlantic in 4 days 22 hours 19 minutes and 49 seconds, a little over an hour astern of winner Spindrift Racing and some twenty-eight minutes ahead of Foncia. The trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild covered 3,285 miles (the direct route amounting to 2,950 miles) at an average speed of 28.02 knots. This Friday, on the opening day of the Tonnerres de Brest, the MOD 70s made their entrance into the Port du Château at the very heart of the major maritime festival. A well-deserved return to shore

Though the figures in this Krys Ocean Race are attention-grabbers, it’s the men who managed to rack up the associated speeds and times that Sébastien Josse was keen to honour on his return to terra firma. Aboard Edmond de Rothschild Group, the skipper opted to surround himself with a young guard; a group which certainly doesn’t yet boast the experience of the other crews on the circuit, but whose cohesion and motivation enabled a fabulous second place to be secured. Sébastien Josse, reviews the alchemy which has built up over the months of preparation, particularly during the team’s winter training session in Agadir: “to gather together a competent crew which works well together, there are two options. The first is to surround yourself with sailors who are hardened to this domain. The second, which best corresponds with me, is to gather together profiles from various horizons and to get them working together to form a united, competent group. However, this method is a long one and we’re lucky that our boat owner - Baron Benjamin de Rothschild – provides us with the means to train together well in advance in perfect conditions. Aboard Edmond de Rothschild Group, four of the six crews were racing multihulls across the Atlantic for the first time. My cast might have surprised a few people to begin with I think, as I myself am a multihull rookie, but today I’m proud of this crew and happy with my choices. I’ve enjoyed myself with these five sailors for five days.”

A review of the careers and experiences of the five crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group

Antoine Koch

A sailor who has taken a career path exploring Imoca, Figaro as well as Orma, where he managed his own 60-foot project, Antoine Koch is like something from another planet in the sailing domain. Having trained as a naval architect, he was in charge of navigation aboard Edmond de Rothschild Group. In dialogue with Sébastien Josse, he analyses the weather and determines the route to be adopted by the trimaran: “When I began to look at the weather and the strategy of this race in the winter, I notably went through the routing with the weather window used by the maxi Banque Populaire V for her North Atlantic record attempt. That put us at 4 days 15 hours…, which I didn’t believe for one minute. Ultimately, the polars we were able to record in Agadir during our winter training were right. In this Krys Ocean Race, we were lucky enough to have an exceptional weather window. We set off at the back of a cold front, which was forming and we managed to go faster than it did, which enabled us to position ourselves ahead of the warm sector of this depression, in its cold front. With the front moving at roughly the same speed as us, it accompanied us all the way to the finish; over 80% of our course I’d say. If you try to compare it to the North Atlantic record, by taking into account the closest possible points along the course, we can say that we took around 4 days 16 hours. If we talk about the race, it’s the fastest in history, and in terms of a record crossing, we must be the fastest time after Banque Populaire V, Groupama 4 and Orange; which are much larger boats.

We’re not surprised by the pure speeds of the boat but we’re pleasantly surprised to have managed to maintain them for so long. For a multihull to make 30 knots isn’t exceptional, but to go at this speed, for four days in a row is already more than amazing. As regards our course, we have no regrets as Seb and I discussed the course selected by Spindrift and we didn’t want to go that way due notably to the sea state.”

David Boileau

A full-time member of Gitana Team, David Boileau is both a sailor and a technician. With Sébastien Josse and performing the role of the trimaran’s boat captain, he’s one of the most familiar with Edmond de Rothschild Group. During this Krys Ocean Race, David embarked with the sailing team for the first time:I’m among the four aboard the boat who were racing our first transatlantic in crewed configuration. And what a first performance! We’ve just enjoyed a superb crossing: some fine conditions, good management of the weather, with a fine trajectory and a really united group, happy to be at sea together. Sébastien knew just how to create an atmosphere such as this and give everyone their place and their role so that everything worked like clockwork. Everyone knew just how to push beyond their limits for the group and keep up the pace right the way to the finish. It was a real sprint without any downtime, with the exception of three hours perhaps. 24 hours before our arrival, we discovered that our port foil was damaged. We wondered if we should continue at the pace we were going or slow down… But on discussion with the shore team, Seb opted to continue to attack. We had nothing to lose and we wanted to defend our second place. Over the winter, Antoine (Koch) ran the routing and announced results of around four and a half days! On leaving New York and knowing the conditions awaiting us, we knew it would be quick but not to this extent: it was a bit of a surprise but a lot of enjoyment. In September, we’ll find ourselves on the European Tour with legs which are as intense but shorter and I think that the cohesion of our group, which is constantly growing, will be an asset for this race format.”

Thomas Rouxel

From the Olympic domain originally, Thomas Rouxel tried his hand in the highly selective Figaro Bénéteau class. It’s on this circuit that this native of Brest met Sébastien Josse. Through his arrival within the Gitana Team, Thomas has discovered the multihull universe and high speed sailing: With some peaks of speed at 40 knots and an average of 28 knots over the transatlantic, it’s pretty staggering. This is all the more impressive given how much load there is on these boats; the tension in the sheets is constantly extreme. For someone like me, who is just discovering a machine such as this, it’s certainly a bit stressful. However, I was really able to rely on the experience of the crew, who were always there for me and explained things. I’m incredibly lucky. You need to be able to trust one another. As regards life aboard, the hardest thing was clearly the dampness. To be soaked for 24 hours is okay, but after three days, with the fatigue setting in, putting your wet foulies back on when you get out of your bunk is really unpleasant. In these boats and at the speeds we were doing, sleeping isn’t easy as there’s a lot of noise. I loved this first experience of offshore multihull racing and I’m keen to head back out on some more races with the crew.”

Christophe Espagnon

Selected to race a Tornado for France in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, a member of the French Olympic sailing team for many years, but also part of Pierre Pennec’s crew in the Extreme 40, Edmond de Rothschild Group, Christophe Espagnon has since taken up the call of the open ocean. A fine helmsman, he was able to fully express his potential in this Krys Ocean Race: Before setting off, I hadn’t been able to enjoy the pleasures of some long tacks at the helm flying along and I had my fill here. The most impressive element was the night watches. We didn’t have any moon and we were hurtling along at over thirty knots in the pitch black. That calls for a vast amount of concentration and I have to admit that from time to time you kind of switch your brain off a bit, which means that your sole focus is listening to the boat. The only thing on your mind is the next wave and taking care of the trajectory… The crew worked very well together and despite the conditions not being very favourable for exchanging ideas, we had some great moments as a group and those memories will stay with us. It was a good atmosphere. There were also some more personal moments, the contemplation as regards the speed, the sea and how easy it is to make headway at these speeds on these boats. In training we’d never pushed the boat so far, or the guys come to that. It was intense!”

Florent Chastel

Triple winner of the Jules Verne Trophy, the most recent of which was with Banque Populaire V, the North Atlantic record holder, Florent Chastel is what you might call a familiar face on express races. And although the speed and the crossings weren’t new to this sailor from Provence, the many hours at the helm were a baptism of fire for him: This race was my fourth transatlantic in race mode, with three records and one Quebec Saint-Malo. The Krys Ocean Race was a combination of the two! Racing and close-contact work and all that coloured with some weather conditions, which were reminiscent of those sought on record attempts. In the big crews we’re very specialised and I’m usually the bowman, involved with everything that has to do with the rigging. As such I’m a lot more familiar with the foredecks of boats than the helm. However, with six of us, you have to be a lot more versatile and I really enjoyed discovering this position. My records with the big boats and the crossing we’ve just made are incomparable. It would be like comparing a big saloon with a very low slung Ferrari which holds the road supremely well with very fast acceleration. On the MOD, we’re level with the water and that considerably heightens the sensation of speed: it’s exhilarating! After a transatlantic, there was little separation between the top three: 1hr maximum. It augers well for a good battle in the European Tour where the formats offered provide a succession of short legs. There will be more strategy, a lot more manœuvres, but still as much intensity.”

Standing 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

4. Musandam – Oman Sail

Finished on Friday 13 July, at 00h 05 minutes 38 seconds after 5 days 7 hours 05 minutes 38 seconds / average speed along the great circle route: 23.30 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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