Ocean RacingSailor Chick Of The Week

eve of destruction

Barcelona World Race 2014/15 - Start

With just a few hours left until the fleet shoves off for the 3rd BCN World Race, Jen Edney gives us a look at the fleet (and we’ll have the start live right here on the front page). To talk everything BWR and see more of this talented young photog’s pics, head here.

Barcelona’s Old Port is a flurry of activity here at the start of the third edition of The Barcelona World Race 2014/15, as birds and fans flock to the race village to get one last look at the boats and crews before they set out on their 23,000-mile, doublehanded journey around the world.  Hustle and bustle is the name of the game as the skippers and preparateurs (french for ‘shore crew’) make final preparations for the boats. The day has been quite busy for the teams as they had their final skippers meeting, the last of their media and interview obligations, and making sure everything is onboard…especially enough food.  Jorg Riechers had some comments about their food choices.  “We take a lot of food with us because I think many teams in the last race try to save weight with food which is stupid because when you are hungry you are not functioning and if you are not functioning you cannot work hard on the boat. We take food for 95 days so the goal is to eat as much as possible. No specific food, freeze dried food, lots of Chicken Tikka. The only thing we have that is brilliant is we have freeze dried fruit. Freeze dried fruit, freeze dried strawberries save your day.”

Barcelona World Race 2014/15 - StartTomorrow the family, friends and fans of the sailors will say farewell in a ceremony before the start of the race at 13h00. It will be an emotional day as the sailors say goodbye to their families and switch into racing mode for the next 3 months. Many of the sailors, including Alex Thompson, know all too well what the feeling is like. When asked about how this time is different then the previous edition of the race Alex (who has two children age 4 and 6 months) said, “It didn’t seem to be too bad when they were younger, I mean harder for me, less for them I guess because they don’t really know what is going on but certainly as Oscar (4) has gotten older he’s become more aware of what time is and how long 3 months is. I think it’s important to try and remain with a connection, whether it be a phone call or a video…just small details keeps them happy and makes it easier for both of us.”  For Bernard Stamm’s family it is all they have known,”It’s my job so it’s part of their life.  We communicate, my wife is the contact on shore for everything. We are not leaving to say ‘why did I leave!’ We’re going to race!”

The double-handed heavyweight duo have been asked many times how they will get along after many miles sailed single-handed. “It will be better then alone. You have 2 heads, 4 arms, 4 legs and everything will be more easy. People always ask if we can live together for three months but we are going to race for three months. We are just two to make the boat go as fast as the boat can go. For me it is not a problem, normally easy. But I will tell it much better when I come back.”  Stramm says with a grin.

Here’s a short look at the steeds.

The Beauty of an Open Class vs. One Design is that the boats have taken on personalities of their own, a combination of miles sailed, skippers who have driven them, “injuries” they have sustained,  improvements and races they’ve won. Below are the stories of the boats competing in the Barcelona World Race 2014/15:

Spirit of Hungary is the fourth IMOCA 60 designed and built by Nandor Fa. Launched in 2014, the boat is the first model to be built according to the new class rules. The hull, which is carbon fibre, was built at the Pauger shipyard (well-known for RC44s) and Nandor himself undertook some of the work. Following a return to the shipyard due to technical issues, that also prevented the crew from taking part in the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York-Barcelona Race last summer, the Barcelona World Race will be the first great test for Nandor and Conrad’s yacht.

The Hugo Boss Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes are sailing in the 2014/15 edition of the BWR is the former Virbac Paprec 3, winner of the previous edition of the race and a boat which stands out from the rest in terms of technical innovation. With Jean-Pierre Dick at the helm the boat finished in fourth place in the Vendée Globe 2012/13, despite sailing without a keel for 2,650 miles. Alex Thomson Racing purchased the boat and carried out a comprehensive refit, which included fitting a brand new keel. The IMOCA 60 was back on the water in April 2014 but en route to America for its first race, the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race, the yacht dismasted. However, following repairs the new Hugo Boss sealed a victory in the event, her first, with Pepe Ribes and Ryan Breymaier (in place of Alex, whose second child was due to be be born) on board.

After losing his JuanK IMOCA 60 to a storm on Christmas Eve in 2013, Bernard Stamm signed a lease/option to replace his Cheminees Poujoulat with Jörg Riechers’ former boat Mare.. This is a yacht from the Farr studio, launched in 2007, taken by Michel Desjoyeaux to Vendée Globe victory in 2008/09 and later sailed to second place in the Barcelona World Race 2010/11 by Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández. It later took the Vendée Globe 2012/13 start with Jérémie Beyou. The boat has been refitted a number of times to ensure it is up to date with the class rules. Bernard and Jean have also made some changes of their own.

GAES Centros Auditivos is the former SynerCiel skippered by Jean Le Cam, that finished the Vendée Globe 2012/13 in fifth place. Before that, as Renault Z.E., the yacht was sailed to third place in the Barcelona World Race 2010/11 by Pachi Rivero and Toño Piris. This yacht’s first round the world challenge was the Vendée Globe 2008/09 as Gitana Eighty with Loïck Peyron at the helm, when she incorporated a number of innovative features including a swiveling/tacking interior. Therefore GAES Centros Auditivos really has been performance-tested and was prepared for this edition of the regatta at the FNOB’s Ocean Sailing Base in Barcelona.

Built in 2007, Neutrogena is a solid vessel that has demonstrated its impressive potential on many occasions. Above all, this is a boat Guillermo knows well. The Spaniard took the yacht to the start of the first edition of the Barcelona World Race as Estrella Damm, although the crew were forced to abandon the race in South Africa due to rudder issues. The boat then took on the Vendée Globe 2008/09 as BT with Sébastien Josse at the helm. It later became Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement, winning the 2010 Route du Rhum. A year later, the boat donned the colours of Hugo Boss and Guillermo Altadill stepped back on board, joining Alex Thomson for the Transat Jacques Vabre 2011, finishing in second place. The Briton also logged a west-east transatlantic record with this IMOCA 60 and third place in the Vendée Globe 2012/13. Guillermo has been training with what was his former yacht since 2013.

The crew of One Planet, One Ocean and Pharmation will be racing on the former Kingfisher, the boat Ellen MacArthur famously smashed the Atlantic record from Plymouth to Newport with in 2000, taking second place in the Vendée Globe 2000/01 and later a Route du Rhum victory in 2002. It then became Educación Sin Fronteras with Albert Bargués and Servane Escoffier making their first non-stop, circumnavigation of the planet in the Barcelona World Race 2007/08. In the second edition of the double-handed, round the world challenge Gerard Marín and Ludovic Aglaor raced the yacht re-christened as Fòrum Marítim Català. One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton is therefore one of the IMOCA 60 fleet with the highest mileage and number of circumnavigations under its belt. This is a solid and reliable yacht that has recently undergone a thorough inspection at the FNOB Ocean Sailing Base, with special attention paid to the keel and appendages, the steering and the electronic on-board systems

Renault Captur is a Finot-Conq design launched in July 2007 that Armel Le Cléac’h took to second place in the Vendée Globe 2008/09 in 89 days and 9 hours. Le Cléac’h was also in the driving seat for the yacht’s second place Route du Rhum finish in 2010. The boat underwent a refit in July this year. Over the past few weeks the rigging and appendages have been inspected and work has also been done on the electronics and mast. For this preparation, the team has had an outstanding technical advisor: Bertrand de Broc, the last skipper to compete aboard this IMOCA 60.

The We Are Water IMOCA 60 won the 2007-08 Barcelona World Race as Paprec- Virbac 2 in the hands of Jean-Pierre Dick and Damian Foxall. It is a Farr design which was built in New Zealand by Southern Ocean Marine, launched in February 2007. Then in the 2010-11 Barcelona World Race it was sailed to fourth place as Estrella Damm by Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes.

More to come on the crew themselves, and their ms are getting along and their thoughts on the race. In the mean time check the BWR site for daily updates and keep up with the skippers as they battle their way around the world!