MIKE GOLDING is back in the very familiar surroundings of Les Sables d’Olonne after arriving last night into the Port Olona marina with his IMOCA Open 60 Gamesa, following a fast and pleasingly uneventful passage from Southampton, UK.
Accompanied by his team of preparateurs, Graham Tourell and Mikey Ferguson, and met by his composite engineer, Ian McCabe, Golding arrived at the famous start port for the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe just in time to catch the last of the tide which allowed them to move directly into the marina.
Golding commented, “It is really good to be back and it was lovely arriving last night. We were met by a couple of RIBs and there were people on the canal side cheering and people at their windows and balconies welcoming us. It is a very nice reminder of the warmth and passion that the people of Les Sables d’Olonne have for the race and its skippers.”
Gamesa is the fourth IMOCA Open 60, of an expected fleet of 20, to take her place in the marina, the second to arrive from outside the Vendée region after Kito de Pavant’s Groupe Bel.
“We had a really good range of conditions, sailing in full Vendée mode, fully loaded with spares and food and we pressed the boat pretty hard. We were just footing a lot of the time, not hard on the wind, and then had some fast reaching from Ushant doing 23-24knots and everything was fine. We did some good miles at speed with some nice surfing,” recalled Golding.
“It is exciting to be here. After the long build up to eventually be here now feels really good. We all went for a nice meal together, steak frites of course, and reflected how much time we have spent here over the 12 years: it adds up to quite a bit!”
The Gamesa technical team have a moderately comprehensive list of work to get through over the coming days, but all of the tasks are relatively small.
“I have to say I really am happy with the shape the boat is in. I don’t think I have been here before feeling so well prepared. Usually there is something niggling with the boat, you are waiting for some part, or something random you are worrying about, but this time I am happy with where we are at. Thankfully that reflects our time investment this summer in making sure that we reach this point with the boat and the hard work by the shore team. And if that has been at the expense of sailing time on the water then I am fine with that. It has been a bit of a frustrating summer, but to have three weeks to go before the start and be here like this, this is where I have always wanted to be. I can say we are better prepared with the boat than ever before.”
Golding will return home to England this evening, returning to Les Sables d’Olonne at the weekend for the official opening to the public of the Vendée Globe race village. This will be followed by a few days of media interviews and commitments, before the final build up, which will start on 2 November, when Golding will be joined by the full complement of the Gamesa Sailing Team as they count down the final days to the start of the 2012-2013 edition.
British solo sailor, Alex Thomson has smashed the single-handed monohull transatlantic record, by more than 24 hours, crossing the finish line at Lizard Point, off Falmouth in Cornwall, in time to get back for the London Olympic Opening ceremony.
The 38 year old sailor crossed the line at 17:17 GMT (18:17 BST) setting the new time at 8 days 22 hours 8 minutes, beating the previous record, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, which had been held for 10 years.
“It has been a long few days,” said Alex. “The first half from New York was great with weather conditions in our favour, but things started to slow down the closer I got. But the wind has held out this morning and it’s so fantastic to have broken this record.”
Alex set sail from New York on July 17th at 19.09GMT to cover 2800 nautical miles in a quest to break the record for what is officially known as the ‘West to East Ambrose Lighthouse to Lizard Point Under 60ft Single-Handed Monohull Record, Male’, which sat at 10 days, 55 minutes and 19 seconds, and was set by Swiss sailor Bernhard Stamm 10 years ago.
His secondary aim was to get home in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in order to support Chairman and good friend, Sir Keith Mills.
“When I set off I had no idea if I was going to be able to do it. And it has been hard. Lack of sleep, broken instruments on the boat and constant exposure to the elements has really taken it out of me. But it’s such a good feeling to have beaten it by such a great margin,” said Alex.
But the record breaking achievement is only half of the story. Alex is in fact lining up to attempt to be the first Brit ever to win the gruelling single-handed round-the-world race, the Vendee Globe, leaving from France in November on board his 60ft monohull, HUGO BOSS. And this record breaking achievement puts him in good stead.
“This record attempt was also a training exercise for the Vendee Globe,” said Alex. “We felt this record attempt would put me under real pressure and stimulate race conditions and I have felt a real value in it.”
He is one of three British competitors who will take part in the non-stop, solo, unassisted round-the-world yacht race starting in Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on November 10th. Currently only 50% of attempts to complete the race have been successful in the race known as the ‘Everest of sailing’
Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret arrived in Le Havre this afternoon and besides a few remaining minor preparations, they are race ready.
Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret arrived in Le Havre this afternoon after a three day delivery.
The skipper of Mirabaud was on top form: “Everything went smoothly. We encountered a full range of conditions during the trip and were able to push the boat to its maximum. It coped very well and we are feeling good ten days from the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre.
Dominique and Michèle left La Rochelle on Tuesday morning and beat upwind in rough conditions to Ushant before easing the sheets and rocketing downwind to Le Havre. The breeze dropped out towards the end of the trip which also gave them a chance to test their light air sails. “We arrived in Le Havre in bright, warm sunshine, it was very pleasant! described Dominique.
The Transat Jacques Vabre starts at 13:02 on the 30 October in Le Havre and 35 racing yachts – including 13 IMOCAs – will cross the line and race for Puerto Limon in Costa Rica where they are expected to arrive two weeks later.
Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret have been sailing with their new mast for a month now and they are very happy with it. “We have been sailing at 100% of our polars, meaning that we are sailing at the theoretical maximum speed for the conditions. It is a very good sign. On the other hand, we are clearly lacking practice when it comes to our manoeuvres because the whole deck layout has changed. I hope there won’t be too much need for manoeuvring at the start!
With 10 days remaining until the start signal, Dominique and Michèle’s days will be busy, but only with tying up loose ends. Preparations are well in hand and the skipper plans for a calm approach to the start of the race.
The oldest solo ocean race of them all, The Transat™, born as the OSTAR in 1960, has been rescheduled away from its habitual 2012 slot. The event has been organised every four years since its inception, and has been the breeding ground for both technology like the multihull itself, and the heroes that have made the sport what it is today, such as French legend Eric Tabarly. Rescued at the last minute for the 2004 edition by OC ThirdPole, in 2008 the event became a monohull only race with a strong commitment made to the 60-foot monohull IMOCA Class, with the exclusion of all multihulls. With Artemis as title sponsor, the event was a great success and in particular a real result for sailing in the UK with a very well attended pre-start village in Plymouth, the historical ‘home’ of the event.
Start of The Transat 2008 © DPPI
Following the postponement of this year’s Istanbul Europa Race scheduled for July, due to insufficient entries, OC ThirdPole, a long time supporter* of the IMOCA circuit, has acted to help solve the difficult position of this IMOCA race. By offering to release to it’s organiser Olay Nautic it’s long established May slot in the pre-Vendée Globe 2012 calendar, it has permitted the rescheduling of the Istanbul Europa Race to 2012 with hopefully a stronger fleet.
OC ThirdPole will now re-evaluate, along with its partners, the future timing and format of The Transat™, with potentially a biennial event alternating between the historical solo and duo formats, supporting IMOCA’s key pillars of a round the world race every two years (Vendée Globe, Barcelona World Race).
OC ThirdPole hope that IMOCA will now work on a much needed long term strategic marketing plan and vision, in order that the Class can once again attract new sponsors at both team and event level.
*The commitment by OC ThirdPole to IMOCA over this decade has been significant between this event, the creation of the Barcelona World Race, and the organisation of the Artemis Challenge, as well as management of numerous IMOCA campaigns including Kingfisher, Skandia, Estrella Damm, BT, and Artemis Ocean Racing.
British yachtswoman Dee Caffari and Spanish co skipper Anna Corbella onboard their yacht, GAES Centros Auditivos, have crossed the finish line of the Barcelona World Race at 08:17hrs (BST) on 13 April 2011, both having achieved a world record.
For Caffari this marks her third race around the globe and thrusts her into the record books as the woman that has sailed non-stop around the planet more times than any other in history. Corbella also sets her own record as the first Spanish woman to circumnavigate the globe non-stop. The only all female crew to participate in the Barcelona World Race finished in sixth place, from a starting fleet of fourteen.
Having spent 102 days at sea, the GAES girls were thrilled to see a flotilla of boats ready to welcome them off the Barceloneta beach. Dee Caffari, 38, and Anna Corbella, 34, have been supported by Spanish hearing aid company, GAES and the world’s sixth largest insurance group, Aviva.
Caffari and Corbella were surrounded by supporter boats as they crossed the finish line triumphantly. An exhilarated Caffari said:
“Sailing around the world just once in a lifetime is an amazing experience. To circumnavigate the planet non-stop for a third time and set another world record is an absolute privilege. Every time you go down to the Southern Ocean and expose yourself to the extremes of nature you test your luck and, fortunately, mine has held so far. I am hoping that good fortune will continue as I am not finished with round the world sailing just yet!”
Caffari’s next goal is to compete in the Vendée Globe 2012 with the intention of securing a podium position and the search for a new title sponsor to support her ongoing sailing campaign continues.
On becoming the first Spanish woman to sail non-stop around the world, Anna Corbella said:
“It is very emotional to finish in my home city after sailing around the world and passing the three great capes nonstop. The journey has not been easy but the reward could not be bigger.”
“I am delighted for Anna who has achieved something very special onboard GAES Centros Auditivos. To become the first Spanish woman to sail around the world non-stop will make her an inspiration to many others. It has been an incredible opportunity for me to have achieved a world first and to have helped Anna accomplish her own record on our journey together”
Dee Caffari, entered the record books in May 2006 when she became the first woman to sail solo, non-stop the ‘wrong’ way around the world (against the prevailing winds and currents). Caffari went on to achieve a double world first three years later by becoming the only woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in both directions when she completed the Vendee Globe race on 14th February 2009. The Barcelona World Race has allowed Caffari to achieve one more non-stop lap of the planet and add another world record to her prestigious sailing achievements.
The Barcelona World Race was not all plain sailing for the GAES girls as three weeks ago they discovered damage to a main structural ringframe of the boat. The repair necessitated that Caffari cut into the ballast tank to mend both sides of the damaged area in the hope that the temporary fix would last to the end of the race. Although under race rules a technical stop was allowed and indeed seven boats (50% of the fleet) took advantage of that fact for a variety of reasons, Caffari and Corbella were determined that they complete the race as a non-stop course.
Antonio Gasso, CEO of GAES said:
“For Gaes it is an historic milestone to have participated in an adventure that has seen Anna and Dee become the first all female crew to sail around the world non-stop in the Barcelona World Race. We are extremely proud to support this fantastic team.”
Sarah Loughran, Head of Corporate Sponsorship at Aviva commented:
“Dee’s achievements are a testament to her courage, determination and ability and we are thrilled to have played a role in that inspirational journey. We have supported Dee since the start of her first non stop round the world trip in 2005 and to be able to welcome her home six years later as the woman who has completed that voyage more times than any other makes everyone at Aviva incredibly proud.”
Currently sixth in the rankings, record breaking British yachtswoman Dee Caffari and her Spanish co-skipper Anna Corbella are the only all female crew taking part in the race and will each establish two world records when they complete the race. Dee will become the only female sailor to have sailed non-stop around the world more times than any other in history. Anna Corbella will become the first Spanish woman to circumnavigate the globe non-stop.
Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella were about 25 miles off Cartagena this morning in light conditions making just 4-5 kts, with 294 miles to make to the finish line.
It was Jean Pierre Dick, double winner of the Barcelona World Race, who said in the Mediterranean that Barcelona needs to be earned, and after their downwind approach thorugh Gibraltar and the Alboran, Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella are having a final reminder of JP’s belief. As if they needed it after 101 days racing. But the GAES Chicas have had another transition of light winds to go through and are now in light upwind conditions with 294 miles to go to the finish at 0300hrs this morning UTC. So depending on wind, still a late Tuesday, maybe Wednesday finish for Dee and Anna.
“My arms are certainly telling me so too. We knew the Mediterranean would make uswork for the final few miles and we were not wrong.” Dee Caffari writes this morning, “The first transition has been dealt with and fortunately we were only becalmed for a couple of hours. We are now sailing upwind in flat water.The mileage is ticking by but quite slowly now we are having to tack to make our course. I think in the last twenty four hours we have done more manouevres than in the whole of the Southern Ocean.”
Hugo Boss are level with Madeira and will be contemplating when they tack across. They are making 11.5kts.
Forum Maritim Catala are 360 miles SWW of the Cabo Verde Islands upwind in 15-16 kts trade winds, while We Are Water are still a bit compromised in terms of northwards progress as they are beating up the Brasilian coast only 150-180 miles off.
Ryan Breymaier (USA) and Boris Herrmann (GER) crossed the finish line of the Barcelona World Race at 1513hrs (UTC)to take fifth place on a perfect spring Sunday afternoon.
In Brittany, the epicentre of solo and short handed ocean racing which is their adopted home area, they had only moved in similar circles but had never even met before they were brought together only last year, united to pursue a dream they both shared. Their first meeting, like a bizarre blind date, was over dinner in Concarneau’s Verriere bar, 30 minutes from where Herrmann lived.
Today the pre-race poster boys not only fulfil that dream in a placing which achieves their pre-race target, but the execution of their entire 25,200-mile course has earned them widespread and considerable acclaim for a maturity which belies the fact that this Barcelona World Race is their first IMOCA Open 60 ocean race together. They did not let crucial damage to a hydraulic ram keel control affect their philosophy, even though it knocked 20-25% off their maximum performance since before Cape Horn.
Docked in the late afternoon sunshine at the foot of the iconic Columbus monument before a large international crowd Ryan Breymaier said: “The goal of this was to get around the world non-stop, especially this being our first time, and not being the newest boat in the fleet, the goal was never that we were going to win, we were just out to do the best that we possibly could, and make our sponsors proud, to make our friends and family proud, and that is the overriding thing: to have done this race to the highest level we were capable of doing it at, not to have left anything on the field of battle, so to speak. And to just know that when we stand here in Barcelona that we did the best we could, that everyone else who knows us knew that we did the best we could. We have never given up, yes it is difficult, we started going upwind for 19 days, from the Equator and when you are missing the last 25% of your keel, it is like having a 50 foot boat against a 60 foot boat. We just did the best we could. That is the only philosophy you can have: 1: make sure you finish, 2 do the best that you can.?
Only the third team to finish this edition of the race without stopping, Herrmann becomes the first German sailor ever to complete a non-stop racing circumnavigation and to finish an IMOCA Open 60 race, whilst Breymaier – a late adopter to sailing who only started sailing seriously at college in 1993 – is the first American to finish the Barcelona World Race.
Among the highlights of a race which they often made look effortless has been close boat-for-boat duels. First with the event’s most experienced duo Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret on Mirabaud, who they tussled with from the descent of the South Atlantic to the threshold of the Pacific, when Neutrogena finally eased away from the Swiss-French couple, and then a match race up the Atlantic with Estrella Damm which only finally escaped just north of the Cape Verde Islands to earn fourth place, finishing yesterday morning.
Herrmann: “For me, remembering especially the very long match race in the Indian ocean with Mirabaud remains the essence of this race for us. Every update the distances changed a bit for either them or us, I remember one moment when we could just see them, maybe four miles away. Both boats with very reduced sails, going very fast in rough seas. And we said, ‘Ok, now we’ve caught them we can take a reef and we would still be faster.’ We were then taking a reef and still doing 33 knots, the fastest moment of the race was just then.
“The next position report they had run away 10 miles, that was a very intense time of the race.?
To the west of Cape Horn, some days after Breymaier revealed that they had leaked oil from a keel ram, their pace slowed slightly but it was only when they passed Cape Horn, speaking by video simultaneously to Race HQ and to their team in Concarneau, Brittany, that Herrmann confirmed that they had a damaged keel ram which would progressively compromise their performance. In the end that was a major contributing factor when Estrella Damm finally broke away to set up a fast reaching return to Gibraltar, while Neutrogena was left slogging upwind, close to the rhumb line.
Their repair skills were tested rebuilding the autopilot hydraulics, the hydrogenerators, a costly 90 minutes odyssey to the lee of Isla Nueva at the entrance to the Beagle Channel to fix a Solent headstay fitting which cost them miles, and a major repair to a water ballast pipe.
One of their most memorable moments for sure will be when a key sail tumbled off the deck when they broached. Their rapid, seemingly forlorn search, in the tumultuous waters was suddenly successful when they spotted a number of albatross resting on the semi-waterlogged, bagged sail.
It is the German co-skipper’s second round-the-world race, after winning the two handed Portimao Global Ocean Race in 2009, which is a with-stops race in 40-foot Class 40’s.
Despite having no past history as a partnership before their preparation started with the 2004-launched Marc Lombard-designed IMOCA Open 60 – which was previously the Route du Rhum winning, (and second in the Vendée Globe until losing its keel) Veolia of Roland Jourdain – Herrmann and Breymaier have gelled as a very strong team which took early cognisance of their respective strengths, weaknesses and different characters. Herrmann lived with Breymaier and his wife Nicola in the lead-in months.
Their complementary skills have been the bedrock of their success, but the duo have also developed a strong rapport, a working relationship which has taken account of their different strengths. Breymaier knows every centimetre of the boat and rig, while Herrmann, a former 49er and 505 high performance dinghy racer who graduated through the Mini Class to the Class 40, brought the circumnavigation experience. Both proved, from Day 1, that they had the skills to sail the boat consistently fast.
Breymaier, who moved to Europe six years ago to pursue his dream, worked as a preparateur and rig specialist with Jourdain’s team. In fact in 2007 he prepared the red IMOCA Open 60 for the French skipper’s attack with Jean Luc Nélias on the first Barcelona World Race, as well subsequently for the Vendée Globe in 2008-9.
Ironically this will be the boat’s first fully completed circumnavigation after retirements from two successive solo Vendée Globe races. The pair completed the theoretical course of 25,200 miles at an average of 10.49 knots, actually sailing 27,850 miles at an average speed of 11.59 knots, arriving 6 days, 4 hours, 53 minutes and 25 seconds after race winners Virbac-Paprec 3.
Their race has been underpinned by rock solid consistency, very strong, assured weather strategies in each ocean – they will be one of the few teams who will be almost entirely happy with their weather choices – and a youthful endurance which allowed them to hold pace, or be faster, than many newer generation boats. Even so theirs has been a big learning curve, the fruits of which Herrmann hopes to take forwards to the solo Vendée Globe.
Ryan Breymaier and Boris Herrmann crossed the finish line to complete their Barcelona World Race at 15:13:25hrs UTC (17:13:25hrs local) on Sunday April 10th in fifth place. Their elapsed time for the course was 100 days, 3 hours, 13 minutes and 25 seconds, an average speed for the course of 10.49kts for the 25,200 miles theoretical course. They sailed an actual course of 27,850 miles, at an average 11.59 knots.
The Race of Neutrogena
• January 3rd Mid-fleet through Med, then briefly to third as they head south to Morocco. But..
• January 4thStruggle to get out of Gibraltar Straits. Finally exit in 5th, alongside GAES.
Boris Herrmann (GER) January 4th: “It’s been the worst of our lives! We have this challenge in the Gibraltar Straits with incoming current and trying to sail against it with not enough wind, so we can make some metres sideways but it is impossible to get against the current. In fact in 24 hours we have not moved no metres west. It’s frustrating, disappointing. It is tough. We still make the odd joke, but at the moment if there is no wind coming we could stay here forever and that’s frightening.?
On expectations at the outset:
Ryan Breymaier (USA) January 6th: “In summary our first week, the beginning of the week was great, the middle absolutely terrible and now we are just pushing as hard as we can to try and stay ahead of the three boats who are just behind us.
“I would say that as far as our expectations go we are capable of doing well. We did well in the Mediterranean and now we are sort of where we expected to be in general.?
Ryan Breymaier (USA) January 8th: “We try to be pushing at 110 % all the time. We make sure we have the biggest sails we can have up all the time, always have someone on deck all the time and pushing. […] once we get to reaching conditions we can relax a little. But when you are alongside another boat next to you its impossible not to push. We are definitely happiest pushing.?
“I think Bilou’s Vendée Globe proved the boat is pretty competitive against the newer boats and we never lay back and wait. It is a testament to the original design and the work we have done to the boat.?
•January 8th Pass Canaries in eighth. Up to 6th/7th for much of Atlantic.
• January 22nd On the battle with Renault Z.E.:(Renault Z.E.and Neutrogena closely matched after fleet regroups in S.Atlantic, with just 0.1 of a knot splitting the pair over the past 24 hours.)
Boris Herrmann (GER), January 22:“Every position update we try to get in front of them. It’s not easy, they have this Farr-designed boat which works well in these conditions and we have to be really perfectly trimmed to keep up with their speed or to be a little bit faster.?
• January 28th Renault have got away, Neutrogena chasing Mirabaud – approx 70 miles behind going into 1st ice gate for battle that will last across the Southen Oceans.
On the partnership:
Ryan Breymaier (USA) February 2nd: “We sail together well as a team and living together on the boat is quite easy. We take our turns with pretty much everything and it is going quite well.
“When we are not doing well I have a tendency to get very, very frustrated and that creates a shitty atmosphere on board and we are working on that a bit. I have a tendency to get overly worked up about things. I try myself harder to keep myself calm and that helps a lot for sure.?
Recovering sail from it going overboard:
Boris Herrmann (GER) February 5th:“ The boat wiped out and in this whole episode we lost one sail over the side. We were sailing with the small kite and one reef in the main and so it takes quite a while to take sock the kite.
Once we had done that we looked at each other and said do we really do this because we had at least one and a half miles to go back and it was big waves, and gusts and everything. We did not expect to find it, so we said ‘lets try’ and we turned and on the trace on the navigation programme we could find the point where we wiped out, we went to the position with a couple of tacks, going upwind with very small sails.
From there we went downwind very slowly. And all of a sudden I could see a few albatross and they were sitting on our sails.
I think we have something going on with the albatross. Each time we make a stupid mistake it seems like there is one near the boat.
First of all it was quite stressful but in fact finding the sail and then managing to get it back on deck in these big waves was a miracle.?
On a consistent, regular battle with Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret on Mirabaud which ran from Jan 23rd when they were 1.5 miles through the Indian Ocean together, compressing and expanding, until Neutrogena gets ahead on 17th February, south of Australia, with just 500 miles of the Indian Ocean left.
Ryan Breymaier (USA) February 13:“It is a good game. This little rubber band effect happens when there is a difference in breeze. They get ahead or we catch up, we are not sure if Dominique has the magic touch and just gets away into the breeze or we just make little errors.It is nice to have a boat to sail against.
“We have had of communication by e-mail, it is subtle, it is like Dom needs to shave and is snoring right now, and we say ‘yes Boris is snoring right now as well’.
“It keeps me motivated for sure, but my mood changes from day to day for sure, based in whether we are 100 miles away from them or 30 miles away I am a completely different person.?
• February 17th Neutrogena pass Mirabaud to move into 6th, just south of Hobart.
Boris Herrmann (GER), February 17th:“[The battle with Mirabaud] is very motivating for us and for them. They wrote us in an email saying they are enjoying this duel as much as we are. It pushes us – every position report we look first at their speed, their positioning, and that really keeps every going at every moment. Rather than putting negative pressure on us it’s very motivating, and it’s fun.
“We have been ahead of them for a very short moment 10 days now and we’re coming closer every position report for two days, and finally passing them right now is a great moment, we’re very happy.?
• February 21st Neutrogena exit Wellington in fourth, ahead of stopped Estrella and Groupe Bel. Chase Renault hard across the Pacific but can’t get ahead.
On hydrogenerator repairs:
Ryan Breymaier (USA) February 28th:“They are prototypes and require constant massaging. The other night I went outside because it did not seem like it was producing as much charge as it should, and I found half of it out of the water, parts ripped out of it, so I spent another day glue-ing it back together, and we have put it back on and it is working perfectly.?
“It is nice to be able to fix things, it is a shame to have to do it so frequently.Most of the boat is in perfect shape still, just these prototypes (hydrogenerators) which we put on just before the start are not doing so well.
“I still am not so good with the electronics and electrics stuff, I leave that up to Boris and even down to I don’t really understand exactly how the hydrogenerator itself works feeding the electrical system, but I am capable of putting them back together.?
Ryan Breymaier (USA) March 5th: “ We had a little bit of leaking in the hydraulic system which is now fixed. That was the primary thing and that made it hard to sail at full potential for a while. We have not been able to use the big sails for a while because of it.
“It is a really crap feeling to know that you are slow compared to the other boats, so we just worked as fast as we could to get things sorted out. It is just terrible, every minute that you know that you are losing time to other boats is a real shame, and that is the position we found ourselves in unfortunately.“
Knockdown approaching Cape Horn:
Boris Herrmann (GER) March 7:“It is very windy, we are going fast. Yesterday we had up to 62 knots and four knockdowns. I would say we had an average of 40 knots yesterday, and that one gust of 62 knots which lasted about a minute but that was enough to throw us on our side and it was a little bit of a shake up.?
• March 8 Pass Cape Horn at 1130hrs UTC, almost in tandem with the French solo Jules Verne Record challenger Thomas Coville, alone on his maxi trimaran Sodeb’o. The Neutrogena duo and Coville exchange messages and film each other, the red tri passing less than 50 metres from Neutrogena.
But on a live video link joining Neutrogena with Roland Jourdain, principal of Team Kairos in Concarneau, and their team members, and the Barcelona Race HQ studio, Hermann revealed the keel ram damage which was to compromise their performance all the way up the Atlantic and to the finish.
Ryan Breymaier (FRA) March 8: “We have a problem with the rams on the keel. In the ram we have a problem with the joints inside one of them. So we can only use one and so it is hard to be at 100% all the time. We need to reduce the angle of the keel and so are about 70% of possibility to protect the boat a bit. The last four for five days we have worked hard with the keel and for the moment it is the best possible state. And so we intend to look after it very carefully to make sure we can finish the race.?
• March 9 Then immediately after the pleasure of passing Cape Horn they needed to make a repair to the Solent headstay required a short detour to lee of island Nueva at entrance to Beagle Channel. This loses them valuable miles to Estrella Damm.
• March 12 Mirabaud dismasted. Estrella Damm briefly overtake Neutrogena but soon drop back to a close fifth. From there the duo trade miles and are close until north of latitude of Cabo Verde when Estrella Damm and Renault Z.E can foot away on a northerly routing, breaching the Azores high to gain favourable reaching conditions, but with unable to fully cant their keel, Ryan and Boris have to stick with their high mode, maximizing VMG close to the rhumb line.
• March 16th Fast pace past South America:
Ryan: “Right now to be honest I am not sure what is making the difference, the hull form is quite OK when you have this rolling swell, it is just when it gets super flat that we suffer. Other than that we have a very, very low drag nice keel, a huge sail plan which helps right now, we are only sailing with genoa and main we don’t have a gennaker up, and the boat is sailing at a very high percentage of its polars, it is easily driven, under water all the appendages are low drag and we just can take advantage of having a nice sailplan.?
• March 18th– beginning to lose out because of keel. Estrella Damm overtake to fourth but Neutrogena yet again regains the place.
Boris Herrmann:“This might be the last position report showing us ahead of Estrella Damm and we definitely have been a bit handicapped with the keel we can’t cant fully, also we had lighter breeze I think because their speed since yesterday.?
• March 20th Estrella Damm overtake once again and this time hold the advantage, albeit with just a handful of miles in it.
Looking to the finish:
Ryan Breymaier (USA), March 21st:“My thoughts are always the same: Get there as fast as possible, get there as fast as possible, get there as fast as possible! It never changes!?
Doldrums: In fact the Doldrums were one of their low points, Herrmann in particular suffering with fatigue and extreme heat.
Ryan Breymaier (USA), March 24th: “The Doldrums are going very well thus far, knock on wood. We have between 5 and 10 knots out of the breeze and it’s not stopped yet, so hopefully that continues.
“In these lighter conditions we’re not as compromised as we will be later on when there’s more wind and waves, so we’re pretty happy to be keeping up now and are differently worried about what’s going to happen when we get into the stronger upwind trade wind conditions a little later on
• Post Doldrums long beat to finish, Neutrogena suffers with keel:
Boris Herrmann (GER) March 27th: “It is just a bit nuts for us just now because we feel like if we had the full potential of our keel then it would be a totally different game, for us it is like driving a car with only four out of five gears. We can’t switch into fifth gear and get the last bit of speed. We reckon that it is almost a knot that we are missing, so it is a good thing for them. They seem to be able to sail away from us with no trouble.?
• March 7th Pass Gibraltar
• March 10th Arrive in Barcelona after 100 days, 3 hours, 13 minutes and 25 seconds of racing.
Quotes from the skippers’ press conference:
How they made ground in the trades going down the Atlantic:
Ryan: “Over the course we had a very good idea of exactly what conditions would favour this boat, and the main conditions that favour us are big waves and a lot of breeze downwind. Knowing that and knowing that the trades were particularly strong, we kept the big kite up and drove the boat by hand for four days. And that’s more or less how we managed to keep up with or get ahead of some of those boats that had passed us or had gotten away from us a bit.
“It’s pretty exhausting work though, at the best of times people are normally driving boats for an hour or two at a stretch, but to do it for four days straight off and on is not very easy to do, but that’s the size of it – capitalizing on the times when we could go fast.?
Then after that, it became a series of match races with Renault and Mirabaud, what did that add?
Boris: “For me, remembering especially the very long match race in the Indian ocean with Mirabaud remains the essence of this race for us. Every update the distances changed a bit for either them or us, I remember one moment when we could just see them, maybe four miles away. Both boats with very reduced sails, going very fast in rough seas. And we said, ‘Ok, now we’ve caught them we can take a reef and we would still be faster.’ We were then taking a reef and still doing 33 knots, the fastest moment of the race was just then.
“The next position report they had run away 10 miles, that was a very intense time of the race.?
You had a Cape Horn meeting with Thomas Coville with Sodebo, was that a special moment?
Boris: “We knew there was probably going to be a meeting between us and Sodebo and Thomas Coville on his trimaran at Cape Horn. It was fascinating, we had a sunrise just behind Cape Horn, and see the silhouette of this mountain. And at the same moment just on the horizon behind us we see a little dot that catches up with us and we both go past Cape Horn at the same moment, just 20 minutes from each other. And then you see this guy, Thomas Coville, running on the trampoline to us, saying hello. And he’s screaming with his arms in the air, you can really feel his energy and his power. I thought: that’s the king of the sea, doing a fantastic job.?
You had some negative moments – the keel breakage and when Estrella Damm passed you and there was no more battle than just getting home – how do you keep positive?
Ryan: “When we had our keel trouble our first thought was immediately: our race is over right now, and that was something that we were not really prepared for or were not really interested in! The fact that we were able to get it back to the point where it functions at 75 per cent or something like that is not a miracle but definitely very lucky.
“That gave us motivation just to keep going and see how we could do after that. The goal of this was to get around the world non-stop. Especially it being our first time and not being on the newest boat in the fleet, the goal was never that we were going to win, we just wanted to do as well as we possibly could and make our sponsors proud, make our friends and family proud. And that’s the over-riding thing, do have done this race to the highest level that we were capable of doing it. Not to have left anything on the field of battle, so to speak, and just to make sure that when we got here to Barcelona that we knew we’d done the best we could and everyone else that knows us knew we did the best we could. We’d never given up, we’d never had just let things go.
“Yeah, it’s difficult, especially when we started going upwind. We went upwind for, I don’t know how long, 18 days or something from the Equator, and when you’re missing the last 25 per cent of the keel it’s like having a 50ft boat against a 60ft boat. But we just did the best we could. That’s the only philosophy you can have in a race like this; 1, make sure you finish, 2, do the best you can.?
Tell us about your relationship, what were the most testing times for you?
Boris: “That’s not so easy to answer. As you say, we are mates, we became good friends. There’s an old saying that if you sail with someone on a boat, you either become good friends or you never want to see each other. Of course in 100 days there are days which are more tough or more tension, it’s just normal, and some really good days when you have fun together and we had a lot of fun together.
“I don’t know if we’ll have the opportunity to sail together again, but I would say if it’s possible I would look forward to it.? [Ryan nods]
Ryan, you’ve just gone around the world non-stop in 100 days, how does it feel?
Ryan: “Well, other than the day I met my wife this has been the biggest day of my life thus far. I have to say that 100 days is an awfully long time. The only other thing I think in normal human experience that takes longer than sailing around the world is a woman being pregnant, and that’s three times longer so I can imagine most women have a better idea of long drawn out things!
“But it’s been a very interesting experience. I think that I’ve learnt a lot about myself. Going back to the question of how we’ve got along, I’ve definitely learnt about myself in so far as how I deal with Boris in this small situation, and I think that’s very valuable. And just the way I’ve had plenty of time to think about life and think about other things. It’s a competition but it’s also an experience in other ways. It’s been super-valuable for me I think in terms of my personal growth. If it wasn’t such a pain in the ass I’d recommend it to everyone!?
British yachtswoman Dee Caffari and Spanish co skipper, Ann Corbella, are pushing hard to reach Gibraltar and the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea by Saturday evening. The GAES girls are hoping for relatively straight line sailing to the last milestone in the Barcelona World Race before they begin tackling the fickle conditions of the Mediterranean on their approach to the finish line.
Commenting on this last stretch of the race, Caffari said:
“After Gibraltar, all that stands between us and Barcelona is the tricky Mediterranean. It will provide complex and changeable weather and we will most likely experience downwind conditions, then becalmed, then upwind sailing. We will certainly be working hard for the final miles but with the promise of Diet Coke and pizza at the finish, we will be pushing hard!”
The only all female duo are approximately four days from the finish line and setting two new world records.
Caffari will shortly complete her third race around the globe and, on successful completion, will become the only woman to have sailed around the planet three times non-stop – more times than any other woman in history. Catalan sailor, Corbella, will also claim her own world record as the first Spanish woman to circumnavigate the globe non-stop.
At the 0900hrs ranking, Caffari and Corbella maintain their 6th place position in the Barcelona World Race. Virbac-Paprec 3 and Mapfre have finished the race in first and second place respectively, with Renault Z.E. expected to claim the final place on the podium later today.
Aviva has been a longstanding supporter of Dee Caffari and her inspirational record breaking sailing achievements, assisting her to three world records including becoming the first woman to sail solo, non stop, around the world in both directions. As Founding Partner of Caffari’s sailing campaign, Aviva is pleased to extend this support to Corbella and GAES for the Barcelona World Race.