Krys Ocean Race - Fleet welcomed in Tonnerres de Brest

Krys Ocean Race 2012
© Benoit Stichelbault / MOD S.A.
The 2012 Krys Ocean Race MOD70 fleet were saluted by sailors aboard nearly every conceivable sort of floating craft after having completed a lightning fast crossing of the Atlantic. They received a rousing welcome as they docked this afternoon in the very centre of the massive Tonnerres de Brest maritime festival.

Yann Guichard’s winning team on Spindrift racing lead the finishers, as they speared spectacularly down the Rade de Brest, at more than 25 knots hulls flying, to give the huge armada a front row view of these exciting ocean racing multihulls, before taking the applause of the big crowds which lined the pierheads as they docked by the Krys Ocean Race village.

As the latest and most exciting concept in ocean racing, the MOD70’s, and their world renowned crews which had traversed the Atlantic in under five days could not represent more of a contrast with the traditional boats, and their respective sailors, which flocked out of the harbour to cheer them in.

From local brightly coloured Breton fishing smacks, Dutch sailing barges, tiny brown sailed traditional dinghies bobbing among the confused wakes in the harbour, restored historic lifeboats, to three masted tall ships from around the world, the warmth of the welcome offered to the Krys Ocean Race teams reflected a unity of respect and admiration for fellow mariners.

Yann Guichard, winning his first ocean race as skipper, paid tribute to his own team, citing a special feeling and mood on board Spindrift racing during the crucial second night of the race when they had to push hardest to leverage their lead.

'The wind increased all the time, that night was just fantastic for us,' said Guichard, 'The feeling and spirit on board that night was just very special. All the helmsmen that night did such a good job.'

And he revealed that it was only early today that he learned how high their 24-hour record for the MOD70’s is: '711 miles is incredible, we only discovered that this morning, but it is cool. It was amazing at that time, averaging 30kts all the time.'

Michel Desjoyeaux, finishing third on Foncia praised the winners for their drive and for benefiting from a strategic risk which he said he felt that his Foncia team were not prepared to take at the time: 'We saw him just in front of us, but the problem was we were very close to the strong wind side of the cold front which we took all the way across the Atlantic. But the problem here is that if you go a little bit too much to the left side, then you lose the wind, stop the boat and then you have go far from the straight course to find the wind again. And so we did not want to take that risk,' explained Desjoyeaux, 'For sure it was our first Transatlantic race downwind and the first objective was to finish the race and not capsize. So if you do not want to take risks then you lose places. That is the game. But we were happy to finish three boats in less than two hours after five days racing after a very, very fast race.'

Stève Ravussin’s fifth placed Race for Water crew are expected to finish early Saturday morning, perhaps as the team most relieved to dock in Brest. After hitting a submerged container during the first night of the race, the crew have had ease off the pace and maintain a constant regime of pumping water from their boat every 40 minutes.

Yann Guichard, skipper Spindrift racing: 'I am a happy man for sure. This was a very difficult race to win, the conditions were not extreme but hard, all day and all night, so to win on my first time as skipper is great.'

Sébastien Josse, skipper Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: 'You just know that when you sail in a fast boat that you just have to forget about staying dry. In a Volvo 70 or Open 60, anything that goes faster than 20kts, you have to just forget staying dry. This is no worse than a Volvo 70…just the same: inside is wet, outside is a bit wetter, usually. It is part of the game.'

'Overall it is all a good sign for the boats competing together. The first 48 hours we broke the 700-mile barrier and that is good for the future. I don’t think it (the record) can go much higher than that, maybe 10 miles, because here we really did have the perfect conditions.'

Michel Desjoyeaux, skipper Foncia 'I think they (Spindrift racing) is a very good team and pushed the boat very hard downwind. You need to be very precise driving the boat and trimming the sails, we have to work hard. For sure it was our first Transatlantic race downwind and the first objective was to finish the race and not capsize. So if you do not want to take risks, you lose places. That is the game. But we were happy to finish three boats in less than two hours after five days racing after a very, very fast race.'

Sidney Gavignet, skipper Musandam-Oman Sail: 'We validated out learning. Our goal was to arrive here, we did that well but we really learned a little too, and we keep that to ourselves. I am pretty confident we can be in the game in the next race. But leading out of New York, we had some good luck, but it was delicious.'

Krys Ocean Race website