Prologue Race from Newport to New York. Image copyright Ocean Masters.
by Leslie Greenhalgh
After a great stop-over in Newport, where the teams have been able to carry out all the final preparations after their transatlantic crossings from Europe, the competitors of the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona race head for New York tomorrow at around 1500 hrs local time, for a prologue that could face some tricky weather conditions.
« The fleet will start in front of the Fort Adam coastal fortification, with a short course around the Bay of Newport and around two race marks before they leave Long Island to starboard and head directly for New York to reach the finish line just in front of North Cove Marina, in Downtown Manhattan. » explains Jacques Caraes this morning, the Race Director together with Guillaume Evrard. The boats will remain in this marina on display until the start of the transatlantic race on 1st June.
The course of 155 miles will be raced in a wind that looks like it will drop fairly quickly after the start, possibly to the point of disappearing altogether in the heart of the night.
"I think the beginning of the Prologue Race will be the most interesting part, since the competitors should be able to get out of Newport with a favorable current and a decent breeze but that will disappear during the night ….which means it could take them some time to reach the Verrezzano Bridge, " explaines Jacques Caraës.
Under the suspension bridge which links the boroughs of Brooklyn with Staten Island, the IMOCA 60s are expected by late morning to finish their course as they parade through the heart of New York. A vision that puts a smile on the face of Spaniard Guillermo Altadill , co- skipper of Neutrogena together with Chilean Jose Munoz .
"Entering New York by boat is always a great emotion. I have arrived here onboard of all kinds of racing boats . It is a city with a long maritime history, a strong story that runs from the very first
explorations by sea through to race record attempts and the arrivals and departures of big races ... and the Statue of Liberty that greets skippers as they pass it is a beautiful symbol ! " .
For Morgan Lagravière, (whose 27th birthday is today!) and who happily just completed his first transatlantic when delivering Safran from Lorient to Newport, the prologue promises to be another opportunity to review in more detail the operation of an IMOCA 60 but also to continue to have fun before the start of the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race.
"I view this as a nice prologue race from the human perspective first because we are going to be quite a few people on board , including my big brother who have comehere specially from Canada where he lives ... but that will not prevent us from trying go faster than the others! And then we have the chance to enjoy again the beautiful environment that surrounds us. I was very taken by Newport ... but I'm also looking forward to enter New York City by sea."
Hugo Boss, which is still waiting for a delivery from Sri Lanka, that is currently stuck in Abu Dhabi, is due to re-step their mast late afternoon tomorrow, and then hopes to test sail the next day and then rush to New York for the start of the big race on 1st June.
Hungarians Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth (Spirit of Hungary) are continuing their voyage across the Atlantic and making good progress and they are expected in New York on May 29th.