Kiwi Conrad Colman will sail the Barcelona World Race with Nandor Fa on Spirit of Hungary

He had planned to sail in the upcoming 2014/15 Barcelona World Race - the two handed race around the world - alongside friend and co-skipper Nandor Fa, but Hungarian sailor Marcell Goszleth has taken a brave but pragmatic decision to step aside. Nandor Fa will now sail with French-based New Zealander Conrad Colman, the winner of the 2011-12 Global Ocean Race. 

News NOV 13, 2014 18:14

The preparation and training time which had been set aside by the two Hungarian sailors has now been severely curtailed by a long period of additional work to the newly launched IMOCA 60.

As that refit period extended Goszleth came to believe that Fa’s ambitions would be better served by a more experienced co-skipper.

Given the short, ambitious lead-in time, ex Olympic dinghy sailor Goszleth personally considered that a different co-skipper, one with a broader skillset than his own very limited deep ocean racing experience and who perhaps already had at least one racing circumnavigation under his belt, would render the Hungarian flagged team much more competitive.

Goszleth explains: “The team involved in the refit did such a great job. Over these last months they put huge amount of working hours into the boat. However it has taken longer than we expected. And that took away valuable time from our on water training. I missed that. That is the reason for my withdrawal. Having Conrad on board adds a lot of short-handed experience to the team. I am sure they will make up a strong duo with Nandor on the race."

Fa recalls:
“To be honest I was annoyed when Marcell came to me because it is late in the day, but I could immediately see he was serious and had been thinking about it for a time. It is a big decision not to carry on with a friend and co-skipper like Marcell, but I could see his decision was entirely about what is best for Spirit of Hungary in the Barcelona World Race and I respect his choice. He has put his own personal ambitions on ice just now for the good of the team. He will carry on helping us in every way he can and remains a key member of our team.”

Fa, who is one of the international pioneers of the IMOCA Class and who designed Spirit of Hungary himself, made one phone call to find a replacement co-skipper. He received an immediate ‘yes’ from Colman who is based in Lorient, France.

The Kiwi, like Fa, has ambitions to push forward with his own solo IMOCA 60 programme.

By chance Colman and the Fa family met for the first time when they sat together at a social reception in New York, immediately before the start of the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race. Fa and Colman got on like the proverbial house on fire, sharing common goals and outlooks and so his was the first number the renowned Hungarian called.

“Of course when I sat with Nandor in New York I never thought this might happen. I have wanted to do the Barcelona World Race for many years. In fact I had many conversations in Barcelona and looked to do it with my own programme so I am so happy and excited that this has come about.” Conrad Colman smiles.

Colman, 30, who holds US and NZ passports, won four of the five legs en route to overall victory in the 2011-2012 Global Ocean Race around the world. He sailed with different skippers on each leg. Since that success he has been looking to find funding to launch his own IMOCA 60 campaign.

In fact he had gone to New York to see potential partners and enjoy meeting members of the IMOCA class and administrators. When he listened at dinner and heard of Fa’s battle to be ready for the start of the race Colman immediately offered his help for free.

As well as the Global Ocean Race on the Class 40, Colman has built many miles on IMOCA 60s including a recent Transatlantic. He currently works as a preparateur with Bertrand de Broc’s Votre Nom Autour du Monde. He is a rigger and sailmaker by profession, recently working on the sail loft floor at North France to build the Volvo Ocean 65 sails.

“I am very used to getting on board a boat and helping to create a winning team. And on the Global Ocean Race we won four of the five legs so I feel I have the experience. I have a huge amount of respect for Nandor and am just delighted to be going sailing with someone who is a true trailblazer for international solo ocean racing.”

The duo share four circumnavigations between them but still have their work cut out. Spirit of Hungary should be trucked to Trieste for launching this weekend before starting final sea trials.