Ready to race: skippers bid farewell
As ever emotions ran high as the eight IMOCA 60s left the dock, one after the other, heading for the 13000hrs start of the 23,000 miles Barcelona World Race. There was scarcely enough wind to lift the flags but the warm morning sunshine offered an idyllic setting as the crowds build under the watchful eye of the Christopher Columbus statue.
Bubbly and openly nervous round the world rookie Jorg Riechers of Germany and his quiet, focused French co-skipper Seb Audigane were first to leave on Renault Captur, followed by by Spirit of Hungary (Nandor Fa, Conrad Colman). Fa looked relieved but determined saying goodbye to his family earlier after a normal breakfast in his hotel.
Spanish duo One Planet One Ocean Pharmaton (Aleix Gelabert, Didac Costa) were next, waving to the growing crowd, whilst the Garcia brothers stood shoulder on the deck and they bid farewell to their supporters on We Are Water. Neutrogena (Guillermo Altadill (ESP) and Jose Munoz (CHI)) lead the dock out from the north side of the pontoon, both looking cool and ready.
Stealing the show was Alex Thomson (GBR) and his four year old son Oscar who shouted to each other until Hugo Boss was out of sight. The biggest cheer was for Anna Corbella, though, the first Spanish woman to sail around the world as she set off on GAES Centros Auditivos with Gerard Marín (ESP), while Jean Le Cam on Cheminées Poujoulat had his normally substantial hairstyle cropped back to the ‘wood’ as he docked out with co-skipper Bernard Stamm (SUI).
Reigning champion Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) was on the dock to bid the skippers farewell. Also on the dock :
From the Marie and FNOB president Maite Fandos
President Barcelona International Boat Show Luis Conde
President IMOCA, Jean Kehroas
President Spanish Sailing Federation José Ángel Rodríguez
Race Director Barcelona World Race, Jacques Caraës
Directora médica, Belén Gualis
If they can start fast and get to the NE’ly breeze the leaders can make it through the Balearics in the last of the NE’ly but the wind is shifting east and getting light from the east and so if they are slower it is better to stay rhumb line or west in the NE’ly. If you make it down in the NE’ly it is better to stay on the Gibraltar side if they are in the east then going to the Algerian and Moroccan coast where there is more current. For sure it is a rich get richer scenario.