Ocean Masters: Hugo Boss, Ribes, Breymaier win New York to Barcelona Race
Published on June 15th, 2014
(June 15, 2014) – Team Hugo Boss is the winner of the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona race. Co-Skippers Pepe Ribes (ESP) and Ryan Breymaier (USA) crossed the finish line at 20 hrs 54 mins and 30 secs local time in Barcelona. The crossing time was 14 days 2 hours 44 mms and 30 secs.
“Its great to get here, we managed to have just enough wind to get us across the line,” Breymaier said. “Definitely a sense of relief to finish. Neutrogena had been closing the gap all day; they have a quicker boat that us in the lighter conditions. The whole race was great, mostly excellent conditions for sure across the Atlantic; you can’t really say champagne sailing when you have to wear your waterproofs but it was a close as perfect for most of the way. The toughest time was the last 3 days; I always find the lighter airs the toughest. I have definitely missed my wife Nicola the most but other things I don’t miss – that is actually what I like about being at sea, no distractions, just a simple every day life.”
Last night the three IMOCA 60s were downwind until around 02:00 local time, but since then the wind veered into the northnortheast putting the boats on the wind.
Overnight the bubble burst following Saturday’s soaring temperatures in Barcelona. This resulted in some thunderstorms and torrential downpours. It is these conditions too that the boats out on the race course saw as they passed some 50 miles west of Majorca this morning.
On the water Hugo Boss found the better conditions first yesterday afternoon but second placed Team Neutrogena had done a good job keeping up, despite skipper Guillermo Altadill attempting to mix it up by taking a track to the east of Hugo Boss’ overnight.
Behind GAES has not been enjoying the improved conditions of the leaders. It remains very light for her and has been losing ground. Her ETA into Barcelona is now late on Monday.
Commenting on the race, Ribes admitted that it did not all come easy. “It has been hard work, because we have been fixing a lot of things, rather than just racing. The less time you have to race, the more stressful it is.”
Breymaier agreed: “When you push a machine, the machine doesn’t always like it. We didn’t have any major problems, there wasn’t a lot that stopped us – some computer system problems and we destroyed the scoop for the water ballast system, which affected our speed.”
And the drama occurred from start until the finish. One of the most heart stopping moments came on Hugo Boss’ final day at sea, as she was approaching Barcelona, when they got struck down, literally, by a monster gust of wind.
As Ribes described it: “Today was the first time that I have seen the mast under water on an IMOCA 60! There came a puff which we thought was just rain. But it wasn’t, it was 50 knots and the boat was full ballast and full keel canted and it just crash tacked. The mast was underwater for three minutes. At that moment we were charging the batteries. The engine started to burn. We might have been dead still with no engine and no battery, nothing, so we were very lucky.”
And that was just one of their bad days.
Equally hard were the severe conditions they experienced blasting their way through the Strait of Gibraltar. “The Strait is always difficult, because you have to make a huge effort for 10 miles and you know that on the other side there’s only 10 knots,” Ribes continued. “This boat in 45 knots is difficult to tack, it is difficult to manage and you come from 13 days when you’ve already had the pressure on and you are very tired. Then you have another day when you cannot sleep for a whole day.”
Hugo Boss picked up the winner’s baton after Safran was forced to retire when her skipper Marc Guillemot was injured on the approach to the Strait.
“They sailed brilliantly across the Atlantic,” Ribes admitted of his wily French opponent. “I don’t know what weather information they were getting, but they went into places that for me would have been impossible to go into. It is a shame Marc hurt himself because they were doing so well. But we were ready for the fight as well.”
Breymaier agreed pointing out that Guillemot has spent the last eight years sailing Safran while he and Ribes had only spent two weeks sailing on board and never before on their own prior to the start of the race in New York. And this was after all the work they had put into getting their boat to the start line after her dismasted en route to the USA. Given all this, Breymaier said, they would have been very pleased with their result even if they had finished second.
Additionally for the last 10 days Hugo Boss has had Guillermo Altadill and José Muñoz aboard Team Neutrogena breathing down their neck. However Ribes said that they had ignored them. “I didn’t look behind to see what he was doing. I said to Ryan ‘we can win it, but if Guillermo goes to the right we cannot go to the right, we need to stick to our plan as we did until here. So we weren’t covering him.”
For Breymaier the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race has been another stepping stone towards his own American IMOCA campaign with the goal of competing in the Ocean Masters World Championship and the 2016 Vendee Globe.
“The Ocean Masters is great. This has been a very well run event. This event is definitely a step in the right direction. The more times that the IMOCA class goes to places like New York City, the more interest there’ll be, the bigger it will get and it will attract better sponsors who will come to all the events and will make a real circuit out of it.”
As Breymaier was enjoying being reunited with his wife Nicola and their family, while the same was true of Ribes. “What do I want to do tomorrow? I want to take my son Pepe Junior to school in the morning.” To which he received another round of applause.
Content by event media.
Background: The 3720 mile IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race is a new doublehanded race for the Open 60 class. Five teams started from New York on June 1.