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20 August 2007, 03:14 am
PRB Wins Barcelona World Race Prologue
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PRB in action

Barcelona World Race 2007-08

The 2007 Rolex Fastnet Race that also doubled up as the official prologue to the non-stop, two-handed Barcelona World Race, proved to be a tough proposition for the duos onboard their IMOCA 60-foot monohulls.
It was the French pairing of Vincent RIOU (winner of the solo 2004 Vendée Globe) and Seb JOSSE (skipper of ABN AMRO TWO) who dominated the 608-mile race to bring PRB across the line first in a time of 2 days, 2 hours, 17 minutes and 44 seconds, compounding their position as race favourites for the two-handed, non-stop Barcelona World Race that starts on 11 November.

RIOU commented, 'We are so happy to have finished! It was a very technical and physical race. You really had to be fit I can tell you! Jojo [Seb JOSSE] and I have been working really hard in the past 24 hours. We spent the whole of the first night at sea, doing manoeuvres - just like the Monday afternoon actually, during which we tacked 12 times, going from main sail and staysail to two reefs and storm jib. As you can imagine on Tuesday morning, it was very quiet onboard PRB, we hardly said a word to each other! We were just looking at each other, exhausted! Last night, to reach the Fastnet, took only two tacks. Everything is okay on our boat, which as planned will go into a refit at the end of the week, in preparation for the Barcelona World Race.'

A total of 15 IMOCA 60s started the race - eight of them are entered to compete in the Barcelona World Race - but in these tough conditions not all finished, including the Spanish entries of Estrella Damm and Educacion sin Fronteras plus Roland JOURDAIN's (FRA) Veolia Environnement.

Strong southwesterly winds, often gale force, made it a challenging race but also made it a fast race. PRB has established a new record for the IMOCA 60 class beating the time set by Catherine CHABAUD on Whirlpool in 1999 by 3 hours, 1 minute and 16 seconds (to be ratified). Also, Alex THOMPSON and Andrew CAPE (GBR) onboard Hugo Boss who crossed the finish line off Plymouth at 14:48:01 UTC swiftly followed 4 minutes later by Jérémie BEYOU and Signey GAVIGNET (FRA) on Delta Dore at 14:52:07 have broken CHABAUD's record.

THOMSON said, 'This was my sixth Rolex Fastnet Race and the fastest yet. We had hardly sailed the new Hugo Boss before this race and she is better than we could have ever expected. She seems to be one of the fastest in the fleet which is really nice to know. The first tack Capey and I have ever done together as a duo was at the start of this race. We got on brilliantly which bodes well for the Barcelona World Race. We are chuffed to bits with the performance of the boat and we could not have asked for anymore.'

The 100-foo maxi ICAP Leopard claimed the Rolex Fastnet Race line honours and smashed the existing monohull record but the leading IMOCA 60s have also broken the previous monohull record set by RF Yachting in 1999. RF Yachting was 20-foot longer than the IMOCA 60s but changing technology coupled with the windy conditions combined to make this edition of the Fastnet a record setting race. For Swiss and French skippers, Dominique WAVRE and Michèle PARET, they bought Temenos 2 across the line at 15:35:11 UTC, 3 hours and 18 minutes after PRB. Spaniards Javier SANSO and Pachi RIVERO onboard Mutua Madrileña, completed the line-up crossing the line at 17:04:51 UTC in a time of 2 days, 7 hours and 4 minutes.

This 608-mile race was a short but intense period of time for these skippers who dealt with challenging and changeable conditions. With minimal sleep they finished cold, wet and tired having pushed as hard as they could to stay at the front, whilst trying not to break any race-ending equipment. If anything this prologue has been a 'snapshot' of the Barcelona World Race that will see nine teams racing 25,000 miles non-stop over three months across the planet's most hostile oceans.

OC Events (As Amended By ISAF)
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