U.S sailor Ryan Breymaier and Spanish co-skipper Pepe Ribes won the doublehanded IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona race, completing the transatlantic course in 14 days 2 hours and 44 minutes aboard the Open 60 monohull Hugo Boss.
In doing so, the duo beat out second-place finisher Neutrogena, crewed by Spanish sailor Guillermo Altadil and Chilean sailor Jose Munoz by a mere four hours, after battling them the entire way across the Atlantic.
For much of the race, both teams trailed French veterans Marc Guillemot and Morgan Lagravière aboard Safran, and there seemed little hope of catching up. But then Guillemot was injured in a gale just 60 miles west of the Straits of Gibraltar, which forced his team to withdraw.
“It has been hard work, because we have been fixing a lot of things, rather than just racing,” Ribes said afterward. “The less time you have to race, the more stressful it is.”
Breymaier, who was filling in for Ribes’ regular teammate, English sailor Alex Thomson, agreed. “When you push a machine, the machine doesn’t always like it,” he said. “We didn’t have any major problems, there wasn’t a lot that stopped us, but there were still some computer system problems and we destroyed the scoop for the water ballast system, which affected our speed.”
According to Ribes, the pair also had a tough time going through the Straits of Gibraltar battling the same weather system that injured Guillemot.
“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 of wind,” Ribes said. “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.”
The New York to Barcelona race was the first event of the new Ocean Masters World Championship, a multi-regatta Open 60 series featuring around 30 teams competing in such famous races as the Fastnet and Barcelona World Race.
For Breymaier, who finished fifth in 2010-11 Barcelona World Race, the NYC-Barcelona win was especially fortuitous as it will undoubtedly provide a much-needed boost to his goal of competing in the 2016 Vendée Globe.