HELLOMOTO said goodbye to Boston this morning as skipper Conrad Humphreys and two of the Motorola Ocean Racing shore team, Tony Reid and Olly Smith, slipped the docklines at Rowes Wharf to set out for the delivery trip back to Europe. The return crossing should take about 10 days, shorter than the way over primarily because the weather systems flow from West to East across the North Atlantic, and so the winds will be following the boat.
Conrad’s meteorologist, American Lee Bruce, gave his initial forecast for the trip: “They’ll start off with a south westerly breeze at 20 knots, really good winds to get them offshore quickly, but then they’ll need to dodge some thunderstorms coming over tomorrow. In three days’ time they will hit easterly winds, and will need to decide whether to tack North or South. There’s a large depression forming over the Atlantic right now, but this should stay far enough in their East, they’ll need to worry more about positioning themselves for the high pressure system they’ll encounter in 5 days’ time sitting at around 47.5 degrees North.”
For Conrad, this is another invaluable opportunity to spend more time getting to know HELLOMOTO in preparation for the Vendée Globe single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation: “Our objective is to drive the boat really hard downwind given the favourable forecast, but I’ll be doing this very much in solo mode, as the shore team are there just to give me a break every now and again. I need as much practice pushing HELLOMOTO off the breeze by myself as I can, because these are the kind of conditions I will encounter the most during the Vendée Globe itself. We’ll also be running tests on a new ‘remote vision’ wireless autopilot from B&G, and putting the downwind sails through their paces, the new Code 5 especially, after the ideas and experience I’ve had from The Transat on the different sail configurations.”
The plan is for HELLOMOTO to make a pit-stop in Plymouth at the beginning of July so that Conrad’s supporters and local partners will have a chance to give him a homecoming celebration. However, the shore team has already switched to Vendée mode as HELLOMOTO is going straight to the V1D2 boatyard in Caen, Northern France, for a two month summer refit. They must check the boat thoroughly for wear & tear, and then ensure that every part and fitting onboard is properly serviced so that it will last throughout the 3 month non-stop circumnavigation.
The Motorola Ocean Racing Team has had a busy time during Boston Race Week since Conrad’s arrival just over 8 days ago in 5th place of the IMOCA 60 class in The Transat. Motorola held a reception at the Boston Harbor Hotel for their employees last Thursday evening, at which Conrad spoke about his experiences fresh from the race and showed slides of onboard photographs. They all went on a boat tour and then loudly supported Conrad at The Transat Prize Giving afterwards when he went up for his 5th place trophy. Conrad and his team also hosted several boat tours and two sail opportunities for Motorola, the second one to Marblehead, where all the race teams were then entertained at the Corinthian Yacht Club.
Conrad signed off with his final message of thanks before leaving: “On behalf of the whole team, I want to thank everyone we met at Motorola over here in Boston for their enthusiasm for this project. It’s been a really successful week and it’s great to know you’ll be following HELLOMOTO’s progress in the Vendée Globe later this year.”
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