At 1400 hrs BST today under Bank Holiday heavy rain and overcast skies, HELLOMOTO took pole position amongst the 15 strong fleet of Open 60 monohulls at start of the 2,800 mile Transat race. With 2 reefs in the mainsail and staysail set in a gusty 22 knot south westerly, skipper Conrad Humphreys drove HELLOMOTO upwind through the 4 metre swell to cross at the pin end of the line ahead of all his rivals in a fighting manoeuvre to win the start.
Conrad remained in the top 5 of the pack as they headed out towards Eddystone Lighthouse 9 miles offshore, however, moments later the Race Organisation declared that HELLOMOTO was one of 5 Open 60’s which were in fact declared over the line (OCS) at the start. Along with Skandia (Moloney), Pro-Form (Thiercelin), UUDS (Laurent) and PRB (Riou), HELLOMOTO incurred a 20 minute penalty and had to remain stationary for this penalty time in a ‘box’ area off the Lighthouse. It was Mike Golding in Ecover who rounded the Eddystone first, followed closely by Mike Sanderson on Pindar.
Talking just after the start at 1545 hrs GMT, Conrad was frustrated but still really positive. “I thought I might have been early but PRB & Pro-From were on the pace so I hauled in the sails to get up speed for the line. I must have been a fraction over as I thought it looked okay on the line. It’s all very well being a glory boy for one second but this OCE cost me more than 20 minutes as the wind shifted an hour after the start and so the boats up front got a jump down the course. The wind has veered to the West, we’re hard on the wind towards Falmouth and I’ll tack soon to lay The Lizard, which is 25m away.”
Conrad will now be heading upwind in increasingly heavier squalls and big seas to a waypoint position approximately 5 miles off The Lizard before heading out into the North Atlantic. Conrad expects a very tactical 72 hours of racing after the start with plenty of sail changes and is concentrating on staying awake in the busy shipping lanes and remaining on the right side of any wind shifts. The first day or two will be raced in classic Transat conditions and Conrad will be analysing closely the complex weather pattern which is forecast in order to plot the best route.
Positions at 1500 GMT
1 Pindar – 2721m DTF
2 Skandia – 0.9m behind leader
3 PRB – 1.4m behind leader
11 HELLOMOTO – 7 miles behind leader
HELLOMOTO positions will be posted on the new Race Console section launched from the homepage from tomorrow morning Tuesday 1st June.
This morning at Plymouth Yacht Haven, Conrad was in a very confident and relaxed mood, going around all the Open 60 boats to wish the other skippers a safe race and give them a miniature bottle of Plymouth Gin to sustain them on their voyage to Boston. At 1000 hrs sharp, he said his final farewells after completing last minute interviews with television crews, and slipped the docklines first of all the boats. Out on the water 150 boats watched the race start itself, and many were supporting our local skipper as he left his home port on his first solo Open 60 race.
“I am really looking forward to getting out there and racing, the last few months have been incredibly busy in preparing HELLOMOTO and myself for this race, and we’ve been successful in our mission to be on this start line ready and prepared. So thank you to everyone, especially my shore team, for all the hard work.”
WEATHER POINT – see The Transat web site for more details
The south west to westerly winds this afternoon and overnight will create difficult and slow progress upwind for their first night at sea. Wind speeds of up to 18 to 24 knots are expected ahead of the rain, although they should ease off to between 12 and 16 knots as the wind veers to the south west in the afternoon. The good news is that winds shall continue to veer overnight, as a ridge of high pressure builds behind the front and pushes the low to the east of the UK. West to north westerly winds of 14 to 20 knots can be expected by the early hours of Tuesday morning. The boats shall use the WNW wind to make ground to the west, to reach the south westerly winds on the western side of the ridge.
Mail (will not be published) (required)