Arriving ‘Home’ – The Team Lands in Newport

It took longer than expected (and the stash of M&Ms was running dangerously low …) but after thirteen days at sea the delivery crew brought our IMOCA 60 to Newport, RI last Friday after a successful Atlantic crossing from Concarneau, France. It’s great to be back in the USA, and in the hometown of our sponsor 11th Hour Ocean Racing.

Mother Nature threw everything at the team as they sailed across the north Atlantic. Charlie gave a download on the hammering they took at times during the crossing:

“That was a reminder of what crewed life is like onboard an IMOCA 60! Going from east to west in the Northern Atlantic at this time of year is like watching a parade, but walking against it. Everything comes at you pretty fast, you experience twice as much weather than if you were going in the other direction, with a series of fronts and ridges from 0-35 knots [0-45 mph] and constantly sailing shifts upwind. It was really uncomfortable at times due to the wind conditions and sailing at very tight angles: we will need to figure out how to make the liveability onboard comfortable for extended periods of time with six crew.”

The crossing gave us the chance to test the new foil we had fitted the week before leaving France. Where possible the crew optimized the time they had on port tack to experience how the boat differs from its previous incarnation alongside various sail configurations. Thanks to the extended trip there was plenty of time to experiment with set-ups onboard and the shore crew will now pour over the data and begin the process of planning the next bouts of training we’ll have in Narragansett Bay over the coming weeks and months.

The team contributed to two onboard scientific experiments during this crossing. Onboard we have a water sampling device called an OceanPack, which samples seawater to measure CO2 levels, sea surface temperature and salinity. All the data is sent back to The Ocean Race headquarters in Alicante for the different scientific projects the Race is working on.

And while passing over the Newfoundland Grand Banks we deployed an NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather drifter buoy. The data will be used for the Atlantic and European weather models used by mariners, and informs scientists on the effects of climate change on ocean health, measuring sea surface temperature and barometric pressure.

To read more about the crossing check out our onboard reporter, Amory Ross’ blogs about how he felt he had done ten rounds with Mohammed Ali in the first few days and the experience of encountering this Ocean Sunfish, aka Mola Mola: ‘a modern day dinosaur’ was how Amory described it.

Next up:

The sailors are taking time for some much-needed R+R before reconvening next month to kick off the sailing program out of Narragansett Bay. It’s going to be a busy fall for the team as we look forward to meeting with 11th Hour Racing grantees and participating in The Ocean Race Summit – Newport on September 16th.

We’ll be back out training from Fort Adams shortly – look forward to seeing some of you out on the water!