While the rest of The Ocean Race fleet in Newport were participating in pro-am speed trials in glamorous conditions on Wednesday afternoon, the cargo ship carrying Team Holcim-PRB glided past.
It was a welcome sight for skipper Kevin Escoffier who had last seen his boat when it was loaded on the same ship in Rio on May 3rd.
Now in Newport, the IMOCA was launched before sunset and the Holcim-PRB team got to work.
In the morning, the new mast was stepped and the boat was delivered to its slip at Ocean Live Park.
“The arrival of the boat in Newport is the second biggest step after the arrival of the mast. But it’s far from over. We’ll have to adjust the sails, the rigging, all the bits and pieces,” Escoffier said. “But having the boat here, on time and even a little bit early, is a hugely positive point.”
For Loïc Féquet, technical director, being able to look ahead to the next stage of the race is a great success, and a massive collective achievement: “The whole team has been mobilised since the dismasting, really everyone! We had to get organized very quickly to deal with this mishap. We had to make a lot of decisions in a few days. We made it! We are not yet at the start of the leg but there is a good chance that we will be there.”
Joined in Newport a few days ago by his teammates Abby Ehler, Sam Goodchild and Charles Caudrelier, skipper Kevin Escoffier is looking forward to returning the team to ‘race mode’ ahead of the all-important transatlantic leg.
“It was not easy to stay in the race. It wasn’t easy to stay focused on performance until today,” Escoffier said. “The best way to do that is to get back into the routine: sports sessions with the crew, weather briefings, etc. You have to get back into the race.”
Escoffier has assembled a very strong and experienced team for this next leg, which pays double points at the finish in Aarhus, Denmark, including the reigning winning skipper of The Ocean Race, Charles Caudrelier, who is listed as navigator on the crew list, but will surely be much more during the next two weeks.
Escoffier paid tribute to his wider team for their ‘never give up’ mentality: “I particularly like The Ocean Race because it is a race where team spirit is very strong. At sea of course but also on land. Our technicians have all reacted in an extremely positive way after the dismasting with the only wish that we be at the start this Sunday. Every mile we sail to Aarhus will be to thank them and make them proud of this collective adventure. Without them, we could not hope to continue the race in the best possible conditions. And I really want to thank everyone for the energy invested.”
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