May 17, 2023
Canadians Ryan and Scott at the finish
Ahead of the start of the Canadian team’s first ever IMOCA Globe Series Race, founder and skipper Scott Shawyer set the main objective of finishing the race and joked about not being last.
On May 12 at 16:32:25, co-skippers of Canada Ocean Racing Shawyer and Barkey crossed the finish line in Brest, France with an elapsed time of 5 days, 2 hours, 35 minutes and 25 seconds.
The double-handed Guyader Bermudes 1000 departs from Brest France to begin the 1200-mile Atlantic loop via the Fastnet at the southwestern tip of Ireland and a Gallimard Waypoint located northwest of Cape Finisterre.
In what is the start of the IMOCA Globe Series. Thirteen other IMOCA 60’s, four of which are from the same generation as Ocean Racing Canada’s non-foiling entry.
The course firstly took the pair to a virtual mark to the south of Brest. The light winds for this section of the race meant the Canadian flagged boat was up amongst the favourites, and for some time sitting in third position ahead of Jeremy Beyou, Charal, as well as many other new generation foiling yachts.
From that point onwards the game was to not concede the places without a fight, knowing the foiling boats would be much faster on the proceeding legs of the race. Shawyer was willing to work hard to stay in touch with the newer generation boats.
“To be in the leading pack round the first mark felt great. But that signalled the start of some gruelling hours of sail trimming, navigating and making tactical decisions to take us to the next mark of the course, the Fastnet. To be short-tacking up the Irish coastline with Alan Roura on Hublot clearly showed we did something right.”
Note the missing daggerboard
Unfortunately for the team, shortly after rounding the Fastnet rock, their starboard daggerboard was sheared off at the water level. After removing the remaining section of the board and initial safety checks the pair began discussing with their technical team the best steps forward. Having confirmed with the team’s naval architect that the structure was sound, and with an agreed schedule for checking for further issues, the pair refocused on the race at hand.
Now heading south once again, the Canadians found themselves in 2nd place in the daggerboard boats hunting down Benjamin Ferré and Pierre Le Roy, Monnoyeur – Duo for a job, as well as being hunted themselves by Fives Group – Lantana Environnement, thus ensuring a great day and half of racing as the three daggerboard boats fought for every mile. However, due to a hydroelectric generator issue, Fives Group – Lantana Environnement were forced to retire. Couple this with the two other retirements further down the fleet from Freelance.com after breaking their bowsprit, and HUMAN Immobilier who were experiencing water ingress from the starboard rudder, leaving Scott and Ryan with only one focus of catching Ferré and Le Roy on Monnoyeur.
With the tricky weather systems at play in the North Atlantic the teams were forced north once again towards the Fastnet rock before making the long tack towards the most westerly mark of the course. All the while the pair were working hard to make up miles and slowly chipping away at catching Monnoyeur. But with a missing daggerboard and 30 miles to make up on an experienced team such as Ferré and Le Roy, it was not to be.
After crossing the line this evening in Brest proudly waving their country’s flag, co-skipper Barkey commented, “What a challenging race! For only 5 days it felt like we had everything thrown at us. I’m very happy with our performance, we hit our goals and showed that we can be up at the front of the pack, so for me personally, and as a team this is a great achievement to get to here.”