“ The sailors presented just two days ago as the world’s finest ocean racers, clutching their loved ones close, with some reduced to tears”
It was an emotional time on the docks this morning, as 25 skippers said goodbye to their friends, family and teams and made their way through Sutton Harbour lock one final time.
The multihull was the first fleet to leave the pontoons in Plymouth, loved ones and well wishers scrambling across trampolines for that one final hug.
The 10 boat Class40 fleet was the last to leave the Plymouth docks. More like a family that a fleet of competitors, the skippers went boat to boat wishing one another ‘bon chance and bon vent’– their supporters here in Plymouth busily preparing their boats ready for the off.
It was a touching and private moment for the Race Village crowds to bare witness to - the sailors presented to them just two days ago as the world’s finest ocean racers, clutching their loved ones close, with some reduced to tears. After months of planning and talking about the race, today the competitors come face to face with it - 3,050nm of tough solo upwind ocean racing.
The atmosphere throughout the Race Village was one of anticipation and a deep respect for the brave men and women about to take on the historic race to New York.
Over the past week, the locals and visitors to the city have warmly embraced both the race and the fleet. This morning they lined Plymouth waterfront, cheering the sailors out of the harbour as they made their way, one by one, into Plymouth Sound ahead of the race start.
Despite the grey and drizzly weather plaguing the Race Village today, rows of umbrellas can be seen lining Plymouth Hoe, the city determined to see the sailors on their way to New York.
With a full fleet of 25 boats now out on the start line, the rain and wind are easing off and Race Direction is promising sun by the time the Ultimes reach Eddystone Lighthouse this afternoon.
You can track the race here: http://preprod-player.georacing.com/?server=Prod&event=100297&race=92841&name=The+Transat+Bakerly