Actual in less than 24 hours in New York

Actual in less than 24 hours in New York

05 July 2017

While the first three ultimate Macif (François Gabart), IDEC SPORT (Francis Joyon) and Sodebo Ultim' (Thomas Coville) are moored in Brooklyn, their crews recovering and "Redoing the match" after eight days of intense racing, Actual (Yves Le Blevec) is behind schedule, and is currently 240 miles from the finish line on July 5th at 4am UTC (6am in France).

The crew will need to be patient for another extra day, before crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, bearing the name of the sailor who we do not know if he was born in Florence or in Lyon, and who discovered the New York Bay in 1524, and naming it "New Angoulême" in tribute to the King François 1St who commissioned him on this exploration journey.

The ultimate trimarans carry more than 500 square meters of downwind sail, but when the wind remains light under the influence of the huge anticyclone which extends in the East of New York, the averages can quickly drop. This Tuesday, on July 4th, Actual made the bitter experience of not travelling more than 200 miles in 24 hours, when these boats can sail more than 600 miles in favorable conditions.

On Wednesday at 3: 00 UTC, the British Samantha Davies, in charge of navigation on the gray and red trimaran and also the only woman of the race, explained that for several days, she has spent a lot of time in front of the computer at the card table, exploring all weather records and forecasts she has, from the FGS (European weather model) to the CPS (US model). Sailing on the orthodromic, Actual is now on the direct route going towards New York, travelling in a Northeastern light breeze.

The Irens-Cabaret plan, launched exactly 10 years ago, could not really compete with the latest multihulls in terms of pure performance, and has been sailing for several days in a not-so-kind weather. This does not stop Yves Le Blevec, Samantha Davies, Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant, Davy Beaudart and Stanislas Thuret to enjoy the last hours of sea, where the atmosphere on board seems rather fun. If Actual manages to hold an average of 10 knots, they will cross the finish line in the middle of the night next Thursday, on July 6th.

Sam Davis (Actual) : « We were just putting the 'gennak' and it is pretty good." We did not wake the skipper... who gained an hour of sleep. The wind came a little earlier than expected, and we're moving faster than we thought we would. Currently, there are currently 8 knots of Northeastern wind. Earlier, we were in complete fog, and we could barely see the bow, and now you can see the stars as well as the freighters.
Weather forecasts are a bit complicated. We're in a transition phase, and I think it is very warm ashore (30° in NYC on Tuesday; ed.). We looked at several weather forecasts as well as analyses of the situations on American sites. I think we got out of the Gulf Stream current’s impacts. Meteorologists on the ground are quite pessimistic about the light wind coming. I think that in less than 24 hours, we will be on the finish line. That is what we are aiming for. I looked a bit into all the models and there are files which are more adapted to local conditions. So far, I mainly worked with the European model, but with landing, I mostly use the American model. And as I look into a bit of everything, it is difficult to have a precise ETA, because they are not all agreeing with each other.
We are speaking a bit English in view of the arrival. Some people are motivated, others less. We're slightly revising the vocabulary (laughs). But it's going to come back very fast tomorrow when we'll see land. Everything is going well on board, but it's always a little difficult psychologically when boats already crossed the finish line. But the atmosphere is always good, and we're motivated to get there as quickly as possible. Today we enjoyed the amazing calm weather and warm sea to take a shower and rest a little. »