Close-hauled rush

Close-hauled rush

02 July 2017

This Sunday, after a week of racing since the start under the Saint-Nazaire bridge, the arrival is near for Macif who strengthens its leadership. François Gabart and his five teammates could, except if a reversal or a major last-minute glitch occur, claim victory of this impressive Centennial Transatlantic race. Currently, they are 93 miles ahead of their immediate pursuers on board IDEC SPORT.

Look out for tunas, cetaceans and other big fishes!
Francis Joyon’s quintet, long threatened by Sodebo Ultim', strengthened his second position. They widened the gap with Thomas Coville and his crew who slowed down in the last few hours after hitting a marine animal, probably a tuna, damaging their starboard rudder. More fear than damage for the men of the third boat, who have now lost precious miles in the battle. Their maxi-multihull is currently sailing with a small handicap. But the goal remains intact: to confront the best level of ocean competition to other ultimate trimarans, for a regatta time between giants who keep their promises and allowing no respite across the Atlantic.

Now approaching the United States, everyone must be extra vigilant on ocean space where aquatic life proliferates. An area defined as 'environmental' was banned from navigation in the Southwest of Boston and was encouraged by the race’s Direction of the Centennial Transat. "I personally am pleased with this exclusion zone which concerns the whales reproduction reserve," gladly says Francis Joyon. "Yesterday, we were surrounded by many dolphins. We have not seen large cetaceans which is good. As our drift vibrates a bit, it allows to warn sleepy whales, located in between two waters on our route, of our arrival ..."

Macif on their way to winning... …
Reinforced conditions, obstacles, traps and pitfalls, life on board toughens for the 22 sailors racing virtually against Queen Mary 2, who has already crossed the ocean after 5 days 16 hours and 45 minutes, at full steam. 350 miles away from the Verrazano bridge, the ultimate trimarans are trying to make their way in the headwinds. "A low pressure zone is developing in the Northwest of the State of New York and the Great Lakes region. "Its presence further compresses the corridor in which rushes this hot air stream and could chill the Southwest winds around 25 knots during the day", explains Dominic Vittet, the race meteorologist. The sea is currently minced with a nasty chop of 1.5 meter therefore it should swell in the next few hours and make navigation a little more brittle. But nothing too complicated to manage for François Gabart’s crew, who begins to smell the scent of victory. Difficult indeed to imagine that their competitors could overtake them when they are only 350 miles away from the finish line.