Still close-hauled and another breeze to come

Still close-hauled and another breeze to come

02 July 2017

While Queen Mary 2 has already left Manhattan, the 2000 passengers are still not over the magical arrival at dawn in the Bay of New York from last Saturday on July 1st. Between 600 and 1100 miles of sailing remains for the four ultime to cross the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, the finish line symbol of this first edition of THE BRIDGE. And the least we can say is that the journey will not be easy especially in a Southwest flow which will significantly increase in the coming hours.

If Macif, led by François Gabart, becomes the first to get their way out of the high-pressure ridge spreading under the ice exclusion zone, the blue and yellow trimaran crew knows that the next few hours are going to be quite tough, with a Southwestern then Western wind blowing between 25 and 30 knots, and raising a boat-breaking sea. Leading since the start, Macif controls perfectly, as they navigate at more than 20 knots this Sunday morning, always close-hauled, about 300 miles South of Nova Scotia. The VPLP plan, the race’s last-born trimaran, is only 600 miles away from New York, and thanks to its exceptional close-hauled performance in the last few hours, they relegated IDEC Sport (Francis Joyon) to 70 miles and Sodebo Ultim to 140 miles. Except if damage occurs, nothing seems to prevent François Gabart and his crew to win in the night of Monday to Tuesday. Actual (Yves Le Blevec), progresses in the cold on the banks of Newfoundland and is now 500 miles away from the leader. If the crew makes the most out the old trimaran of Thomas Coville, it can hardly fight against the newer boats. This transatlantic fought on the Northern Road close-hauled and with rather light wind, will be ending with a breeze and upwind. As Vincent Riou (Sodebo Ultim') said this morning at 3:00 UTC, the gennaker has not been out since Brittany... and will stay there until the arrival.

They said...

Yves le Blévec (Actual) : « We are on the banks of Newfoundland and it's winter. It's cold! For a change, we have a few bottles of Coke. We put them in the end pockets which are outside in the cockpit, and one has the impression that they came out of the fridge. If you want to have the wind direction, look in the direction of New York and the wind comes from there, pretty much. We'll have to negotiate a minimum (low-pressure) near the area of the ice. If weather files are correct, and we get into that little hole, maybe we'll get the gennaker out for an hour or two! »

Vincent Riou (Sodebo Ultim) : « Sailing port tack in 15 to 20 knots of wind, close-hauled. " We'll continue like this up to the end of the race. There is a little bit of sea and it "squeaks". We were not used to it with these lenient conditions since the start. We're going to have a stronger wind in the middle of night, and it will get stronger. We know that this will be close-hauled until New York. We used the gennaker when having less than 5 knots of wind at the start at the Brittany tip, and since it stayed in its bag... and it should stay there until the end. The small gap that we created with IDEC Sport by being a little more upwind, it's an opportunity even if we did not have much choice. It's going to be north-northwest until the end. We'll have a big port tack that will lead us between Nova Scotia, Nantucket and then to Boston. There will be a slight wind rotation on the right in order to travel towards the arrival by tacking. A true close-hauled transatlantic. »

Antoine Gautier (Macif)« Last night, we went through the famous ridge... and since we're close-hauled, and it will be the case until the arrival.» The end of the race will be though and we're going to be shaken. We are expecting in between 25 and 30 knots of Southwestern wind I think. It's difficult to provide a precise ETA (estimated time of arrival), but it should be during the night of Monday 3rd to Tuesday, July 4th. Otherwise, everything's great on board. We are pleased with the passage of this ridge. It gave us a good advance on the other boats. All day yesterday, we had extraordinary conditions. We had pretty impressive averages. We were at 27-28 knots close-hauled. It was great and it allowed us to increase the gap with IDEC and Sodebo. Now, we will have the most wind of the whole crossing, and we are not immune from problem as long as the finish line is not crossed. We need to remain careful. »