MACIF arrives in New York City, July 3, 2017 (Photo © Thierry Martinez / Sea&Co.)

François Gabart and the crew on MACIF win THE BRIDGE 2017 Ultime Trimarans – Centennial Transat race as they crossed under the The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on July 3rd at 13:31 EST. The crew consisting of François Gabart – skipper, Pascal Bidégorry, Guillaume Combescure, Antoine Gautier, Benoît Marie and Yann Riou. They crossed in 8 days, 31 minutes and 20 seconds. The boat crossed the atlantic averaging 18.6 kts.

MACIF Crew at press conference (Photo © George Bekris)

The race pitted the Queen Mary 2 against four Ultime trimarans skippered by some of the greatest names in Ocean Racing. François Gabart – MACIF, Francis Joyon – IDEC SPORT, Thomas Coville – Sodebo Ultime and Yves Le Blévec – ACTUAL.

François Gabart © George Bekris

They left Saint-Nazaire on June 25th UTC for the 3068.4 nm transat. The trimaran skippers faced headwinds during much of their race as a result they raced a longer race in terms of actual miles than the Queen Mary 2. They also had some areas of very calm winds reducing their boat speed.

  • © George Bekris

The QM2 could follow a more or less straight line to the finish minus the exclusion zones for ice formations and Cetaceans. The Queen Mary 2 did stray into the ice exclusion zone for a short time before correcting causing them a penalty.

  • © Thierry Martinez / Sea&Co.

IDEC SPORT, skippered by Francis Joyon placed 2nd when they crossed under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at 8 days 11 hours 9 minutes 3seconds. The crew covered this transat with an average of 17.2 kts of speed. We spoke to Francis Joyon following his arrival in New York and he said he plans to head back across the atlantic solo on Friday July 7th on IDEC SPORT. He stated this will be the first time he has a chance to sail IDEC SPORT solo and he wants to take this opportunity to get to know his boat without crew. 17.2 kts average speed.

  • © George Bekris

Sodebo Ultime crossed 3rd despite having an injured crewman on Tuesday, July 4 at 05:18:55 EST. Just 50 miles behind IDEC SPORT. They completed the race in 8 days,16 hours,18 minutes, 55 seconds with a 17.04 kts average speed.

Thomas Coville, the current round the world solo record holder, was in good spirits after arrival and was happy with the time they made coming in as they passed the Statue of Liberty right after dawn. They were able to complete the race without evacuating the injured Thierry Briend until they passed the finish. He was then transferred to a RIB and taken for medical attention as a precaution.

© Thierry Martinez / Sea&Co. NEW YORK CITY – USA , 4 Juillet 2017

Coville commented on dealing with his injured friend and crewmate after arriving at the Atlantic Boat Basin ““We were all very worried when Thierry had his problem,” Colville said. “I’m not going to discuss the whole race through this, but it really did affect us. He was knocked flat on his back and then the other way, face first onto a winch. He was incoherent for a few hours and couldn’t remember what had happened. The doctor said evacuating him from the boat wasn’t the right thing to do because it was best to keep him out of the elements. You need to have a very professional crew running the boat, so that when you have an injury, like Thierry had, you can manage it properly. We managed to race the boat to the finish and the situation with Thierry at the same time.”

  • © George Bekris

ACTUAL finish off the race and concluded the race when they arrived in New York on July 5th, at 10.28 pm and 58 seconds. They arrived in the night with spotlights highlighting the crew and boat against the Statue of Liberty as they passed.

  • © Thierry Martinez / Sea&Co.

The event concluded for the Ultime Trimarans with the award ceremony at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan on July 6, 2017.

  • © Thierry Martinez / Sea&Co.

Although the rest of the MACIF was on hand for the ceremony and to accept the award. François Gabart had to appear via live video because he had to return to France where his wife is expecting a baby at any time.

New York Yacht Club awards presentation. (Photo © Thierry Martinez / Sea&Co.)

The event concluded for the Ultime Trimarans with the award ceremony at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan on July 6, 2017.

THE BRIDGE 2017 (Photo © George Bekris)

Francis Joyon
Alex Pella (ESP)
Sébastien Audigane
Gwénola Gahinet
Clément Surtel
Quentin Ponroy

Crew of ACUTAL
Yves Le Blévec
Samantha Davies
Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant
Davy Beaudart
Stanislas Thuret

Crew of Sodebo Ultime
Thomas Coville
Jean-Luc Nélias
Vincent Riou
Billy Besson
Loïc Le Mignon
Thierry Briend

Crew of MACIF
François Gabart
Pascal Bidégorry
Guillaume Combescure
Antoine Gautier
Benoît Marie
Yann Riou

Damien Grimont, Organiser of THE BRIDGE, is raised overhead by the MACIF Crew after they docked at The Atlantic Basin (Photo © George Bekris)


Visit George Bekris Photography for more photos of THE BRIDGE 2017 Maxi Trimarans and Crews 

Visit THE BRIDGE 2017 for more Information and Statistics about the Maxi Trimarans Race




For the second year running, a first since the creation of this title awarded by the French Sailing Federation for the past 12 years, Franck Cammas, the skipper of Groupama, has been voted Sailor of the Year.

Up against the winner of the Vendée Globe, who was the favourite to take the award, the skipper of Groupama won it by a fairly large majority after a particularly impressive 2013 season. French Champion of Match Racing, Offshore Racing and Olympic Sailing, not to mention a victory in the Tour de France à la Voile and the World C-Class Championship, Franck and his Groupama sailing team have once again made a clean sweep of the prizes.And yet, once again, the competition for this title was formidable:
– Francois Gabart, winner of the Vendée Globe
– Yann Eliès, double winner of the Solitaire du Figaro
– Billy Besson and Marie Riou, World Nacra 17 Champions
– Antoine Albeau, World Windsurfing Champion
– Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary, World Disabled Sonar Champions.

But there we have it, as some were saying last night, ultimately, when there’s a competition, it’s always Cammas who wins! Questioned after the results were declared, the skipper of Groupama gave his verdict with the familiar simplicity we have become accustomed to during what will soon be 17 years:”It’s a massive surprise because in my view there are sailors here who have incredible achievements this year. This award comes as the result of a great deal of work and a team which is firmly in place. We have proven how quickly we can respond to switching from offshore racing to disciplines that are completely new to us. I hope that we will go further as we’ve witnessed some very, very fine images, which thrilled us all a few weeks ago in San Francisco. We’ve seen that the French were in a position to secure what is the toughest trophy in the world to win. We would very much like them all with us in the same team and show that in France, we too can do incredible things on the international stage.

Sailor of the year 2013, Franck came close to securing another win for his team as the Groupama Research Department was nominated in the category for “Prix de la haute technologie” (High Technology Prize) awarded by the French Nautical Industries Federation, for the remarkable performance put up by Groupama C, winner of the Little America’s Cup back in September. In the end though it was the French engineers and researchers from Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup
who took the prize.

Despite all that, hearty congratulations go to the superb team made up of Loïc Dorez, Pierre Tissier, Olivier Mainguy, Stéphane Chatel, Marine Villard, Martin Fisher, Gautier Sergent, Denis Glehen, Benjamin Muyl and Guillaume Verdier.Congratulations also extend to all the crew members who have sailed with Franck this year:
Sophie de Turckheim, Louis Viat, Tanguy Cariou, Erwan Israël, Fabien Henry, Arnaud Jarlegan, Devan Le Bihan, Malo Bessec, Matthieu di Russo, Christophe André, Stéphane Guilbaud, Julien Villion, Maxime Paul, Charles Caudrelier, Yann Riou and Guillaume Le Tuaud.

See you in 2014 for a year that, in sporting terms, will doubtless be extremely busy.


Spindrift racing construction, Lorient, France. (Photo © Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing)

Spindrift racing construction, Lorient, France. (Photo © Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing)

Spindrift racing’s flagship, MOD70 N°05, took to the water today in Lorient to the delight of Yann Guichard. Before entering an intense sailing season, the skipper and CEO took the opportunity to present part of his crew and technical team : Pascal Bidégorry, Billy Besson and Jacques Guichard will be onboard.

Under the Britanny sun, with CEO Yann Guichard and Director Léo Lucet in attendance, the new MOD70 N°05 owned by Spindrift racing was launched in Lorient. Accompanied by the technical team, already composed of Nicolas Debordes, Florent Le Gal, Tim Carrie and Philippe Echassoux, the trimaran had a first taste of the salty Atlantic. The boat will certainly become a true reference in her category.

“This is of course an important day for me in the sense that the team is embarking for an exceptional human and sportive adventure. And the promising performance shown by the boat reinforces my motivation to succeed with Spindrift racing” comments an enthusiastic Yann Guichard.

To meet this considerable challenge, the skipper and CEO has selected talented and experienced young sailors. The crew will comprise, among others, Pascal Bidégorry, Billy Besson and Jacques Guichard.

 “It is a real privilege to gather together both a technical team with so much knowledge and experience and highly talented sailors, all multihull specialists. After an 8-month construction period, we are now finally getting there and we are looking forward to performing our first tacks.” announces Yann Guichard.

Pascal Bidégorry adds : “I am absolutely thrilled to join the Spindrift racing team and to be part of the exciting MOD70 circuit. I have already sailed with Yann, I know his human and technical skills, which I really appreciate. Spindrift racing will be undoubtedly be very competitive.”

After a series of static tests, on February 1st, the boat will head to her port of registry in La Trinité-sur-Mer. Then, offshore and inshore training sessions with the MOD70 N°02 Foncia are planned. The Spindrift racing men will meet their competitors for the first time during local competitions (Belle –Ile island Tour, Armen Race or SNSM Trophy) which will give a glimpse of the full potential of the MOD70.

Launching of MOD70 Spindrift Racing (Photo © Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing)

Launching of MOD70 Spindrift Racing (Photo © Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing)

Fonica In Straights of Gibraltar (Photo by Jacques Vapillon)

Fonica In Straights of Gibraltar (Photo by Jacques Vapillon)

Since the end of the day yesterday the first boat of the Istanbul
Europa Race fleet has entered the Atlantic, leaving the Mediterranean
in its wake. One by one, on the same single tack, the crews have
followed in the tracks of leader Michel Desjoyeaux, who has been
leading the way towards Brest for more than the last 24 hours. Though
all are making modest speeds, the passage of the Straits of Gibraltar
has mixed up the competition on this third leg more than ever,
particularly among the boats vying closest to take on the leader.
Veolia Environnement and Groupe Bel have been having quite a battle,
which Paprec Virbac 2 is doing its utmost to join. Further back, the
Spaniards aboard 1876 have been contending with a mast problem which has slowed them down, while the Mediterranean has yet to finish with the men of DCNS…

For its first edition, the Istanbul Europa Race has the pleasure of presenting a fleet of around fifteen boats,  helmed by the top sailors of our time. The trust the sailors display in the organising company, together  with the scale of the event and the course on offer,  greatly appeal to sailing  professionals.

In terms of image,  the skippers are perceived as adventurers, sacrificing everything for their passion and a far cry from overpaid stars. In addition they practise a sport which, though given a lot of media coverage, is sheltered from the numerous excesses you can observe in other sports (structured finance, doping), and benefits from a ‘clean’ image in every sense of the word.

As such  these top level offshore racers have expressed a desire to accept the invitation to what is to be an unmissable race in their professional career. Among them we can already mention:

The Istanbul Europa Race, in the prestigious IMOCA class, is the latest great sailing race in the yachting calendar. Its long course through Europe is to make it a major sporting event from its very first edition. In the great tradition of stage races, the Istanbul Europa Race will bring together a fleet comprised of some of very best sailors of our time, taking them on an ideal course and offering a genuine invitation to travel.

From One Sea To Another (Photo courtesy of Group Bel)

From One Sea To Another (Photo courtesy of Group Bel)

A human, competitive and cultural adventure, the Istanbul Europa Race has a wealth of assets to bring to the table.  A public,  comprising amateur sailors and enthusiasts alike, is bound to come out in force to view  the spectacle,  to  witness this  new encounter  between man and  the natural  elements,  at the forefront of which are the waters of the  Mediterranean,  as well as the  Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel. The excellent  line-up of sailors offered,  the original aspect of  the race ports and  the course together  with the public presence,  all go to ensure massive,  international media coverage,  given the infatuation that is prompted by sailing.