Start of the Centennial Transat THE BRIDGE (Photo © Thierry Martinez / THE BRIDGE )

The Queen Mary 2 left France on July 25th UTC amid great fanfare and crowds who gathered to watch the spectacle of this first of it’s kind race. This event is celebrating a century of friendship and unity between France and America. The event commemorated the centennial of the United States entering World War I to fight with the allies and end the conflict. On June 26, 1917 the first Americans landed in Saint-Nazaire, France. Along with those Americans came jazz music and basketball. Therefore it was appropriate that these were incorporated in THE BRIDGE 2017 when the events were organized.

The Bridge 2017 – Nantes (Photo © Benoît Stichelbaut / The Bridge)

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

The Queen Mary beat out the competitors finishing in July 1st. She made the crossing in 5 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes. Her average speed for the crossing was 22.7 kts.

 

  • © George Bekris

 

The Queen Mary 2 ended her race to New York as she crossed the finish at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at 5:00 am local time.  After crossing she passed the Statue of Liberty and did a circle in front of it as New York Fireboat saluted her with a spray in the morning light.

 

QM2 passes the Statue of Liberty with Fireboat salute (Photo © George Bekris)

Statue of Liberty and Fireboat (Photo © George Bekris)

 

The Queen Mary 2 has its thirteen passenger decks, the Queen Mary 2 is the largest, longest, tallest, widest, and most expensive passenger ship of all time. The 1,132 foot ship has a top speed of 29 knots and is so stable it a bit like being in a luxury hotel on the water. Her sweeping 2nd deck covered in wood runs the entire length of the ship with an uninterrupted view that runs from bow to stern. She is reminiscent of the golden age of cruising the oceans when the getting there was an event in itself. There are beautiful and elegant restaurants. Before the modern neon, water slide laden, running track and glitz liners so common in ports all over the world. This ship brings back the elegant grandeur of a time of elegance in travel. There is a feeling of going back in time as you step aboard and take in the grand lobby and halls lined with relief sculptures. She recently underwent a total refit so everything is sparkling and fresh onboard.

 

  • © George Bekris

 

There are many cabins to choose  from including the opulent duplex Buckingham Suite at the stern the spanned deck 9 and 10 with a private viewing deck on the stern.

 

  • © George Bekris

 

During her crossing the passengers were treated to the well known jazz singers and musicians. Archie Shepp performed with his saxophone.  Also performing during the festival ain onboard was Natalie Dessay. The festival of Jazz began with concerts Nantes, Saint-Nazaire, continued on the ocean, and will conclude with a concert in New York City at the Central Park SummerStage Festival on July 1, 2017. Bringing the events full circle from it’s origins in the United States to France and a century later back New York City.

 

New York City Skyline from the deck of the Queen Mary 2 (Photo © George Bekris)

There were other aspects to THE BRIDGE as well. Personal bridges and bonds made. Anna Boissier, a passenger on the ship, decided to take part in the cruise after finding out the link between herself and France in her own family history.

She was a American from Pennsylvania who married a Frenchman and moved to France twenty one years ago. She began investigating her own roots and found seven generations ago on her father’s side of the family a man named Lorenz Sandmanm, who came from the Baden region in Germany was in her family tree. He sailed on a ship to America 1752.   The name Sandmann through time became Sentman.  One of the Sentmans was Eli who  joined the CO B303 Bn Tank Corps on May 3, 1918 during World War I. He trained and travelled across the atlantic with the American forces to a tank base in England. Eli was then sent to Neuvy-Pailloux, France later that year. He was stationed in France during the winter of 1919 before leaving the army and returning to america that spring.

After the war he started an automobile dealership in Philadelphia where Boissier’s grandfather worked as well. Their family continues to live in Pennsylvania with the exception of Bossier who has been in France for 21 years. This trip is especially exciting for her as she is set to meet her cousin Eli Sentman V in New York before the ship sails back to France.  This trip was a bridge for Anna and her family as well. She will have a new connection in America that she would never had if she hadn’t began building bridges of her own. Now Anna will have family memories for her and her husband to take back to France.

 

  • © George Bekris

 

THE BRIDGE 2017 was not only a race. On the ship were business representatives in the 100 CLUB who chartered the ship to participate in the race against the Ultime trimarans in the transatlantic race. The 100 CLUB was established with the launch of the race in September of 2016 by Tony Parker, a sponsor of the bridge. There were 150 companies represented on board the QM2 to take place in 8 days of conferences and exchange of ideas mixed in with time to unwind in the middle of the Atlantic and let their creative minds collaborate on new ways to work together. This time allowed them uninterrupted opportunities to make contacts for the future in the ever changing world of business in the 21st century and it’s abundance of new business opportunities. It was a mix of small, medium and large companies all looking toward the future and how to best adjust and adapt going forward in a changing world. Allowing them to form bonds and alliances with each other that will last well past this transatlantic crossing. It just happened to take place on board one of the most majestic ships today on one the world’s greatest oceans, far from land and daily distractions.

 

  • © George Bekris

 

The FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2017 Basketball portion of THE BRIDGE was ongoing in France with 40 teams from 36 countries competing at the Parc des Chantires. The winners were Serbia in 1st place, Netherlands in 2nd and France took 3rd.

“I’ve always looked at sailing as a way of building bridges,” Damien Grimont, the founder and organizer, said. “Here, we brought the worlds of jazz, basketball, and business together to remember this 100 years and this race has been an amazing bridge between all of them. “The Queen Mary 2 was the biggest thing because it was so important to the lives of so many people, particularly in Saint-Nazaire (where she was built). There are such emotional ties and such energy from that boat; 100,000 people worked on it and four million hours of human labor went into its construction.”

This was the first edition of THE BRIDGE. It’s the hope of many that this becomes a tradition of bringing together the brightest minds in business with the top racers in the sailing circuit for an event that will grow with each edition.

 

Queen Mary 2 Passes the Staten Island Ferry after completing The Bridge Centennial Transat (Photo © George Bekris)

The 150 companies participating in the 100 club were as follows:
4 MOD – 727 SAILBAGS – AAERON FRANCE – ACT.ALARM – ACTUAL – ADENINE – ADRIEN STRATÉGIE AID – AIR FRANCE – ALAIN CHARTIER – AMP – APRIL MOTO – ARIES ALLIANCE – ARMETON – ATELIER DES TENDANCES – ATLANTIQUE EXPANSION ERB – ATLOC – ATOL – AVOLENS – AXO- BERJAC -BIG SUCCESS – C3P – CDII – CABINET MOITIER ET CARRIÈRE – CANAPÉS DUVIVIER – CAPACITÉS CAPVISIO – CAZENOVE ARCHITECTURE – CELENCIA – CFLC GROUPE (CRLC – ATLANTIC SOL) – CHÂTEAU DES TOURELLES – CIC – CLEAR CHANNEL – CLUB APM MAYENNE – CM-CIC INVESTISSEMENT -C.M.R – COLBERT ASSURANCE – COLBERT PATRIMOINE ET FINANCE – CORNET VINCENT SEGUREL AVOCATS – CREATIC EMBALL SERVICES – DANTES YACHTS – DELOITTE – DOCUWORLD GROUP – DOLMEN -DURET IMMOBILIER – ENVOLIIS – EUROPCAR – EXCELIUM – EY – FICAMEX – FINANCIÈRE CONSEIL -GALÉO – GELENCSER – GÉNICADO – GESTAL – GIL TURPEAU ENTREPRISES – GOSSELIN DESIGN & DIGITAL – GROUPE COUPECHOUX – GROUPE DUBREUIL – GROUPE GRUAU – GROUPE IDYL’AUTO – GROUPE LE DUFF -GROUPE LEGENDRE – GROUPE LUCAS – GROUPE MOUSSET – GROUPE RIDEAU – GUESNEAU SERVICES -GYMGLISH – HARMONIE MUTUELLE – HERIGE – HISI – HLP AUDIT – HOFIA – IDÉA – IJINUS – INTERACTION INTERIM – INTUITI – KPMG – LA MAISON HEBEL – LAUDESCHER INDUSTRIE – LAUDREN ATLANTIQUE – LE CONSERVATEUR – LEROY MERLIN – LINER COMMUNICATION – LOCARMOR LOGISTIC SOLUTIONS – LUCAS G – MAINDRON – MANHATTAN ASSOCIATES – MCDONALD’S OLONNE-SUR-MER – MÉTIER INTERIM & CD – MITIS – MNM CONSULTING – MSTREAM – MULTIPLAST – NANTES SAINT-NAZAIRE DÉVELOPPEMENT – NAP – NEOVIVO – NOUVEL OUEST – OCF – ORATIO – OUEST COUVERTURE ÉNERGIE – OUEST-FRANCE – PAEONIA – PATRICK GELENSCER -PLAST’IC ENTREPRISES – PRÉFA TECHNICOF – PROTECT’HOMS – QUADRA CONSULTANTS – REALITES – RÉAUTÉ CHOCOLAT – REGARD 9 – RH-INC – SÉCHÉ ENVIRONNEMENT – SEGASEL – SÉMÉNIA – SFCMM -SIMAB – SIPAC ASSURANCES – SAS RABAS – SODEBO – SOFAGEM – STREGO – SUPER U VERTOU -SYD CONSEILS – TEAM PLASTIQUE – TEGRALIS – TIBCO – TGS AUDIT – TGS AVOCATS – THÉÂTRE 100 NOMS -THE LINKS – TRANSPORTS VÉZO – TRANSVERSALES – TRI OUEST – VALPG PÔLE GRAPHIQUE EPA -VD COM – VERTAL – VYP

Queen Mary 2 Grand Lobby (Photo © George Bekris)

For more information and facts about the race visit THE BRIDGE 2017

Visit George Bekris Photography for more photos of THE BRIDGE 2017 and the QUEEN MARY 2 in New York

 

 

 

Photo © Thierry Martinez / THE BRIDGE

 

The Centennial Transat – The Bridge – from Saint-Nazaire to New York started in uniquely spectacular fashion at 19:00 today, one hundred years after American troops arrived on the coast of France. 

This time the cannon shots were sounds of fraternity to begin the race between the Queen Mary 2 and four of the largest and fastest trimarans in the world. The start to ocean races are always emotive affairs but rarely are they so loaded.

On Saturday, many thousands lined the harbor and shore to welcome the Queen Mary 2 into the Brittany harbor where she was built. This Loire estuary was alive again as the only remaining ocean liner in the world weighed anchor and the four trimarans, equally impressive in their class, set sail in light airs under a cloudless sky.

The trimarans were unsurprisingly faster off the mark, but the Queen Mary 2 (1,132 feet/345m) is a very big favourite to the win 3,152-mile (5,837 km) transat and her arrival under the Verrazano Bridge in New York is expected at 08:00 on Saturday, July 1. The crewed “Ultime” class trimarans – Macif (François Gabart), Idec Sport (Francis Joyon), Sodebo Ultim’ (Thomas Coville) and Team Actual, (Yves Le Blévec) – which are all over 25 meters long, are expected to finish between one and two days later. As forecast, because the race is against the prevailing winds, the trimarans will be working their way upwind to the north, while the QM2 can power direct to New York.

“Initially, the wind will be very soft in the Saint-Nazaire channel. The small windshift from north-west with winds of less than 10 knots expected in the evening won’t allow for much flying,” Dominic Vittet, the race meteorologist said. “As soon as the trimarans have left the Grand Carpentier lighthouse (in Saint-Nazaire) to starboard, they will already have to make a crucial choice about how they round the anticyclonic ridge that has the Bay of Biscay under lockdown and is forming a wall that will be difficult to cross in the first 24 hours.”

The fleet includes the cream of French sailing – who continue to dominate this class and offshore sailing in general – both on the trimarans and on the QM2, where Jean Le Cam, Alain Gautier and Bruno Peyron, gave the official start from the bridge. There is only one Briton among the 22 sailors across the four boats, Samantha Davies, who is also the only woman. The 34-year-old Gabart and crew start as favourites to set a new reference time between these two cities. The 30-metre long Macif, launched in 2015, is the newest boat of the four and Gabart has already proved its pace by winning the TheTransat bakerly in 2016. But the older hands, Joyon and Coville, have so many oceanic records between them that they can never be discounted.

For more information, photos and videos:
www.thebridge2017.com

The Bridge is a transatlantic celebration of friendship and solidarity between France and the United States, marking one hundred years since the arrival of American soldiers on French shores in 1917 to join the Allies in World War I. It includes:

– the 4th FIBA 3X3 World Cup in Nantes (17-21 June)
– the return of the Queen Mary 2 to where it was constructed in Saint-Nazaire, escorted by an international armada (June 24)
– the Centennial Transat to New York (June 25-July 3)
– an original tribute across the ocean to a century of American music (June 23-July 1)

Kicks off a month from the start of the festivities

From left to right: Francis Joyon, Francois Gabart, Yves Le Blévec, Thomas Coville. Photo credit: Thierry Martinez

From left to right: Francis Joyon, Francois Gabart, Yves Le Blévec, Thomas Coville. Photo credit: Thierry Martinez

 

This Thursday, the press conference to launch THE BRIDGE, a composite event commemorating the centenary of the first landing of American soldiers, was held in Paris in June 1917. It was

labeled by the Mission of the Centenary of the First World War , THE BRIDGE celebrates 100 years of France-USA friendship through festivities and animations imagined in the mirror of this common past. Designed as a bridge between audiences, the event, sponsored by Tony Parker , combines basketball, music and ocean sailing around this major event in Nantes, Saint-Nazaire and New York. In the presence of Joseph Zimet, Director General of the First World War Centenary Mission, THE BRIDGE, unveiled his program.

On June 24th, THE BRIDGE will see the return of the Queen Mary 2, escorted by a multinational Armada, to Saint-Nazaire, its construction port, which in 1917 was the US transit base European soil. The next day (June 25, at 7 pm), the steel giant will embark on the Centennial Transat and its unprecedented 3,152-mile (5,837 km) course towards New York in the face of four Ultimate Trimarans led by ( Thomas Coville, François Gabart, Francis Joyon and Yves Le Blévec ). A historic Atlantic match with high symbolic value in the direction of New York, in the footsteps of those first “Sammies” who came to defend Liberty alongside the Allies.

THE BRIDGE course

 

THE GREAT DATES OF THE BRIDGE 2017

In Nantes :

– Friday 16th June: Arrival of the trimarans

– Saturday 17th> Wednesday 21st June: 4thFIBA World Cup 3×3

– Thursday 22nd June: Descent from the Loire between Nantes and Saint-Nazaire

In Saint-Nazaire:
– Thursday, June 22: Arrival of trimarans – Village Opening events

– Saturday, June 24: Arrival of the Queen Mary 2 escorted by an international armada //
Great evening Centennial: concert, lights and sound public

– Sunday, June 25: Start of the Centennial Transat

At New York :
– Saturday 1 st July: Arrival of the Queen Mary 2 // THE BRIDGE concert at the Summerstage Festival in Central Park

– Between Sunday 2 and Monday 3 July: Estimated arrival of the first trimarans