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

 

 

 

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

 

 

the-bridge
On Friday, 2nd December, the press conference for the official launch of THE BRIDGE was held in the prestigious setting of the Salle Turenne at the Hôtel des Invalides. THE BRIDGE, a unique, festive, maritime, cultural and popular event, will take place from June 15th until the beginning of July 2017, in Nantes, Saint-Nazaire and New York. Supported by the Centennial Mission 14-18, THE BRIDGE pays tribute to the arrival on the French coasts of the first US troops to defend Liberty alongside the Allies and to put an end to the First World War. THE BRIDGE places this historical event, which has nourished a hundred years of Franco-American friendship, at the centre of its festivities.

François Gabart (MACIF), Damien Grimont (THE BRIDGE organiser) and et Yves Le Blevec (ACTUAL) © Th.Martinez

The Centennial Transat, an unprecedented and historic race
“1917, the Americans came ashore… 2017, THE BRIDGE brings us on board”.

Based on this idea, THE BRIDGE has invited the Queen Mary 2 to take part in an ocean challenge in a race against a fleet of giant trimarans following the route of the first landing of 1917. This will be an unprecedented maritime contest between the famous steel giant specially chartered for the occasion and the fabulous racing multihulls skippered by top offshore racers and their crews, THE BRIDGE will be the theatre of the Centennial Transat, a thrilling race between the bridge of Saint-Nazaire and the Verrazano Bridge in New York. Don’t miss it!

Departure on June 25th, 2017 under the bridge of Saint-Nazaire

It is highly symbolic,” said François Gabart, one of the first four contenders of the Queen Mary 2, about his favourite challenge: a Northern Atlantic crossing from East to West. Departing on June 25th, 2017 and heading to New York where the prestigious liner, which will be cruising at 25 knots over the 3,150 miles (5,800 km) of the direct route, is expected to arrive in the early hours of the morning of July 1st, to be saluted according to tradition, by the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

Download the official poster of THE BRIDGE

Basketball and jazz on centre stage
Conceived and envisioned as a bridge of friendship, THE BRIDGE also gives pride of place to jazz and to basketball. These two symbols of American culture will be at the heart of the three weeks of festivities on the programme celebrating a hundred years of friendship between France and the United States. Tony Parker, who epitomises the exchanges and bonds that have been strengthened over the past century by two countries separated by an ocean but united by loyal ties, sponsors this France-USA event.

France and the United States together: this project speaks to me. It is also a little nod to history to say thank you for everything that happened before. It makes sense for me to join THE BRIDGE; it stirs something in me. It is a big project and is growing bigger, and I am looking forward to seeing the event”, says Tony Parker.

Nantes to host the 4th 3×3 Basketball World Cup

In Nantes, the hub of basketball, THE BRIDGE has organised three weeks of symbolic events. In partnership with the FFBB (French Basketball Federation) and Nantes Métropole, the event will host the 4th 3X3 Basketball World Cup from 17th to 21st June 2017. A great first in France on the iconic site of the Park des Chantiers of the island of Nantes for this discipline, born on the streets and taking off all around the world. 20 women’s teams and 20 men’s teams from thirty countries will share the infectious spirit of 3X3 basketball, which pits two teams of three players against each other. It is a fine way to echo the spirit of freedom and fraternity intrinsic to basketball, a century after the first demonstrations of the art of dribbling on European soil.

The grand return of the Queen Mary 2 to Saint-Nazaire…
After Nantes, THE BRIDGE will continue in Saint-Nazaire with the return of the Queen Mary 2 to its port of construction. This will be an important event in itself for the City of Liners, whose history, culture, and economy are intimately linked to the sea and its industries. This exceptional charter, the fruit of efforts by THE BRIDGE Association to bring together a large family of public and private partners, was also made possible thanks to the mobilisation of the companies in the region. Driven by a strong entrepreneurial vision, the event expects 2,640 passengers, individuals and financial decision-makers to embark on the famous liner to follow the Centennial Transat live from front row seats. A historic adventure!

… Under multinational escort

The Queen Mary 2 is expected on Saturday June 24th in Saint-Nazaire, escorted by the Centennial Armada, an exceptional fleet bringing together ships from twelve countries out of the fifty involved in the First World War. On the following day, Sunday 25th June, the 345-metre-long steamer and the maxi-trimarans will set sail to the estuary of the Loire and the starting area of the Centennial Transat.

IDEC SPORT, a new contestant for the Queen Mary 2
Four talented and experienced offshore racing skippers have already responded to the call of THE BRIDGE and will be there with five crew on the start line. François Gabart (MACIF), Yves Le Blévec (ACTUAL) and Thomas Coville (Sodebo) of the group Ultim are amongst the first candidates for this unusual historic race. Most recently joining them is Francis Joyon (IDEC SPORT) and his crew, the latest entry for this maritime challenge, currently competing on the Jules Verne Trophy alongside the most serious contenders of the Queen Mary 2. Together with a further crew of five, these great offshore sailors will have to race at the top of they abilities across the 3,150 mile course (5,800 km approximately) against a cruise ship who will cross the ocean at full steam regardless of the weather conditions.

@ JM Liot / DPPI / IDEC SPORT

They said during the press conference:


Francis Joyon (IDEC SPORT):The IDEC SPORT trimaran, because of the absolute use of wind and ocean to move, represents the ideal link and symbolises the friendship between France and the United States . With the IDEC SPORT team, we are proud to participate in this premiere of THE BRIDGE.

Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim’):Being a pioneer is the DNA of the Ultim’ collective which brings together the owners of the biggest multihulls. Today, with THE BRIDGE, we have a meeting with history, with this new race, with this new concept and with the Queen Mary 2 … “

Yves Le Blévec (ACTUAL):“A start in Saint-Nazaire, a finish in New York, it is a mythical journey that takes us back to the era of passenger ships and steamships. The race format, which brings together for the first time all Ultim’, suits perfectly. “

François Gabart (MACIF):“It really resonates. One hundred years after the landing of the Americans in Europe, THE BRIDGE gives us the chance to do the return trip, to go to the United States to create the link to sailing and beyond. What is interesting about it is that there is a slightly different way of approaching the race, potentially bringing the media and the public closer to our boats and enabling us to run the race from the inside and give those privileged cruise passengers an amazing opportunity to experience it first hand.”

The main dates of THE BRIDGE:

Nantes:
Thursday 15th June: Arrival of the multihulls
Friday 17th – Wednesday 21st June: 4th FIBA 3X3 World Cup
Tuesday 21st June: Music Festival
Thursday 22nd June: Descent from the Loire between Nantes and Saint-Nazaire

Saint Nazaire:
Thursday 22nd June: Arrival of the maxi-trimarans in the Port of Saint-Nazaire – Opening of the event village
Friday 23rd June: Arrival of the military ships coming from the Atlantic coast
Saturday 24th June: Event village – Arrival of the Queen Mary 2 and entry in the Louis Joubert Lock (port of Saint-Nazaire)
Concert, sound and light show for the general public
Sunday 25th June: Start of THE BRIDGE 2017

New York:
1st July: Arrival of QM2
Between 2nd and 4th July: Estimated arrivals of the first boats

The Queen Mary 2 will also host independent travellers.
During the Nautic, THE BRIDGE organisers open up the sale of cabins on board the Queen Mary 2 giving those interest the option to follow the event all the way to New York.

Meet at THE BRIDGE area – HALL 1/J8.

The 100 Club: a unique entrepreneurial dynamic
Nearly 80 companies have signed up to the adventure. They have reserved the first cabins on board the Queen Mary 2 which has allowed for the charter of the prestigious steamship for the event. The business impetus has been set up to engage and perpetuate an and workshops will analyse and look at how business is set to evolve.

“Visionary entrepreneurs of the Club of 100 are not sponsors. They are also the actors of THE BRIDGE and embark as skippers on the Queen Mary 2, “explains Damien Grimont, creator and organiser of THE BRIDGE.

TV FOOTAGE OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE AVAILABLE HERE

Shot list
00:00-1:35 Images of the press conference
01:36 – 02:56 Interview with François Gabart, skipper MACIF Ultim’ (French)
02:57 – 03:52 Interview with Yves Le Blévec, skipper ACTUAL (French)
03:53 – 5:10 Interview with Damien Grimont, THE BRIDGE organiser

#TheBridge2017  #IDECSport #FrancisJoyon #Sodebo #MACIF #ACTUAL #FrancoisGabart #ThomasCoville #trimaran #multihull #YvesLeBlevec #NYC  #QueenMary2 #VerrazanoBridge #Verrazano #NewYork

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

Copenhagen – A day that started with light almost drifting conditions ended by finishing with a nice southerly breeze of about 10-knots to bring three more races to the scoreboards in the ORC World Championship 2016. Class A completed a 39-mile offshore race to thus fulfill the minimum requirements to qualify the event as a World Championship, and Classes B and C were able to complete two inshore races and thus qualify them for one discard of their worse inshore race.

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

These two classes were also racing for the first time in their new Gold and Silver fleets, where those in the Gold group will be competing for the final podium positions.

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

Class A started at 1000 local time in a very light 6-7 knot southeasterly breeze to race their mandatory offshore race, a 39-mile journey from the start outside Skovshoved Harbor to the light at Pinhattan on the Swedish coast, then south towards the shoals at Sondre Flint, under the bridge to Malmo, around a shipping buoy at Drugden, then back north along a channel along the Danish coast back to the finish at Skovshoved.

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

The challenge for the fleet was not only the light airs but the strong north-flowing current encountered when crossing over to the Swedish coast. Axel Seehafer’s Soto 40 Sportsfreund did this well, using a masthead genoa to speed across the river of current. Once on the Swedish side, Christian von Trepka’s GP 42 Al Capone did this leg well, getting furthest left from the fleet and sailing a little extra distance to escape the current but then also being one of the first to get to the new filling southerly breeze that peaked at 14 knots in this region of the race. This allowed them to sail around their competitors and hold on to 3rd place in corrected time, their best result yet.

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

But in light airs there’s nothing like having a tall rig, so it was Vadim Yakimenko’s TP 52 Freccia Rossa and Mattias Mer’s Brenta 55 Ember Sea that corrected out 1-2 in this race, the third bullet for the French team on the TP and the first 2nd place for the Germans.

In Class B action, the Gold and Silver fleet struggled in light air in their first race, which had its last lap shortened so that race managers could finish and move south towards where Class C was enjoying perfect 10-11 knot conditions. In this slow first race the class leader, Claus Landmark’s Landmark 43 Santa, won her third bullet of the series, a position familiar to her and all those who raced in Class A in the Worlds in Kiel in 2014.

But winner of the second race sailed in faster conditions was a local team from Denmark who are marching up the ranks as they iron out the wrinkles from previous races and enjoyed a discard to move them into fifth place in the rankings. Peter Buhl’s Swan 42 Sirena put the pieces together for a perfect Race 7 to just save their time by 22 seconds over runner-up Mormet, Aaro Cantell’s X-41 who is lying also as the runner-up in the series, six points behind Santa.

In Class C the wind was a perfect 9-11 knots, perhaps too much so as the class got hungry at the starts, generating multiple General Recalls in both the Gold and Silver groups. By staying out of the fray and sailing their own race, Lukasz Trzcinski’s Dufour 34 GoodSpeed was the surprise winner of Race 6, and with another great result in Race 7 (fourth place) they shared the honors of being the Class C low-scoring boat of the day. The boat they shared with – on scores of 4-1 – was a team further up the leaderboard, second-placed Michael Mollman’s X-37 Hansen.

“If you want to beat us, you have to come to Gdansk!” said a jubilant Trzcinski, who is one of the organizers of next year’s ORC European Championship in this, his home port.

But with a lead of only 0.5 points Jascha Bach’s new Italia 9.98 Bachyachting Racing Team has retained their position at the head of the pack, discarding a fifth place in today’s second race. While its too early to predict who will be on the podium on Saturday night with still two more days of racing ahead, the gap between Hansen and Bachyachting to third-placed Pro4u/Malin, Patrik Forsgren’s modified Beneteau 36.7 is right now at a margin of 14 points.

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

ORC Worlds, Copenhagen (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 Skippers Morgan Lagraviere and Nicolas Lunven (Fra) training onboard IMOCA SAFRAN before the start of the duo race Transat Jacques Vabre 2015, from Le Havre (France) to Itajai (Brazil), off Groix, south brittany on september 16, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie LIOT / DPPI

Skippers Morgan Lagraviere and Nicolas Lunven (Fra) training onboard IMOCA SAFRAN before the start of the duo race Transat Jacques Vabre 2015, from Le Havre (France) to Itajai (Brazil), off Groix, south brittany on september 16, 2015 – Photo Jean Marie LIOT / DPPI

 

Following a leak found on Safran on Monday night, Morgan Lagravière and Nicolas Lunven diverted to Brest where they arrived at 2330hrs (French time) yesterday (Tuesday). It quickly became clear that the state of the IMOCA 60, Safran, would not allow it to rejoin the race. The decision was therefore taken to abandon the Transat Jacques Vabre.
Safran, with Morgan Lagravière and Nicolas Lunven on board, moored at the Port du Château in Brest at 2330hrs last night and was received by its technical team and a member of the CDK Technologies boatyard, where the monohull was built. The damage was clear to everyone: cracks in the starboard side of the hull and damaged bulkheads. It needs the attention of a boatyard so Morgan Lagravière had no other choice but to abandon the Transat Jacques Vabre.

For Lagravière and Lunven, who were participating in their first major IMOCA race, it is a great disappointment. However, as good sailors, they can appreciate being able to get their monohull back to port with no further damage. “The sense of relief takes over from the disappointment,” both skippers said. “We saved the boat and we’re fine. The outcome could have been much more complicated.”

Safran supports its skippers and can confirm that everything will be done to get the boat back to competition at 100% of its potential as quickly as possible with a year to the start of the Vendée Globe.

 

For more information, www.safran-group.com  / Follow @SAFRAN on Twitter

091014-Naviguation solo, entrainement pour la Route Du Rhm 2014, au large de Belle-Ile. Trimaran SODEBO ULTIM', skipper, Thomas Coville. Reportage hélico. (Photo Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

091014-Naviguation solo, entrainement pour la Route Du Rhm 2014, au large de Belle-Ile. Trimaran SODEBO ULTIM’, skipper, Thomas Coville. Reportage hélico. (Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

At 23:30, Sunday, Nov. 2, the Cross informed the race management of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe that a collision had occurred between Sodebo Ultim ‘and a cargo and Thomas Coville was unharmed. The trimaran was almost out of the rail and sailed under 3 reefs and ORC, progressing at a speed of 15/18 knots in assets grains with 30 knots of wind from the southwest.

In shock, the trimaran has lost the front of the starboard float to link arms. The middle housing also appears to have been damaged at the front. Sodebo Ultim ‘moves towards the port of Roscoff, crosswind, under reduced sail, leaning on the port float. He is currently lead less than 10 knots. By approaching the Brittany coast, the wind will ease and the sea to settle down. His crew was on standby in Brest will travel at night in Roscoff where the trimaran is due in the morning

Ill fortune was in no way selective as it struck a wide cross section of the La Route du Rhum-Destination fleet over the first 24 hours of the 3,542 miles Transatlantic race which started from Saint-Malo, France on Sunday afternoon, bound for Guadeloupe.

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Difficult sea conditions, squally winds which pumped up to 45kts and periods of poor visibility took a heavy toll across the five classes with dozens of skippers among the 91 starters forced to stop or abandon their race.

Most high profile early casualty is the 31m Ultime trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ of Thomas Coville which struck a cargo ship last night around 2330hrs UTC, losing the starboard float right back to the crossbeam. The solo round the world ace who was considered to be one of the pre-race favourites to win into Pointe-a-Pitre was unhurt and arrived in Roscoff at a little after midday today, disappointed and shaken.

Covillle recalled: “Today I feel like I have been a victim in a car accident. I feel like a truck collided with me, a motorcycle at night. It really basically is that. I was coming away from TSS, the area we avoid because of the maritime traffic, and I was going really fast. That evening I had had a small problem on the bow, so I decided to basically speed up and try and catch up with Loick (Loick Peyron, Maxi Banque Populaire VII) but was sailing along quite comfortably. An engine alarm went off, a battery charge reminder, so I went back inside because I was surprised that after eight hours I would need to be recharging. There was nothing wrong so I went back and there I saw on it on my screen … You can imagine that on our boats we do not have a lot of visibility, that it is dark, there were squalls and lots of rain and that basically we sail like aeroplane pilots or like traffic controllers, using the radar.

I could see that there were two cargo ships close to me. I was sailing in wind mode, which basically means you sail taking into account the variable winds and waves. If I am sailing at 25 knots and the container is at 18 knots, we had a closing speed of 40 knots. Basically the two miles was covered in one minute and thirty seconds. I get out on deck having started the engine and manage to get the right gear and it is just when I look up and see this big black wall cross in front of me and I hit it 1.5 metres or maybe 3 metres from the back. We just did not quite pass behind and but for three metres we would have passed OK.”

Two sistership Class 40s lost their keels just hours apart. Francois Angoulvant had to be airlifted off his recently launched Sabrosa Mk2 by a 33F helicopter just after midnight and taken to Brest for medical observation. Marc Lepesqueux was luckier in that he managed to keep his boat upright when he lost his keel, stabilising it by filling the ballast tanks and he was able to make it into Guernsey.

The unfortunate duo were just two with problems affecting a dozen different Class 40s. Among them an ankle injury has forced Nicolas Troussel (Credit Mutuel Bretagne) – runner up in the 2010 edition – out of the race. Thierry Bouchard (Wallfo.com) succumbed to an injured wrist. Sail or rig repairs are required on Exocet (Alan Roura), Fantastica (Italy’s highly fancied Giancarlo Pedote) and Teamwork (Bertrand Delesne). Double Vendée Globe finisher Arnaud Boissieres reported he was heading for his home port, Les Sables d’Olonne with a combination of problems.

Conrad Humphreys’ hopes of building from a strong start were compromised when the Plymouth, England skipper had to re-route into Camaret by Brest to replace a mainsail batten car luff box. Sailing Cat Phones he arrived in Camaret just before 1600hrs local time this Monday afternoon and his technical team reckoned on a two hours pit-stop. Two Multi 50 skippers required to be towed to port by the SNSM.

Loic Fequet’s Multi 50 Maitre Jacque lost a big section off its starboard float, a seeming repeat of a problem suffered a year ago according to the sailor from Brittany who finished second in the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre. And also in the Multi50s Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) broke a rudder and had to be towed to Roscoff where he arrived around 1600hrs CET this afternoon.

Loick Peyron and the giant Banque Populaire VII (which won the last edition as Groupama) continues to lead the race at the head of the Ultime fleet by a matter of 45 miles ahead of Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2). The battle of the giants was taking on its hotly anticipated centre stage action this afternoon as Guichard continued to march steadily up through the field, now into slightly more moderate breezes but still with big confused seas. He was almost 10 knots quicker than Peyron on the late afternoon poll. The leaders were due to pass Cape Finisterre this evening around 1930-2000hrs. Meantime after holding second for much of the time Sébastien Josse, Yann Elies and Sidney Gavignet are locked in a three cornered battle in the Multi70s with 3.5 miles separating them after 28 hours of racing, between 57 and 60 miles behind the leader.

Multi 50
Five seriously damaged but a duel at the front. The Multi50 fleet was hit badly by the harsh conditions. First to be affected was Maitre Jacques of Loic Fequet which suffered a damaged starboard float. His was the first of a series of accidents and damage. Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) with a broken rudder; Hervé de Carlan (Delirium), damaged a daggerboard; Erik Nigon (Vers un Monde Sans SIDA) has ripped mainsail and Alain Delhumeau (Royan) was dismasted. There were six still on course this afternoon carrying on a spirited fight to continue their race to Guadeloupe. A tight duel is at hand between Yves Le Blevec (Actual) and Erwan Le Roux (FenêtréA Cardinal) who were racing just a few hundred metres apart this afternoon off the latitude of Les Sables d’Olonne.

IMOCA
One Abandon, two damaged, Macif supreme since the start François Gabart has maintained a consistent leadership since breaking the start line first on Sunday afternoon. The lead of the current Vendée Globe champion increased this afternoon, out to 25 miles as his nearest rival Vincent Riou reported damage to his mainsheet track mountings. Two other notable damages include Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives Couer who was having to reroute for a pitstop after a shock to his rudder damaged the mountings. And Bertrand de Broc is reported to have abandoned after the hydraulic ram on his pilot failed and he also suffered an injured elbow. The rest close reach on down the Bay of Biscay with a big lateral gap (60 miles) between the trio of Gabart, Guillemot and Beyou in the west and Burton / Di Benedetto in the East.

Class 40 Sébastien Rogue remains untouchable so far in Class 40 on GDF SUEZ, but Spain’s Alex Pella is keeping the pressure on the race leader, pressing hard on the Botin designed Tales 2. Pella confirmed that he had damaged his preferred genoa during a sail change and anticipates losing some miles. But he expects to be under gennaker by the middle of tomorrow in easier conditions. “The main thing is I am still in the race which is important considering how the conditions have been.” Speaking less than 20 minutes before he was due to leave Camaret Briton Conrad Humphreys said: “I was shattered. We are almost there (close to completing repairs). The showstopper was the broken batten box which means the batten was no longer attached at the front of the main and I did not have any spares. It was a pretty hideous night, the waves were difficult, but I felt I had sailed reasonably well. There was a lot of reef in, reef out and it happened during one of these episodes. I am tired still but I will get back out there and try to stay with the group. That is the important thing. I am annoyed this happened.” Miranda Merron on Campagne de France was up to ninth place this afternoon, just 14.5 miles behind the leader. The English skipper reported: “ Minor issues on board, mainly the masthead wind unit which has stopped working, so no wind info at the moment – back to dinghy sailing. I should be able to plug in the spare wand, but not in this sea state. It will have to wait a few days until conditions improve. Not so good for performance. Anyway, it’s sunny today, although rather wet on deck. Can’t have it all!”

Rhum Class: Mura out in front, Sir Robin en forme In the Rhum Class defending title holder Andrea Mura on the optimised Open 50 Vento di Sardegna was 50 miles west of Ushant this afternoon, furthest offshore of the top group with a lead of 19 miles. He continues to clock high average speeds. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was on robust form this morning when he spoke to Race HQ in Saint Malo on the morning Radio Vacs: “I have seen gusts to 35 knots and am about 37 miles from Ushant. The first night I did see a 40 knot gust at one stage but I was ready for it. I got the third reef in and the storm jib up. We were alright. I am fine, absolutely fine, just looking forwards to getting past Ushant and get away. I always think you start racing at Finisterre but the main objective just now is just to get around Ushant. I am eating properly now after my stomach upset, so I am all good.” Knox-Johnston’s Grey Power was up to 12th in the class, while Finland’s Are Huusela is in eighth on his Class 40 Neste Oil.

11 abandons

1. Thomas Coville (Ultime – Sodebo Ultim’) : collision with cargo ship
2. Bertrand de Broc (IMOCA – Votre Nom autour du Monde) : elbow injury and pilot damage
3. Alain Delhumeau (Multi50 – Royan) : dismasted
4. Loïc Fequet (Multi50 – Maître Jacques) : float damaged
5. Erik Nigon (Mulit50 – Un monde sans sida) : mainsail shredded
6. Gilles Buekenhout (Multi50 – Nootka Architectes de l’urgence) : rudder broken
7. François Angoulvant (Class40 – Team Sabrosa SR 40MK2) : lost keel
8. Marc Lepesqueux (Class40 – Sensation Class40) : lost keel
9. Nicolas Troussel (Class40 – Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne) : injury
10. Thierry Bouchard (Class40 – Wallfo.com) : injury
11.Arnaud Boissières (Class40 – Du Rhum au Globe) : technical problem

 

Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Sidney Gavignet before the start of the Route du Rhum 2014 (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

Sidney Gavignet before the start of the Route du Rhum 2014 (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

 

Frenchman, Sidney Gavignet, flying Omani colours gave fans a fantastic show at the start of the Route du Rhum today in St Malo, France!

Sidney Gavignet sails out of St. Malo at the start of the Route du Rhum 2014 (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images )

Sidney Gavignet sails out of St. Malo at the start of the Route du Rhum 2014 (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images )

The giant turquoise trimaran burst off the start line in first place and wowed the crowds on the water as it picked its way amongst the vast flotilla of spectator boats through a gusty squall and out into clear water – destination Guadeloupe!

 

Sidney Gavignet at leaving St. Malo, France at the start of the Route du Rhum 2014 ( Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images )

Sidney Gavignet at leaving St. Malo, France at the start of the Route du Rhum 2014 ( Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images )

ROUTE DU RHUM - DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM – DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM - DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start      © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM – DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start © ALEXIS COURCOUX

As the tenth edition of the legendary Route du Rhum solo Transatlantic race to Guadeloupe started off Saint Malo, France this Sunday afternoon under grey skies and a moderate SSW’ly breeze. The perennial question of just how hard to push through the first 24-36 hours at sea was foremost in the minds of most of the 91 skippers.

 

When the start gun sounded at 1400hrs local time (1300hrs CET) to mark a spectacular send off for a 3,524 miles contest, which engages and entrances the French public like no other ocean race, breezes were only 15-17kts. But a tough, complicated first night at sea is in prospect, a precursor to 36 hours of bruising, very changeable breezes and big unruly seas.

Such conditions, gusting to 40kts after midnight tonight, are widely acknowledged to be potentially boat or equipment breaking. But the big ticket reward for fighting successfully through the worst of the fronts and emerging in A1 racing shape, will be a fast passage south towards Guadeloupe. Such an early gain might be crucial to the final result.

ROUTE DU RHUM - DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start      © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM – DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start © ALEXIS COURCOUX

The converse is doubly true. Any trouble or undue conservatism might be terminal as far as hopes of a podium place in any of the three classes.

In short, the maxim of not being able to win the race on the first night, but being able to lose it over that keynote, initial period, has perhaps never been truer.

The routing south is relatively direct, fast down the Iberian peninsula with a fairly straightforward, quick section under the Azores high pressure which shapes the course. The Ultimes – the giant multis – are expected to be south of Madeira by Tuesday night when the IMOCA Open 60s will already be at the latitude of Lisbon and the Class 40 leaders passing Cape Finisterre.

Vincent Riou, Vendée Globe winner who triumphed in last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre two-handed race to Brasil, said of the forecast: “I carried out statistical studies, set up 140 different routings using ten years of files in my pre-race analysis and I can’t recall a single example of the weather being as favourable for the IMOCAs as what seems to lie ahead‏.”

The change in weather from the idyllic Indian summer conditions which have prevailed through the build up weeks to gusty winds, heavy rain showers and cooler temperatures could do nothing to dampen the extraordinary ardour displayed by the crowds which so openly embrace the Rhum legend. From all walks of life, from babes-in-arms to the elderly, they descend on Saint Malo and the nearby beaches and promontories to see the start and the opening miles.

Lemonchois Leads
It was fitting then that the tens of thousands who braved the deluges and the breeze were rewarded when it was the owner of the race record, Lionel Lemonchois, winner of the Multi 50 Class in the last edition and overall winner in 2006, who passed their Cap Fréhel vantage point, 18 miles after the start line leading the whole fleet on the Ultime Prince de Bretagne.

 

Thomas Coville on Sodebo lead the Caribbean-bound armada off the start line dicing with the more nimble, smaller Multi70 of Sidney Gavignet Musandam-Oman Air which also lead for a short time. The fleet’s ultimate Ultime, the 40m long Spindrift (Yann Guichard) was seventh to Fréhel, clearly needing time and opportunity to wind up to her high average top speeds. Coville has the potent mix of tens of thousands of solo miles under his belt as well as an Ultime (the 31m long ex Geronimo of Olivier de Kersauson with new main hull and mostly new floats and a new rig) which is optimised for solo racing.

The favourites to win each of the different classes seemed to make their way quickly to the front of their respective packs. Vendée Globe victor François Gabart established a very early lead in the IMOCA Open 60s on MACIF, ahead of PRB (Vincent Riou) and Jérémie Beyou (Maitre-CoQ). In the 43 strong Class 40 fleet Sébastien Rogue quickly worked GDF SUEZ in to the lead. He remains unbeaten and won last year’s TJV. Defending class champion Italy’s Andrea Mura was at the front of the Rhum class with his highly updated Open 50 Vento di Sardegna.

Spain’s highly rated Alex Pella was second in Class 40 on Tales 2, Britain’s Conrad Humphreys 20th on Cat Phones Built For It and Miranda Merron sailing Campagne de France in 22nd.

The key international, non-French skippers made solid starts to their races. Self-preservation was key priority for 75 year old Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on Grey Power, who said pre-start that his main goal was to get safely clear of Cape Finisterre, before pressing the accelerator.

He is in good company not least with ‘junior’ rivals Patrick Morvan, 70 and Bob Escoffier, 65 all racing in this Rhum class which features race legend craft as well as sailors. Two of the original sisterships to Mike Birch’s 11.22m Olympus – which stole victory by 98 seconds in the inaugural race in 1978 – are racing in this fleet replaying the fight against the monohull Kriter V which finished second.

First to return to Saint-Malo with a technical problem- needing to repair his rigging – was the Class40 of Jean Edouard Criquioche, Région haute Normandie, who had to turn round after just 45 minutes on course. And the Portuguese skipper in the Rhum class Ricardo Diniz was also reported to be heading back with trouble with his diesel.

Order at Cap Fréhel

1 – Lionel Lemonchois (Prince de Bretagne) / 1st Ultime
2 – Sidney Gavignet (Musandam – Oman Sail)
3 – Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim’)
4 – Loïck Peyron (Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII)
5 – Sébastien Josse (Edmond De Rothschild)
6 – Yann Eliès (Paprec Recyclage)
7 – Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2)
8 – Yves Le Blévec (Actual) / 1st Multi50
9 – Francis Joyon (Idec Sport)
10 – Erwan Leroux (FenêtréA – Cardinal)
11 – Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema Région Aquitaine)
12 – François Gabart (MACIF) / 1st IMOCA
13 – Vincent Riou (PRB) 14 – Loïc Fequet (Maître Jacques)
15 – Jérémie Beyou (Maître Coq)
16 – Marc Guillemot (Safran)
17 – Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée)
18 – Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde)
19 – Tanguy De Lamotte (Initiatives-Coeur)
20 – Armel Tripon (Humble for Heroes)
21 – Erik Nigon (Vers un monde sans sida)
22 – Pierre Antoine (Olmix)
23 – Andrea Mura (Vento Di Sardegna) / 1st Rhum
24 – Sébastien Rogues (GDF SUEZ) / 1st Class40‏

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