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

 

 

Photo By PIERRICK CONTIN / DPPI / Vendée Globe

Photo By PIERRICK CONTIN / DPPI / Vendée Globe

Arnaud Boissieres spoke of his win today ” My boat was extraordinary. She already came sixth and fifth and now seventh, so I owe her a lot. It’s a bit like Roxy coming first, first and fourth. It is the designers, who came up with these great boats, and I just try to drive it as best I can. I tried not to break anything as I would have been told off afterwards. The first to come out to me this morning was Dee Caffari, which was great as we did a lot of the race together and we often communicated with each other. These English sailors are extraordinary and I had a good relationship with Dee in particular. When you see all the people here, you start to wonder if you haven’t done something extraordinary. I don’t believe I’ve done anything out of the ordinary. I just sailed her as well as I could.”

“ Of course, I didn’t expect such a welcome. There were crowds for Michel, Armel and Marc, so maybe people said it would be unfair if there weren’t crowds out for me. When I entered this harbour two and a half years ago, it already felt like I was in the Vendée Globe.”

“ I was down at Cape Horn just ahead of Aviva. I turned left. I was warned that it was not easy after the Horn. But Aviva and Pindar really sail quickly and I had a tough time with the fishermen off Brazil and the oil rigs. I called up my project manager who told me it was normal that I was left behind and to head for the coast of Brazil, where it is nice and warm. On the radio sessions, I could only repeat the same thing every time – fishermen, oil rigs, no wind…”

“ When you see people like Mich and Vincent Riou and Peyron in the race, you think you don’t have much chance –maybe tenth or fifteenth if you’re lucky, but finishing was really the goal, so finishing seventh is great. After 105 days alone, you necessarily change somewhere inside. Your family, partner and team are also transformed. Of course, there were some hard times. Gusts at 85 knots. I call up Denis Horeau, the Race Director, and he tells me they’re looking at the weather for the three of us at the Horn. So the race was suspended. I’ve known Brian for some time and now I know Dee well, so it was nice to be with them and it all went well.”

“ Off Tierra del Fuego, you have violent gusts. You see the snow-capped mountains and as you approach the Horn, you tell yourself you have to merit the Horn. When you’re in the storm, you don’t have time to worry. You get ready for it and get your food and water and survival gear together and just wait. You can’t sleep or rest as you wonder how bad it will be. After you have a great story to tell and you feel like you have accomplished something. Brian told me to get close to the Horn to see what it looked like. I did the English Vendée Globe. I knew Brian from the Mini days and Sam and as I said before, Dee is extraordinary.”

“This wasn’t a challenge going back to my past. I got over my problems with support of those around me. I don’t see it as revenge for those trying times. I’m just lucky to earn my living from my passion. I’m someone who is privileged. Thanks to people like Jean-Philippe Chomette.”

The future? I’m already thinking of setting out again and starting a new 4-year campaign to develop a boat and team.

“ The team? This is vital. You need to get on with them. We’re only a small team with a group of friends, who come and help. To begin with, I owe everything to my parents, my sisters, who have always supported me. There aren’t words to describe the family. You need that solid support on land. My Dad told me not to say anything stupid when talking in a crowd.”

“vFollowing my leukaemia at the age of 17, I underwent treatment for 18 months. When I began this project with Jean-Philippe Chomette and Christophe Chabot, I met Christine Janin, who was the first Frenchwomen to climb Everest. She welcomes sick kids to the Alps. When I did the Round the Island race, we said there was a parallel between the sea and mountains, so we did a partnership with that charity. It seemed natural. There was no calculation in choosing that charity.”

“ I’m looking forward to fresh fish and fresh vegetables and a gin and tonic with more gin than tonic.”

Light airs and a beautiful starry night was the report back to Oman Sail HQ this morning, “we are expecting to be becalmed” Charlie commented and according to the regular positions reports this happened at around 1000 GMT when Musandam was polled traveling at 2.5 knots.

These light airs are not due to last according to Commanders Weather as a series of fast moving weather systems are expected to pass over Musandam into early next week. 20 knot (40 km per hour) winds from the west  are due to reach them later today then diminish early Saturday, another fast moving low pressure will reach them but 1200 GMT on Saturday bringing gale force winds of 40-50 (75-100 km per hour) knots . This ever changing weather combined with the Ice watch requires vigilance in the routing by navigator, skipper and crew for safe passage to the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope.

CLS continue to monitor the ice situation in the South Atlantic, Musandam’s ice gate 3 has been confirmed at 40 -30 degrees west / 48 degrees south. This gate should leave a margin of around 150 nautical miles above current ice positions. Good tracking date from CLS means that the routing for the boat will continue to push them north and away from the areas of ice.

Spirit of Canada Update from Hobart
Hello from Algimouss Spirit of Canada Hobart, Tasmania It’s been six weeks since arriving in Hobart with Algimouss Spirit of Canada. During this time we have been slowly getting the boat back to sailing configuration. The remaining Vendee Globe competitors have been racing to the finish in Les Sables and it has been fantastic following the race from the sidelines but I must admit to a twinge of “unfinished business” for us as I watch and read about them going up the “channel” in Les Sables. It’s pure magic and it makes my resolve even stronger to be a part of the race again in four years time. The team has a lot of hurdles to overcome and they won’t be easy but that is why the Vendee Globe is the hardest race in the world.   The new rigging from Navtec has arrived and the two spreaders for the mast are slated to arrive early on Monday the 16th February and with some luck with the weather, the mast will be back up Monday evening. I’ve decided to sail the boat back and it will take about 3 days to prepare for departure. The auction for a co-skipper has not been productive and shipping the boat back has now been ruled out due to the costs. I am really anxious to get the boat home so that we can move forward with the campaign and start preparing for the future. I plan on doing regular updates along the way and will provide as much commentary and pictures as possible. The route from Hobart will take us across the Tasman Sea, south of New Zealand, across the South Pacific, around Cape Horn and north to the North Atlantic. I won’t be alone on the course though as two other races are currently doing the same route. The Volvo Ocean Race and the Portimao Global Ocean Race fleets will be sailing the same waters and rounding the infamous set of rocks at Cape Horn at about the same. More news on the departure from Hobart in about four day’s time .

Derek

 

Here is a little tune to ring in the season from our friend Bruce Schwab, the Skipper of Ocean Planet.      Merry Christmas Bruce and Everyone from us at Challenge and Adventure.