With just enough time to get over their amazing round the world record in the Jules Verne Trophy, Francis Joyon and his incredible crew on the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran will be back racing again, when they set sail on 25th June from Saint Nazaire at the start of a highly original ocean race, which is steeped in history, The Bridge 2017. The multihull that was the fastest around the world will be taking up a rather different challenge in this transatlantic race against the prevailing winds between the Loire Estuary and New York. They will be up against three competitive giant multihulls from a more recent generation as they follow the direct route taken by the ocean liner, Queen Mary 2. A highly symbolic 3152 mile race, as it is being organised within the context of the centenary of the first doughboys arriving from the United States to take part in the winning campaign in the First World War.

While enjoying receiving the prestigious Jules Verne Trophy on 27th April in the magnificent setting of the Naval Museum in Paris, Francis Joyon was already looking forward to getting back with his amazing crew and his mighty IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran for the next chapter in their ocean racing career. “Our round the world race obviously affected the boat, which needs a thorough clean up. No major changes are being made to her structure or to the rig. We’ll be racing in this new race, The Bridge, in the same technical configuration as in the Jules Verne Trophy, with the same sails and the short mast, which worked so well for us.”

An almost identical crew

There is going to be a slight change to the crew. The experienced Swiss sailor, Bernard Stamm will be busy in the Tour de France sailing race aboard the Diam 24 Cheminées Poujoulat and so will be handing over his place to the sailmaker, Quentin Ponroy (30). “Quentin has a very interesting profile,” explained the skipper of IDEC-SPORT. “He is an expert in small multihulls, as he has won the Tour de France sailing race. As a sailmaker, he will offer his expert eye to our sails and will be very helpful in that area.” Guénolé Gahinet, Alex Pella, Clément Surtel and Sébastien Audigane will enjoy racing together again after everything slotted together perfectly in the round the world voyage. “We’re really pleased to be able to get back together,” insisted Alex. “We’ll be finding that combination again that worked so well for the 40 days and 23 hours it took us to sail around the world.”

“We’ll be setting off without any real pressure on us,”
added Francis Joyon. “It is always interesting to be in a close contest and we’ll be seeing how we do against these giants as we race across the North Atlantic where the weather can always be complicated.” The Bridge will in fact see four of the biggest ocean racing multihulls up against each other with IDEC SPORT competing alongside Thomas Coville’s Sodebo, François Gabart’s Macif and Yves Le Blévec’s Actual. “With each of them having very different characteristics, it is going to be interesting to compare these boats.”

THE BRIDGE in short

A bridge of friendship between France and the United States, THE BRIDGE 2017 is celebrating a century of exchanges and friendship between the two countries, a hundred years on from the arrival of the first American soldiers in the First World War.

3 weeks of special events:
– 16th to 22nd June: Saint-Nazaire
– 22nd to 25th June: Nantes
– 1st to 6th July: New York

A brand new race between the Queen Mary 2 and four giant trimarans:
– Thomas Coville (SODEBO)
– François Gabart (MACIF)
– Francis Joyon (IDEC)
– Yves le Blevec (ACTUAL)

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