Francis Joyon, Gwénolé Gahinet, Sébastien Picault, Quentin Ponroy and Alex Pella are passing the Nantucket traffic separation scheme this morning, which is an exclusion zone for the competitors in The Bridge 2017. While Macif, leading the way, rounded this zone via the south, IDEC SPORT continued her tack towards Cape Cod during the night and will sail between the two exclusion zones this morning on the port tack towards Long Island.
“We did a lot of manoeuvres again during the night,” explained Francis Joyon. “The sea was rough and the boat jumping up and down with the swell. We had to ease off in the thick mist.” Around 200 miles from the finish, the short-handed crew on the red and white trimaran is focusing on the approaches to the large bay off New York, where there is little wind and sailing upwind will require a lot more manoeuvres in between the exclusion zones. The finish line is under the Verrazano Brifge which they should reach tonight in amongst the shipping in the Hudson River. Francis knows this area well after his many successful transatlantic crossings.
François Gabart’s maxi-trimaran Macif is within sight of Long Island around 80 miles from the finish that they hope to reach this evening. IDEC SPORT, second, is now over 90 miles ahead of Sodebo, who were starting to catch up at the end of last week. Francis and his boys are expecting to finish at dawn (European time) on Tuesday 4th July (Independence Day), a great way to honour the arrival of the US troops in St Nazaire a hundred years ago for the First World War. “This is a great symbol, as we mustn’t forget what we owe the Americans,” declared Francis.
The skipper of IDEC SPORT is also thinking of Thierry Briend, who was injured last night on Sodebo in a fall. “Our boats leap up and down sometimes and it can be very violent particularly in the cockpit. That’s how I broke two ribs, when I fell down onto a winch in my solo round the world record.” The crew hopes to get some more rest today on calmer seas and decent temperatures, so that they are ready for the final stretch tonight. “The boat is in good condition, in spite of a lot of minor damage,” added Francis. “We will have learnt a lot from this crossing, as we were in close contact with the other boats for a long time and they are very different from ours in terms of the design choices. Everyone learnt a lot.”