It’s been a busy and very strategic night south of Nova Scotia for the three leading trimarans in The Bridge 2017. With a strengthening SW’ly flow expected later today as they head towards New York, Macif, IDEC SPORT and Sodebo changed tack twice during the night.A wise decision leaving them time to rest with 600 miles to go to the finish and the possibility of an opening as they approach New York.

“We decied to stay a little further north than Macif, as there was no point in lining up behind them,” declared Francis Joyon. “It’s going to be hard to close the gap, unless we run into the buffers off NewYork, which is possible and would lead us to all bunching up agin and a new start to the Verrezano Bridge and the finish.” There looks like being a lot of wind for everyone today. The sea has been incredibly calm since leaving the coast of France, but now the choppy conditions are making it harder to keep up high speeds with the wind getting above 25 knots. “We can already feel the wind strengtheningand the sea state is worsening. It looks like being a rough old day.”

Sailing upwind is something the crew has got used to over the past week, but it is very uncomfortable and the sailors are getting tired after a week at sea. “We are going to have to carry out a lot of manoeuvres and tack upwind to make headway south, which means sail changes, taking in reefs and reducing the headsail.” Macif is out in front keeping her opponents in check. IDEC SPORT, sailing without a canting mast means she can’t easily keep up the pace, but this morning is only 75 miles behind. The four crewmen alongside Francis Joyon have managed to extend their lead to 80 miles over Sodebo, after the latter apparently damaged her rudder after colliding with a mammal.

The sailors are looking ahead to the final stretch to New York, which is looking complicated with all the exclusion zones. “I’m pleased there is an exclusion zone to protect the whales off Cape Cod,” explained Francis. 3Yesterday, we had a lot of dolphins alongside us. We haven’t seen any big cetaceans, which is good news. Our daggerboard is vibrating a little and I’m using that noise to act as a warning sound for the whales sleeping just under the surface.” Typical of Joyon to think about that.”

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