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X-Yachts AUS X4 728 - 2

Trimarans begin to fly as Queen Mary 2 passes rescue point

by The Bridge on 28 Jun 2017
Queen Mary 2 - The Bridge 2017 Crosbie Lorimer http://www.crosbielorimer.com
The Queen Mary 2 looks unbeatable at the front of The Bridge - Centennial Transat but during the second day of racing on Tuesday she was finally being outpaced as the “Ultime” class trimarans behind her spread their wings and began to fly.

After heading north, just west of the British Isles to get through the anticyclone that faced them in the Bay of Biscay from the start, all four have now tacked west. IDEC Sport (Francis Joyon) and MACIF (François Gabart) were first to the depression and were making over 30 knots as they continued to exchange the lead. At the 19:00 ranking, Joyon was leading, with Gabart 13 miles behind, with 2,351 miles of the 3,152-mile course to New York to go.

But unlike the QM2, heading directly to New York at 24 knots, the trimarans are having to square the great circle. “The race is anything but straightforward,” Joyon said. “There’s no direct route in sight, and a lot of depressions to negotiate. It reminds me of my English Transats.”

Sodebo (Thomas Colville) lost ground overnight and in the morning, and was 85 miles behind, but was also making over 30 knots by the afternoon. “Things have not been going super smoothly for us,” Vincent Riou, on Sodebo, said. “We missed two or three tricks and suffered a bit after. A few things played out from there overnight, it's the life of offshore racing and it’s still long road.”

Actual (Yves Le Blévec) was 200 miles behind Joyon, but gradually revving up over 20 knots. Samantha Davies, the only Briton in the race, on Actual reported this morning that even before they tacked west life was already becoming more difficult as their boat began to jump the waves.

“The wind has filled in since yesterday afternoon and now things are more like you'd expect when crossing the North Atlantic,” Davies wrote. “We're heading upwind, it's grey with bands of rain. Actual is starting to jump the waves and suddenly it's starting to be less easy to eat, sleep etc! The crew says it's normal to find these conditions here because we’re going to England!”

None of the skippers will need any reminding of how tough the North Atlantic can be, not least Chris Wells, the captain of the Queen Mary 2. At 21:00 (French time), after just over two days since the departure, she was due to pass just 25 miles south of the spot to which she diverted in order to rescue a stricken solo skipper competing in the OSTAR transatlantic race just over two weeks ago.

Mervyn Wheatley, a 73-year-old ex-Royal Marine from Newton Ferrers, competing in the race for the fifth time, was taking on water through a smashed port hole after his 38-footer, Tamarind, was knocked flat in reported 60 knot winds and 15-metre waves. When the QM2 arrived to save him he had to scupper his yacht to avoid it being a danger to other shipping.

For more information, www.thebridge2017.com.
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