François Gabart and his 100-foot VPLP designed trimaran Macif was first to finish The Transat bakerly, the 3050nm solo transatlantic race from Plymouth to New York. Gabart crossed the finish line Yesterday at 18:24 ET, a crossing time of 8 days, 8 hours, 54 minutes, and 39 seconds.
Gabart had enjoyed a magic carpet downwind ride across the Atlantic but his progress to the race finish was slowed as he encountered light airs crossing the Gulf Stream. The light and fickle conditions had seemingly thrown the game wide open between him and Thomas Coville on Sodebo, who this morning was 64 miles behind Macif. However, Gabart enjoyed a 118 nm margin at the finish.
The finish time, recorded by the Sandy Hook Pilot Association boat, marks the first solo race win on Macif for the 33-year-old, who in 2013 became the youngest ever winner of the Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race.
Gabart actually sailed a total distance of 4,634 nm at an average speed of 23.11 knots. Unusually for The Transat bakerly, it took him, and his close rival Thomas Coville on Sodebo, hundreds of miles south of the Azores into the tradewinds before sling-shotting northwest up to New York.
Behind the Ultimes, Gilles Lamiré (French Tech Rennes St Malo) still leads the Multi50 fleet but is also feeling the effect of the lighter conditions.
“This is a great race, I am really enjoying it,” said Lamire this morning, who is delighted that his choice of a more southerly route than Roucayrol is paying off. “I am trying to concentrate on what I am doing and I apply myself, because it’s hard. I tell myself that if I do everything right, it will continue.
“I am very happy with my trajectory,” he added. “The choice of this southern route has been carefully thought out, it was not obvious at first. But I thought the best route in the north would not avoid the (Ice Exclusion Zone) and the routing looked a little optimistic to me. But it’s true that I did not expect to be enjoying my deckchair in the sun, downwind and south of Azores – it’s amazing!”
At the head of the IMOCA 60 class, the top three boats Banque Populaire, PRB and St Michel-Virbac remain as tight as ever as they race past the western edge of the Ice Exclusion Zone, about 450 miles southeast of Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia.
In the Class40 race, the fleet is split between seven skippers following in the wake of the IMOCA 60s heading towards the Ice Exclusion zone, and Louis Duc on Carac, going it alone behind Arkema, 445 miles south of them.
Duc’s decision seems to be paying off for the moment, sailing at nine knots, compared to an average five knots by the northernmost boats who are running out of sea room up against the restricted zone. Currently Carac lies fifth overall, 75 miles behind the leaders.
But the battle in the north continues to rage with Isabelle Joschke’s Generali-Horizon Mixité *now ahead of Thibaut Vauchel-Camus on *Solidaires en Peloton-Arsep by just three miles. British skipper Phil Sharp on Imerys is still third, 28 miles behind Joschke.
Armel Tripon on Class40 Black Pepper has made the decision to retire, a result of breakages incurred over the weekend when a deep depression swept across the Atlantic. After making a stop at Horta in the Azores to assess the damage, Armel deems his situation too dire to contine.