The Centennial Transat – The Bridge – from Saint-Nazaire to New York began in a remarkable way at 19:00 today, 100 years after American troops arrived on the coast of France. The cannon shots were sounds of fraternity to launch the race between the Queen Mary 2 and four of the largest and fastest trimarans in the world. The start of ocean races is always an emotional event, but this one was especially meaningful.
On Saturday, thousands of people lined the harbor and shore to welcome the Queen Mary 2 into the Brittany harbor where it was built. The Loire estuary was alive again as the only remaining ocean liner in the world weighed anchor and the four trimarans, equally impressive in their class, set sail in light airs under a cloudless sky.
The trimarans were unsurprisingly faster off the mark, but the Queen Mary 2 (1,132 feet/345m) is a strong favorite to win the 3,152-mile (5,837 km) transat and her arrival under the Verrazano Bridge in New York is expected at 08:00 on Saturday, July 1. The crewed “Ultime” class trimarans – Macif (François Gabart), Idec Sport (Francis Joyon), Sodebo Ultim’ (Thomas Coville) and Team Actual, (Yves Le Blévec) – which are all over 25 meters long, are expected to finish between one and two days later. As forecast, because the race is against the prevailing winds, the trimarans will be working their way upwind to the north, while the QM2 can power direct to New York.