French sailor Francois Gabart has won the Transat bakerly, finishing the solo race from Plymouth, England, to New York City in eight days, eight hours, 54 minutes and 39 seconds. Gabart finished the 3,050-nm race aboard the 100-foot trimaran Macif on May 10.
Fellow Frenchman Thomas Coville finished second aboard the trimaran Sodebo with a total time of eight days, 18 hours and 32 minutes.
“It was a big challenge for me. You should have 10 or 15 people to manage these boats, and it’s just me,” Gabart told organizers after finishing. “It was my first solo race on Macif, and I didn’t know if I was able to do it, so I am really proud of what I did.”
“To arrive into New York was perfect,” he continued. “The boat is in good shape. Me? Well, maybe not! I’m very tired, but I’m incredibly proud.”
The 2016 Transat field started with 25 yachts in four classes. The Ultime class of massive trimarans was the largest, followed by Multi 50 trimarans and IMOCA 60s and Class40 monohulls. Prior to this year, the race was last held in 2008.
The grueling contest, which began May 2, was eventful from the start.
On May 3, Maxime Sorel collided his Class40 VandB into a containership west of Lorient. The daytime collision damaged VandB’s bowsprit, and an uninjured Sorel was forced to retire. The same day, Erwan Le Roux, skipper of the Multi 50 FenêtréA Cardinal, abandoned the race after damage to one of the boat’s hulls.
Sébastien Josse’s IMOCA 60 Edmond de Rothschild sustained damage to its mainsail battens on May 4, and he too was forced to retire.
Armel Tripon, skipper of the Class40 Black Pepper, left the race after the vessel was damaged overnight on May 6 and 7 during a storm. On May 11, Multi 50 class sailor Lalou Roucayrol reported his trimaran Arkema had a broken daggerboard. He said the damage possibly occurred after striking an object.
The other Ultime in the race, Actual, skippered by Yves Le Blevec, was on pace to finish third overall. The smaller yachts were expected to finish starting on May 14.