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What you need to know about the finish......

The Transat CIC: some questions about the imminent finishes answered

 Estimated times of arrival, weather conditions, why the line is so far from the city... here are some brief explanations…


First up, why is the finish line so far from the coast? In fact as you can see on the tracker, the sailors will not finish the race in New York strictly speaking but some 110 miles from the ‘Big Apple’, where the finish line is. Its position is a joint decision made between all stakeholders in the race including the IMOCA class. The primary reason is the safety and  integrity of the boats. The IMOCAs now are capable of speeds in the high 20s and this waterway s a very busy area for maritime traffic (fishing boats, container ships, etc.) but it’s also a place where the density of marine mammals is particularly high. Race Direction has already set a particularly dense cetacean protection zone to the the North-East, thus preventing skippers from taking a route up to Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. And, between the finish line and New York, “the seabed ascends suddenly onto the continental shelf and the whales are located between the coast and these seabeds”, explains Francis Le Goff, the race director. Hence why this finish line is positioned so far out to sea.

How much time will there be between the line and arrival at the pontoons?

Once they cross the finish line offshore, the boats will reduce their speed. “The idea is that they can return at low speed in a corridor to New York or Newport, where the marinas are located,” explains Le Goff. Patience will be requited as the skippers will take “at least ten hours” between crossing the line and arriving on land.

Where will the skippers go when they arrive on land?

The organization leaves the choice to sailors and their teams to make the journey in New York Bay and go around the Statue of Liberty. The vast majority of skippers have said that they will do so. Furthermore, not everyone will go to the same marina due to space issues. Some will be moored at One15  by Brooklyn heights, some at Moonbeam near Rockaway Beach, others to Newport. Although the pontoons will not be open to the general public, the boats will nevertheless be visible from the land. It is near the Moonbeam marina, at the Miramar Yacht Club, partner of the race, that all the sea logistics teams and the race management will be located.

When will the first ones cross the line?

A good question, and  a hard one given the current divergence between the weather models. ETAs (Estimated Time of Arrival) are always difficult to provide accurately in offshore racing. “The finish promises to be long and slow,” said leader Yoann Richomme on Saturday. “5% difference in speed can lead to a 24-hour gap.” However, the first in IMOCA could finish around 8 p.m. (East Coast time), i.e. midnight in France on the night of Monday to Tuesday. He would thus arrive at the pontoon around 10 a.m., or 2 p.m. (French time).

How to follow the finish…. All The Transat CIC teams are mobilized to make you experience the finish as closely as possible. Social networks and the race website will allow you to know everything about the time of passage, everyone's positions and to discover the sailors' first reactions. A live video, available on the race site, on YouTube and social networks, will also be offered during the arrival of the first three into New York, the circumnavigation of the Statue of Liberty and their emotions at the pontoons. This system will also be repeated for the finish of the Class40s.