Queen Mary 2 to race lightweight trimarans in The Bridge 2017
by Chris Jefferies
The 345 metre Cunard flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will race some of the world’s fastest multihull yachts from France to America in June 2017, it has been announced.
The race, known as The Bridge 2017, will mark the 100th anniversary of American troops landing in France during World War Two.
For the first time since her 2003 launch, Queen Mary 2 will return to her homeport of Saint-Nazaire on June 24 where an impressive line-up of racing multihulls will be waiting.
These will include the former Jules Verne trophy holder Spindrift and the 31 metre Multiplast trimaran Sodebo Ultim’, which recently broke the record for the fastest solo circumnavigation with French skipper Thomas Coville at the helm.
The fleet will set off on June 25 with aim of arriving into New York City over the weekend of July 1-2. The lightweight sailing yachts will have their work cut out trying to keep up, as Queen Mary 2 has 157,000hp at her disposal.
David Dingle, chairman of Cunard, said: “Queen Mary 2 is not only an ambassador of Great Britain, but also of France. I am sure that seeing her familiar lines return to her port of origin will be an event that will remain etched in maritime history.”
Francis Vallat, vice president of The Bridge Association and president of the support committee, added: “For 30 years I have owned or chartered boats, but this is the finest and most original that I have had the opportunity to be part of. It embodies an exciting project, innovative and exceptional."
Capable of speeds of around 30 knots, Queen Mary 2 was refitted at Blohm & Voss last summer in a three-week project that increased her capacity to 2,695 passengers.