Gwénolé Gahinet and Quentin Ponroy, the two youngest members aboard IDEC SPORT share the same watch in the five-man crew with Francis Joyon outside of the watch rota ready to intervene at any moment. They told us about how they were feeling off Newfoundland and about this intense transatlantic race?
Gwénolé Gahinet: “We’re back in the sunshine. Passing the Banks was as expected from the tales of the fishermen, who used to come here. We thought about them a lot in the thick fog, cold and damp. The battle is raging on the water. Macif is fast and we’re thinking about how to grab any opportunities. We’re keeping Sodebo in check. They got back to withijn two miles of us yesterday and we watched them on the AIS. Then we tacked and got moving again. It was very tense, but exciting. We now have a lot more wind and are doing around 25 knots, sailing upwind with the big jib up. It’s our magic sail when the wind is above six knots. It’s great having such a good sail when you’rea short-handed crew, as it means we don’t have to keep changing the sail. The boat is doing well upwind, especially seeing we don’t have a canting mast. The wind should strengthen until Sunday evening. Then, we’ll tack back and it’s looking complicated off Nantucket, with 25-30 knots of wind forecast.”
Quentin Ponroy: “For my first transatlantic race, I’ve been spoilt. The boat is fantastic, safe, very safe. The crew is incredible and Captain Francis is just as friendly at sea as ashore looking after us. It’s a pleasure. I wasn’t expecting such a close contest. For a racer like me, it’s very motivating. We still believe it can be done. We have what it takes to ward off the attacks from Sodebo. It’s going to be hard getting back up with Macif, which is sailing fast with her canting mast, but the weather patterns are so weird that anything can happen. Physically, I feel fine. There have been some tough moments, in particular on the third night, when the crew spent the whole night out on the deck carrying out manoeuvres. But since then, we have managed to get some rest and we’re ready for the final stretch.”