From Portland to Quebec City: a little adventure for the Class40 IBSA

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From Portland to Quebec City: a little adventure for the Class40 IBSA

12 June 2024

After an ocean crossing of almost 3,500 miles, the coastal transfer from the US to Canada (1,200 miles) may seem like a walk in the park. Actually, the Class40 IBSA’s journey from New York to Quebec City – where the next regatta will start from – was a little adventure in itself.

Boat Captain Pierre “Pierrot” Regaud, supported by seaman Jacques, was tasked by Alberto Bona with transferring the Class40 IBSA from the arrival line of the Transat CIC to the starting line of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo. The transfer took place in two legs: the first from New York to Portland, Maine; the second from Portland to Quebec City.

The stop in Portland was necessary to repair the Class40 IBSA, damaged due to a delamination of part of the hull, which occurred near Ireland in the first days of the Transat CIC, probably following a collision with an unidentified floating object. After repairing the damage and completing the check-up of both boat and equipment, Pierrot and Jacques left for Canada on May 22, leaving behind – in Pierrot’s own words – “the warmth of the alleys of Portland and the Marina, sheltered from the wind”, to go back to navigate “in the cold water and winds of the open sea”.

From Portland to Port Canso, in Nova Scotia, Canada: the second leg of IBSA’s journey towards Quebec City. After a first clear night with moderate winds, Pierrot and Jacques encountered banks of thick fog, which forced them to navigate using only the radar. Once they arrived in Port Canso, they had to arm themselves with patience and dive into the water to free the propeller shaft from a stuck rope, probably coming from one of the many cages used by fishermen.

The stop at the Port Canso Marina lasted about 12 hours, just the time needed to test the GPS operativeness in anchor discharge alarm mode with light anchoring. This situation could also occur during the regatta on the San Lorenzo river section, should it become necessary to anchor the boat to counteract the opposing current. As soon as the wind weakened and turned towards the North-East, the Class40 IBSA could resume navigation.

The next stop was Gaspe, a town at the tip of the peninsula of the same name in the Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine region of eastern Quebec, about 650 km North-East of Quebec City. Here, after saying goodbye to Jacques and taking his replacement on board, Pierrot decided when and with what trim to leave and continue the journey, since the weather conditions promised to be more intense than the previous days. “The goal is to go up and down the San Lorenzo River with enough power to not suffer too much from the waves and frequent current inversions”, explained Pierrot, “I don’t want to rush into this area; with such a short weather window, it is wiser to wait to choose the right strategy!”.

The Class40 IBSA therefore left Gaspé at dawn on May 31, to have better visibility conditions and avoid the buoys in the bay at the exit of the lock. Afterwards, he stopped one last time at Tadoussac – a village of 800 in the North Shore tourist region of Quebec – to then continue without any further stop to Quebec City.

The last stretch of navigation continued without any hitches, although the route proved to be treacherous: the canal is quite narrow and “wild beyond belief”, Pierrot said. It is indeed a rocky terrain, with many trees on both sides and just as much fog. “Luckily, there was the radar: we were unable to hear the sounds clearly and even the ships getting past us appeared so suddenly that we heard the foghorn just before sighting them”, he concluded.

After plenty of fog and 15 days of navigation, in the morning of Friday, June 7, the Class40 IBSA arrived in the Quebec City Marina, whereare already moored several of the 32 Class40s that on June 30 will leave for the Transat Québec Saint-Malo, the crossing that will bring the fleet back to Europe.

On June 15, Alberto Bona will also arrive in Canada,where he will be joined by his two crew mates – Pablo Santurde del Arco and Luca Rosetti – to begin the final part of their pre-race preparation.

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