During the delivery of the 60ft monohull, Safran, to New York, Morgan Lagravière is participating in a literary project organised by les éditions Gallimard and the Grand Prix Guyader. This innovative project enables an IMOCA skipper and author, who has remained on land, to write about what an Atlantic crossing means to them. Olivier Frébourg, the writer, journalist and great maritime voyager, published by Gallimard, is following the journey of the skipper of Safran. Here Morgan'logbook.
It is the morning of May 6 and we are setting off for New York! We delayed our departure, which was originally planned for two days earlier, because of the weather conditions, and it allowed us to benefit from a bit more time with our loved ones before this month and a half of absence, competitions and adventures…
The mooring lines have been released, the sails hoisted and it is time to go! The tip of Brittany is already in our wake. The conditions are mild and downwind for this opening part of the crossing. We are still crossing paths with a few sail and fishing boats before we find ourselves in the middle of the ocean.
Day 2: The conditions are strengthening and the weather files indicate that we will go around a depression to the north in a strong downwind: the beginning of this transat looks fast and torrid – it's a good test for the boat!
The watches on board carry on without precise timing or particular rhythm; our good relationships and the kind of people we are means we can naturally organise the various responsibilities on board.
Day 3: Safran is going wild, accelerating up to 30 knots and with a very high average speed that is allowing us to eat up the miles like a multihull…However the humidity, noise and violence of the movements of the boat are the price to pay for heading to New York without training and continuing to test our boat, which is still not used to conditions like these.
Day 4: Crack! Gildas is on the helm and sees the port rudder torn off in a split second. The boat is almost uncontrollable! It's all hands on deck to make the boat safe as quickly as possible…The headsail is rolled up and we tack to sail on the starboard rudder. The storm jib is up and we are taking the safest route possible in view of the weather conditions. We have to let the shore team know and make the best decisions for the next phase. It's a long night, full of disappointment punctuated by huge waves and big gusts, sometimes over 50 knots.
Day 5: Our incredibly dynamic shore team, our partners and the support of our loved ones quickly fills us back up with energy, desire and belief…Given the forecast for the coming days, the technical problem and our distance from the coast, we make the decision to divert the boat to the Azores. It's all hands on deck again, but this time for the shore team! They have to find a solution to replace the rudder, send it to the Azores and ensure that the boat can continue on its way to New York.
We are arriving in the Azores, Stan and Ludo and the team are waiting there already with a new rudder under their arms: thanks smart guys!!
The new rudder has been fixed quickly and we were able to take back the sea on Friday, May 13th, late in the afternoon, at about 6 pm (8 pm the hour French time).