Queen Mary 2, the world’s fastest ocean liner, will compete against the world’s fastest multihull yachts next June in a transatlantic race that will mark the centenary of the first US servicemen landing in France during World War I.
The 79,300-ton Queen Mary 2 has been challenged by four French trimarans each weighing less than 25 tons. The race, called The Bridge, will start in Saint-Nazaire at the mouth of the Loire, the spot where the US 1st Infantry Division - known as the Big Red One - landed in June 1917. The competition will end in New York, approximately five days later. Despite the massive difference in size and power between the vessels, the race’s outcome is anything but a foregone conclusion. Although the racing yachts are considerably faster, they must rely on wind and currents to maintain speed while QM2 can rely on her four 21.5 megazwatt Rolls-Royce/Alstom “Mermaid” electric propulsion pods to propel her at speeds of up to 30 knots.
After the arrival of the multihulls, the Queen Mary 2 will make her debut in Saint-Nazaire for the first time since commissioned by her owner, Cunard in January 2004. This extraordinary return to its port of origin is an event all in itself. The 345-metre long elegantly designed giant, with her 17 floors and gigantic 72-meter high chimney, is expected to arrive in the afternoon on Saturday, June 24th, exactly one hundred years to the day since the arrival of the first Americans landing in Saint-Nazaire. A deeply symbolic moment!
In the evening of Sunday, June 25th, after the many planned festivities, the Queen Mary 2, and the maxi-trimarans will come together in the estuary of the Loire, the starting area of the race. Then under the bridge of Saint-Nazaire, the resonating ring of three gunshots will signal the start of this great race. This time, as a sign of friendship!