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Entering The Starting Gates For 2021-22 Ocean Race

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  • Entering The Starting Gates For 2021-22 Ocean Race

    Top tier international fleet assembles in Lorient for The Ocean Race Europe start

    May 22, 2021. 11th Hour Racing Team sailing in Concarneau, France in the lead up to the start of The Ocean Race Europe.
    © Amory Ross / 11th Hour Racing
    International ocean racing teams from around the world are assembling in Lorient, France this week ahead of the start of the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe on Saturday May 29.

    Designed to showcase professional fully-crewed offshore racing, this new European multi-stage race has attracted a top-tier entry of 12 teams representing nine countries.

    The race is open to two classes of high-performance ocean-going racing yachts: the 65-foot one-design VO65 and the 60-foot development rule IMOCA 60. Both classes of boat are capable of high speeds and in the right conditions can cover 600 nautical miles or more in 24-hours.

    The Ocean Race Europe’s 2000-nautical mile (nm) / 3,700-kilometre (km) course will take the teams from Lorient to Genova, Italy, with stops in Cascais, Portugal, and Alicante, Spain along the way.

    The race start on May 29 will be broadcast live on Eurosport across over 50 markets in Europe and can be seen internationally on and @theoceanrace YouTube and Facebook platforms. Coverage begins at 13.30 CEST ahead of a 13.45 race start.

    The Ocean Race Europe is run by the organisers of The Ocean Race – a gruelling multi-stage around the world race which takes place every four years. The first around-the-world race was contested in 1973 and over the 13 editions of the event, The Ocean Race has become the pinnacle of professional fully crewed ocean racing.

    This year’s inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe leads off a ten-year calendar of racing activity that includes confirmed editions of the around-the-world race taking place on a four-year cycle beginning in 2022-23.

    The Ocean Race Europe is also part of the IMOCA Globe Series which runs from 2021 through to the 2024-25 Vendée Globe single-handed non-stop around-the-world race.

    Many of the teams taking part in The Ocean Race Europe are also planning to compete in the next around-the-world edition of The Ocean Race which is scheduled to start in the Autumn of 2022 from the Spanish city of Alicante, where the race’s headquarters are located.

    Sailors from 23 nationalities are competing in The Ocean Race Europe, with each of the teams’ crew-lists including some of the top names in international yacht racing – along with a selection of young talented newcomers, each eager to make their mark on the professional ocean racing scene.

    Racing in both the VO65 and IMOCA 60 classes is expected to be close and exciting, with the overall winners in each fleet unlikely to be decided until the finish of a coastal race in Genova on June 19.

    CORUM L'Épargne IMOCA team skippered by Nicolas Troussel will race in The Ocean Race Europe.
    © Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE / CORUM l'Épargne
    The IMOCA Teams

    In the foiling IMOCA 60 division three French teams are joined by entries from the United States and Germany.

    The American 11th Hour Racing Team is led by US yachtsman Charlie Enright – a veteran of two around-the-world editions of The Ocean Race. Based out of the east coast American city of Newport, Rhode Island, the crew recently made a transatlantic crossing to take part in The Ocean Race Europe.

    Joining Enright for the race as navigator is British five-time around-the-world racer Simon Fisher, along with the highly experienced Pascal Bidégorry from France – a serial around-the-world racer who won The Ocean Race 2017-18 edition with Dongfeng Race Team – and Swiss two-time The Ocean Race competitor, Justine Mettraux. Also aboard will be the team’s highly accomplished onboard reporter, Amory Ross (USA).

    Fresh off the back of an impressive third-place finish in the 2020-21 Vendée Globe singlehanded nonstop around-the-world race, French skipper Louis Burton leads the Bureau Vallée entry in The Ocean Race Europe.

    "We are very enthusiastic because the initiative between the IMOCA class and The Ocean Race is very positive and intelligent," Burton said. "We feel fortunate to be able to go racing around Europe. I think it hasn't been an easy event to organise in this time, so we are thankful as it’s great to be able to go to stopovers like Cascais, Alicante and Genova... It’s amazing to have five IMOCA and seven VO65 boats together on the starting line only a few weeks after the end of the Vendée Globe."

    Burton’s core crew is made up of fellow French sailor Davy Beaudart as navigator, as well as Burton’s wife Servane Escoffier – another highly experienced ocean racer. The team plans to rotate in several other experienced French offshore racers during the race, as well as British Vendée Globe competitor Pip Hare.

    CORUM L’Épargne skipper Nicolas Troussel might be best known for his solo sailing success, having twice won France’s hallowed Solitaire du Figaro, but the Frenchman has assembled an equally competitive trio of talent for his tilt at The Ocean Race Europe.

    Joining Troussel on board the team’s state of the art IMOCA 60 is renowned French yachtsman Sébastien Josse, as well as French pair Marie Riou and Benjamin Schwartz, who both competed in the 2017-18 around-the-world edition of The Ocean Race, and together won the 2020 EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship.

    French skipper Thomas Ruyant and his latest generation IMOCA 60 return to racing again after finishing sixth in the 2020-21 edition of the Vendée Globe. The team is supporting LinkedOut, an innovative initiative that helps homeless people in France find a job by giving them an opportunity to showcase their resume and to show who they really are.

    Racing alongside Ruyant will be a highly experienced all-French line-up featuring Morgan Lagravière – Ruyant’s co-skipper for the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre race later this year – as well as Quentin Ponroy, Laurent Bourguès, and 2020-21 Vendée Globe competitor Clarisse Crémer.

    Offshore Team Germany is led by German Olympian and experienced offshore skipper Robert Stanjek and the team has set its sights on racing around the world in The Ocean Race 2022-23.

    For The Ocean Race Europe Stanjek has recruited British Olympian and two-time around-the-world racer Annie Lush, as well as the talented young German sailor Phillip Kasüske, and French solo sailor Benjamin Dutreux, who finished ninth in the 2020-21 Vendée Globe. The team’s OBR is Felix Diemer from Germany.

    Offshore Team Germany, skippered by Robert Stanjek for The Ocean Race Europe.
    © Offshore Team Germany
    The VO65 Fleet

    The VO65 class has been used for the last two around-the-world editions of The Ocean Race and the fleet is set for a third lap of the world in the upcoming 2022-23 edition. Built to a strict one-design rule, the boats are identical in every way, and therefore extremely evenly matched.

    The VO65 division in The Ocean Race Europe is made up of two entries from the Netherlands, as well as one each from Austria, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, and Portugal.

    Dutch-flagged entry AkzoNobel Ocean Racing is led by Australian skipper Chris Nicholson, one of the world’s most experienced around-the-world racers. The team’s international line-up blends proven experience with exciting young talent, and features Britain’s Will Harris as navigator, as well as Australians Liz Wardley and Lucas Chapman as boat captain and watch leader respectively. Also on board is British bowman Trystan Seal, as well as Rosalin Kuiper (NED), Rory Hunter (GBR), Giulio Bertelli (ITA), and Charlie Wyatt (AUS).

    Lithuanian entry Ambersail-2 is led by Lithuanian London 2012 Olympian skipper Rokas Milevičius. The crew includes 2016 Vendee Globe competitor Conrad Colman (NZL) as navigator, as well as Lithuanian sailors Domantas Juškevičius, Deimantė Jarmalavičiūtė, plus Tomas and Linas Ivanauskas.

    Led by Dutch skipper Gerwin Jansen – an accomplished offshore racer with a highly competitive reputation – The Austrian Ocean Race Project is a young and ambitious team of international sailors with a shared enthusiasm for big boat sailing. Despite positioning themselves as the ‘new kids on the block’ this team plans to use The Ocean Race Europe to establish its credentials. For The Ocean Race Europe the team will operate a core crew of sailors made up of Oliver Kobale (AUT), navigator Jolbert van Dijk (NED), watch leaders Michiel Goegebeur (NED) and Konstantin Kobale (AUT), and sail trimmer Anna Luschan (AUT), with other sailors rotated in on each of the offshore legs.

    Portuguese entry Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team is led by the noted French ocean racer Yoann Richomme with a crew list packed with sailors from the 2017-18 around-the-world edition of The Ocean Race – plus some keen newcomers.

    The Mirpuri line-up is made up of navigator Nico Lunven (FRA), watch leader Jack Bouttell (GBR), bowman Olly Young (GBR), mid bow Emily Nagel (GBR), helmsman/trimmers Bernardo Freitas (POR) and Frederico Pinheiro Melo (POR), pitman Willy Altadill (ESP), floater Mariana Lobato (POR) and OBR Martin Keruzore (FRA).

    Dutch ocean racer Bouwe Bekking – a skipper who has become synonymous with The Ocean Race since he first raced around the world back in 1985-86 – leads the Sailing Poland crew which includes the highly regarded Norwegian racing navigator Aksel Magdhal, as well as experienced ocean racer Jens Dolmer from Denmark as boat captain, and the young but experienced Simbad Quiroga from Spain as bowman.

    "What I'm looking forward to the most is just to be our sailing and racing again," said Bekking from Stockhom, where his team had taken part in a short prologue event. "To have this event in between the around the world races is important for all of us. We have a young team, and we want to give them an opportunity to learn about what ocean racing is all about."

    The youngsters on Bekking's team are a group of talented young Polish sailors keen to ramp up their professional ocean racing experience: Maja Micińska; Anna Weinzieher; Alan Alkhatab; Stan Bajerski; Kacper Gwóźdź; Mateusz Gwóźdź; Gustaw Miciński. Sailing Poland’s OBR is Adam Burdylo (POL).

    Skippered by Dutch two-time America’s Cup winner Simeon Tienpont, Team Childhood I features an experienced core crew comprising Dutchmen Gerd-Jan Poortman, Peter van Niekerk, and Wouter Verbraak (navigator) and former Olympian Pieter-Jan Postma.

    Additionally, the team has assembled a pool of talented Dutch, Swedish and South African sailors to rotate onboard during three legs of The Ocean Race Europe, including: Jelmer van Beek; Rutger Vos; Laura van Veen; Arianne van de Loosdrecht; Matt Whitehead (RSA); Julius Hallström (SWE); Robin Jacobs; Lars van Stekelenborg; Max Deckers.

    Viva México skipper Erik Brockmann is a talented Mexican sailor who previously led two Mexican teams in the Extreme Sailing Series, as well as racking up thousands of miles of offshore racing – including six editions of the prestigious Transpac Race.

    Brockmann is flanked by two experienced watch captains in the form of Spaniards

    Roberto 'Chuny' Bermúdez – a competitor in seven editions of The Ocean Race – and Jaime Arbones, as well as Mexico’s Juan Varela and Juan Luis Medina, Carlos Robles (ESP) Miguel Fernández (ESP), Moritz Spitzauer (AUT), Nadir Balena (ITA), and Eugenia Bosco (ARG). Viva México’s OBR is Jen Edney (USA).

    The Ocean Race Europe starts from Lorient on Saturday May 29 and finishes in Genova, Italy on June 19. As well as the three equally scored offshore legs – Leg 1: Lorient to Cascais, Portugal; Leg 2 Cascais to Alicante, Spain; and Leg 3 Alicante to Genova, Italy – the teams will also race two shorter coastal races in Cascais and Genova with bonus points being awarded to the top three finishers.

    As a prelude to the start of the first leg from Lorient, on Friday May 28 all the teams will compete in a non-scoring race around the nearby Ile de Groix.

    VO65 Teams / Crew lists

    AkzoNobel Ocean Racing – (NED)

    Skipper: Chris Nicholson (AUS)
    Boat captain: Liz Wardley (AUS)
    Navigator: Will Harris (GBR)
    Watch captain: Lucas Chapman (GBR)
    Trystan Seal (GBR)
    Trimmer/OBR: Rosalin Kuiper (NED)
    Rory Hunter (GBR)
    Charlie Wyatt (AUS)
    Giulio Bertelli (ITA)
    More info:

    Ambersail-2 – (LTU)

    Skipper: Rokas Milevičius (LTU)
    Navigator: Conrad Colman (NZL)
    Watch Captain: Tomas Ivanauskas (LTU)
    Watch Captain: Linas Ivanauskas (LTU)
    Domantas Juškevičius (LTU)
    Arnas Eimutis (LTU)
    Deimantė Jarmalavičiūtė (LTU)
    Domantas Juškevičius (LTU)
    OBR: Aiste Ridikaite: (LTU)
    More info:

    Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team – (POR)

    Skipper: Yoann Richomme (FRA)
    Navigator: Nico Lunven (FRA)
    Watch captain: Jack Bouttell (GBR)
    Olly Young (GBR)
    Helm/trimmer: Bernardo Freitas (POR)
    Pit: Willy Altadill (ESP)
    Helm/trimmer: Frederico Pinheiro Melo (POR)
    Mariana Lobato (POR)
    Emily Nagel (GBR)
    Rob Bunce (GBR)
    OBR: Martin Keruzore (FRA)
    More info:

    Sailing Poland – (POL)

    Skipper: Bouwe Bekking (NED)
    Navigator: Aksel Magdhal (NOR)
    Boat captain: Jens Dolmer (DEN)
    Watch captain: Joca Signorini (BRA)
    Simbad Quiroga (ESP)
    Maja Micińska (POL)
    Anna Weinzieher (POL)
    Alan Alkhatab (POL)
    Stan Bajerski (POL)
    Kacper Gwóźdź (POL)
    Mateusz Gwóźdź (POL)
    Gustaw Miciński (POL)
    OBR: Adam Burdylo (POL)
    More info:

    Team Childhood I – (NED)

    Skipper: Simeon Tienpont (NED)
    Navigation: Wouter Verbraak (NED)
    Watch captain: Gerd-Jan Poortman (NED)
    Watch captain: Peter van Niekerk (NED)
    Pieter-Jan Postma (NED)
    Jelmer van Beek (NED)
    Rutger Vos (NED)
    Laura van Veen (NED)
    Arianne van de Loosdrecht (NED)
    Matt Whitehead (RSA)
    Julius Hallström (SWE)
    Robin Jacobs (NED)
    Lars van Stekelenborg (NED)
    Max Deckers (NED)
    OBR: Brend Schuil (NED)
    More info:

    The Austrian Ocean Race Project – (AUT)

    Full race:
    Skipper: Gerwin Jansen (NED)
    Navigator: Jolbert van Dijk (NED)
    Oliver Kobale (AUT)
    Watch captain: Michiel Goegebeur (NED)
    Watch captain: Konstantin Kobale (AUT)
    Trimmer: Anna Luschan (AUT)

    Leg 1
    Trimmer: Annika Möslein (GER, BRA)
    Helm/trimmer: Pieter Tack (BEL)
    James Crampton (GBR)
    OBR: Andre Carmo (POR)

    Legs 2 & 3
    Helm/trimmer: Catherine Hunt (GBR)
    Pit/Trimmer: Thomas Joffrin (FRA)
    Helm/trimmer: Lara Poljšak (SLO)
    Helm/trimmer: Michael Seifarth (GER)
    Trimmer: Quentin Bes-Green (GBR)
    OBR: (Leg 2): Eike Schurr (GER)
    OBR: (Leg 3) Stefan Leitner (AUT)
    More info:

    Viva México – (MEX)

    Skipper: Erik Brockmann (MEX)
    Watch captain: Roberto 'Chuny' Bermúdez de Castro (ESP)
    Watch captain: Jaime Arbones (ESP)
    Juan Varela (MEX)
    Juan Luis Medina (MEX)
    Carlos Robles (ESP)
    Miguel Fernández (ESP)
    Moritz Spitzauer (AUT)
    Nadir Balena (ITA)
    Eugenia Bosco (ARG)
    OBR: Jen Edney (USA)
    More info:

    IMOCA 60 Teams / Crew lists

    11th Hour Racing Team – (USA)

    Skipper: Charlie Enright (USA)
    Navigator: Simon Fisher (GBR)
    Helm/trimmer: Pascal Bidégorry (FRA)
    Helm/trimmer: Justine Mettraux (SUI)
    OBR: Amory Ross (USA)
    More info:

    Bureau Vallée – (FRA)

    Leg 1
    Skipper: Louis Burton (FRA)
    Navigator: Davy Beaudart (FRA)
    Trimmer: Servane Escoffier (FRA)
    Thibault Hector (FRA)
    Christophe Bachmann (FRA)

    Leg 2
    Louis Burton (FRA)
    Davy Beaudart (FRA)
    Pip Hare (GBR)
    Jean-René Guilloux (FRA)
    Arthur Hubert (FRA)

    Leg 3
    Louis Burton (FRA)
    Davy Beaudart (FRA)
    Servane Escoffier (FRA)
    Baptiste Hulin (FRA)
    Clément Commagnac (FRA)
    More info:

    CORUM L’Épargne – (FRA)

    Skipper: Nicolas Troussel (FRA)
    Sébastien Josse (FRA)
    Marie Riou (FRA)
    Benjamin Schwartz (FRA)
    More info:

    LinkedOut – (FRA)

    Leg 1
    Skipper: Thomas Ruyant (FRA)
    Morgan Lagravière (FRA)
    Clarisse Crémer (FRA)
    Quentin Ponroy (FRA)
    Laurent Bourguès (FRA)

    Leg 2
    Skipper: Thomas Ruyant (FRA)
    Morgan Lagravière (FRA)
    Clarisse Crémer (FRA)
    Quentin Ponroy (FRA)
    François Pernelle (FRA) Leg 2

    Leg 3
    Patrón: Thomas Ruyant (FRA)
    Morgan Lagravière (FRA)
    Clarisse Crémer (FRA)
    Quentin Ponroy (FRA)
    Laurent Bourguès (FRA)
    More info:

    Offshore Team Germany (GER)

    Skipper: Robert Stanjek (GER)
    Navigator: Benjamin Dutreux (FRA)
    Annie Lush (GBR)
    Phillip Kasüske (GER)
    OBR: Felix Diemer (GER)
    More info:
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  • #2
    The Ocean Race Europe Start Just 3 Days Away

    With three days to go till the first edition of The Ocean Race Europe sets sail from the heart of Sailing Valley in Lorient (13:45hrs local time, Saturday 29 May), Class IMOCA has selected a few choice utterances from the sailors.

    Thomas Ruyant, skipper of LinkedOut

    “I’ve taken a fair old while to really recover from the Vendée Globe. For a long time, my sleeping pattern involved some very big nights and quite a few siestas, but today I’m doing well. To be honest, it’s good to be getting back into race mode so close to the round the world. It really perks you up. We’re all very keen for it to get going.

    It’s amazing to sail in crewed format on the boat I sailed singlehanded in the Vendée Globe and it’s actually very pleasant. The manœuvring is quick! Our boat has a wide cockpit so it’s fairly well suited to a crew. With regards each person’s roles, we’ve set up a watch system in pairs. In terms of manœuvring, we’ve only had a little sailing time, so we each gave ourselves a role. I’ll be more of a ‘free electron’ with the navigation and coordination of manœuvres as I know the boat inside out.

    I’m delighted to be getting back into the fray. There are five IMOCAs at the start and though that’s not a lot, we have a quality line-up with a varied course. I think that what appeals to me is the opportunity to have with me my partners, who have provided me with lasting support and are enabling me to have a fairly long-term vision with Advens and LinkedOut. That’s a big driver.”

    Clarisse Crémer, crew on LinkedOut

    “After the Vendée Globe, there were really three months where I was still a bit lost, but now I have enough energy to get back on a boat like this. When Marcus Hutchinson (Team Manager of LinkedOut) threw me a lifeline by inviting me to join their team for the race, I immediately called up Thomas to accept. I was really tempted to do this race, as well as to discover Thomas’ boat, which is more demanding than the boat I had in the Vendée Globe.
    This encounter is an opportunity to shake things up a bit. With five of us, the rhythm aboard will be more intense, as you take less time to manœuvre with no dip in the performance of the boat in the meantime. The pressure is shared by everyone and this time I’m not the boss as Thomas is the skipper and he’s responsible for the boat. LinkedOut hasn’t been modified for the race, but she already has a cockpit that’s very well arranged for the crew. We’ve just added two beanbags to the inside for sleeping and we’re trying to find a good way of working so we don’t step on one another.”

    © Pierre Bouras
    Benjamin Dutreux, crew on Offshore Team Germany

    “I’m very happy to be back on the water and to be able to get out sailing again. I’ve found it hard to get the brain back into competition mode after the Vendée Globe, but I needed this to get up and running again. The boat arrived in Les Sables d’Olonne in France fairly early on. I’m just discovering crewed sailing on an IMOCA and it’s fair to say that it’s strange. You get jostled about a bit in the manœuvres as these boats are designed for singlehanded or double-handed sailing. It’s also a good way to improve my English!

    I think the crew’s great as there’s a real mixture of experiences ranging from the Olympic Games to The Ocean Race and the Vendée Globe. Annie Lush is really bringing her experience of the manœuvres into play whilst my expertise is more related to an IMOCA and navigation. Even though we’ll be the only non-foiling IMOCA in this race, the boat posts a solid performance. I’ve been able to compare it to the various polars from the Vendée Globe and in certain conditions we may be able to manoeuvre well.”

    Nicolas Troussel, skipper of CORUM L’Épargne

    “Returning from the Vendée Globe wasn’t easy, but things quickly got going again with the refit. The days have been full-on for a while now to ensure we’re ready for this race. We’re working flat out! We’re happy to have got the boat back out on the water. We’ve been quick to go out for our first sea trials since she was relaunched. There’s still a fair few things to check before the start, but thanks to having a great team around me, we’ll be ready to go on Saturday.

    We have a fantastic crew with Sébastien Josse, who’ll be doing the Transat Jacques Vabre with me, and also Marie Riou and Benjamin Schwartz, who are bringing their fine racing experience to the plate. We’re all eager for it to start so we can stop with the odd jobs and get out on the water. Inevitably the whole of CORUM Sailing team is delighted to be able to take part in this great event and just getting the chance to compete in this race with a crew is a real pleasure.”

    © Copyright: Free to use for all editorial in conjunction with 11th Hour Racing coverage. For question
    Pascal Bidégorry, crew on 11th Hour Racing

    “We finally get to have a race start! For those of us who didn’t do the Vendée Globe, it’s going to be real thrill to rediscover competition. The boat is the one I finished 4th on in the Transat Jacques Vabre 2019 with Charlie (Enright), just ahead of LinkedOut in fact… It’s a boat which has since been used as a tester for the new boat currently in build.

    Several generations of foils have been tested and now we’ve received our new foils, which we’ve been trialling over recent days with other small gadgets and it’s really quite good in terms of performance, stability and use, so we’re fairly content! The boat will compete in the colours of 11th Hour Racing through until this autumn’s Transat Jacques Vabre with Justine and Simon (Fisher) and Charlie and I will soon have the new boat for the double-handed transatlantic. It’ll then go on to compete in next year’s The Ocean Race.

    And what about the autopilot? Well, the better it is, the less we helm because ultimately with four of us, it’s the kind of crew where you’re regularly paired up and it may even be that in a long race like The Ocean Race, there are bound to be phases where you’ll be alone on deck. A lot of work has gone into the autopilots so they perform very well over the distance. It’s also a good way to find the right trim and concentrate on performance.”

    Justine Mettraux, crew on 11th Hour Racing

    “For us, the aim is to succeed in this first clash with this particular crew. We’re going to have to manage the weather variations over the course and quickly find the right trim. We have a team which works well together, who trust one another and when you add the experience of everyone involved, we have a serious haul of skills. I’m stoked at the prospect of doing this race. We’re also doing the return delivery trip together, which will really help the team progress to the next level.”

    Louis Burton, skipper of Bureau Vallée 3

    “We’re all very excited to be setting off on this race. We believe that the initiative to reconcile IMOCA and The Ocean Race is incredibly positive, dynamic and intelligent. We realise how lucky we are to be able to set sail on a little tour of Europe. I don’t think it could have been very easy to organise so I’d like to congratulate the organisers! We also realise how lucky we were to have been able to sell our boat to Pip Hare, to purchase this one (ex- L’Occitane en Provence) and then be able to launch her in time thanks to all the team rallying together. Everyone has been working from 8 in the morning till 8 at night, day in day out for over month for this.

    It’s fantastic that there are five IMOCAs at an event so close to the finish of the Vendée Globe. Congratulations to everyone concerned. I believe that over very tactical courses like the one in the Mediterranean, where you have to put in a lot of manoeuvres, the VO65s are sure to give the IMOCAs a run for their money. Even though there are two rankings and two philosophies, it’s still a fleet of 12 boats and it’s going to be thrilling to be a part of and to watch I hope.

    For the skippers who competed in the Vendée Globe, it’s going to be necessary to get into a very active rhythm from the get-go. Inevitably, the crew who come aboard and aren’t familiar with the timing associated with seriously anticipating things, will be the engines and the alarms. It’s not going to be natural or easy for us, as we still have the reflex actions of the Vendée Globe etched on our brains. Our sails are arriving on Wednesday so we’ll throw them onboard and immediately make for Lorient in whatever conditions we have. We are flat-out!”

    Servane Escoffier, crew on Bureau Vallée 3

    “We’ve opted for a large crew, firstly because we’ll be finding our feet on the boat so we want to glean as much information as possible so we can work on her in the run-up to the Transat Jacques Vabre. We know that you have to respect the power of the different appendages and for now we don’t yet have much gen on the boat.

    On top of that, we’ve had a project for the past 8 years which is called “Mer Entreprendre Espoir”. This involves selecting one youngster a year and the aim is to bring them out on the water, encourage them to participate in the major races and then hope it lasts. That’s the case for Arthur Hubert and Clément Comagnac, currently doing a transatlantic passage on a Figaro. And Pip Hare too, because we shared a great deal with her during the purchase of the boat and also because her profile in the Vendée Globe really appealed to us.”

    Yoann Richomme, skipper of Mirpuri Foundation

    “The battle between VO65 and IMOCA will be fun. Every boat has its advantages.
    We’ll be able to sail on an equal footing on certain tacks and, aside from when the wind is on the beam, we should be able to bring our A’ game according to the weather.

    I really like the concept of the strict one-design, which reminds me of the Figaro, with the addition of this crew synchronisation element, which has required me to relearn everything. In VO65, we also have three or four experienced crews with skippers like Bouwe Bekking (Sailing Poland), Chris Nicholson (Akzo Nobel) and Simeon Tienpont (Team Childhood). We have four nationalities aboard, with some Anglo-Saxon sailors, some French Figaro sailors, sailors with backgrounds from the Olympics and the Volvo Ocean Race, etc. We have a very interesting mixture of cultures, with a real family-based atmosphere within the team and that’s something I cherish. We’ve trained hard to hunt down victory.”

    © Marc Bow / Mirpuri Foundation

    The Ocean Race Europe Schedule

    27.05 : Assembly day, Lorient
    28.05 : Tour de l’Ile de Groix
    29.05 : Départ étape 1, Lorient > Cascais
    02.06 : Arrivée à Cascais
    05.06 : Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy
    06.06 : Départ étape 2, Cascais > Alicante
    10.06 : Arrivée Alicante
    13.06 : Départ étape 3, Alicante > Gênes
    16.06 : Arrivée Gênes
    19.06 : Course côtière & remise des prix
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