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Lorient Speed Runs Blister The Water On Foiling IMOCA's

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  • Lorient Speed Runs Blister The Water On Foiling IMOCA's

    The 2023 edition of this Azimut Challenge - Lorient Agglomeration marks a turning point for the multi-format event imagined by Jean-Marie Corteville in 2011. By welcoming 34 IMOCAs to Lorient La Base for the biggest poster of the year, the Challenge showed that he had the scale for large gatherings. Review of a breathtaking edition!

    It was in 2018, right here at the D?fi Azimut, that Charal, the first VPLP design of the name, carried out the first takeoffs of an IMOCA. Surprising images which had traveled around the world, and left quite a few observers skeptical... Five years later, the spectacle offered today by the skippers accompanied by their guests in the Bay of Lorient was the most beautiful demonstration that technical progress never stops. In the final, the twelve best IMOCAs plowed the minty waters of Groix with their foils and flew between 30 and 35 knots, providing observers with unforgettable images.

    Breathtaking runs and 48 hours of matches at the top

    Charal, second of the name, the Manuard design launched last year by Jeremie Beyou, supported this year by Franck Cammas, did not win the final but signed the best time of the day at 30.2 knots on average. A way to drive the point home after his victory in the 48H Azimut on a complete course and in bracing conditions, ideal for rehearsing his ranges before the Transat Jacques Vabre for which the D?fi Azimut was a qualifier.

    But the story of this 13th edition does not come down, far from it, to the lone rider of a competitor: “ The competition is super tight and we see that in all conditions, the skippers are not afraid to 'tackle. Three or four boats stand out but a good fifteen are sailing at a very high level, ” noted Antoine Mermod, the president of the IMOCA Class this evening.

    The arrival of new generation foilers, Macif Sante Prevoyance (Dalin-Bidegorry) or Paprec Arkea (Richomme-Elies), shakes up the hierarchy and confirms that nothing is taken for granted for anyone. Including for those like Malizia-Seaexplorer (Herrmann-Harris) or Biotherm (Meilhat-Lobato) who competed in The Ocean Race and accumulated a lot of experience around the world.

    Some, like For The Planet (Goodchild-Ruyant), third, but also Teamwork, the ex-Charal led by Justine Mettraux and Julien Villion who finished sixth, demonstrated that slightly older but very well run boats could still offer very good performances.

    The mixed tandems were also celebrating this edition. Sam Davies accompanied at short notice by her new co-skipper Jack Bouttell finished fifth. As for the young Violette Dorange, she was one of the sensations of the Challenge. Accompanied by the experienced Damien Guillou, the youngest 22-year-old hoists DeVenir, Jean Le Cam's former boat to thirteenth place, at the head of the drift boats for what has by force of circumstances become a race within a race . And it was two women On Board Reporters - Anne Beauge for photography and Mathilde Fontan for video - who won the competition organized as every year by the Defi Azimut.

    The only black point in this fine record is the dismasting of Corum, without explanation for the moment, confirms that the IMOCA mast remains their fuse, if not their Achilles heel. A fact that will have to be taken into account, given the multiplication of races that await the skippers until the Vend?e Globe 2024, the event which will mark the end of a cycle started at the finish of the previous round the world race in 2021.

    New faces and great encounters

    In parallel with the debates on water, the five conferences organized in the auditorium of the Cite de la Voile Eric Tabarly were once again a time of rich exchange with the ecosystem of the Sailing Valley, and the public was at appointment.

    Launched on Tuesday with a workshop on integration into offshore racing at the initiative of Groupe Apicil, they continued all day on Friday. Bretagne Developpement Innovation and Audelor organized three conferences on the issues of Artificial Intelligence applied to ocean routing, the progression of carbon-free energies on IMOCAs and the latest developments in foiling, linked in particular to the America's Cup. Each of them was an opportunity to benefit from high-level speakers, drawn from the breeding ground formed by the Breton nautical industry, at the forefront on all these subjects.

    Finally, the presence of 500 children from schools in the Lorient metropolitan area and the visit of Tara on a stopover in Lorient, further broadened the horizons of the Challenge. “ From these five exceptional days, I will remember the mixing of all these audiences. The skippers, their teams, the image reporters, all these new sailors, the presence of Pen Duick and Tara, the very fine female performances including that of the youngest of the race for whom the Azimut Challenge will remain her first memory of IMOCA… All this delights me and makes me say that the Challenge is a beautiful crossroads, ” said Jean-Marie Corteville this evening, disembarking from the Royale video production catamaran which was following the runs. With exceptional images, the memory of this Azimut Challenge, which continues to write its beautiful story over the years.

    Results :

    48 Hours Azimuth:

    1- Charal (Jeremie Beyou, Franck Cammas)
    2- Macif Sant? Prevoyance (Charlie Dalin, Pascal Bidegorry)
    3- For The Planet (Sam Goodchild, Thomas Ruyant)

    Azimuth Runs:
    Winner of the final: Paprec Arkea (Yoann Richomme, Yann Eli?s)
    Best time of the day: Charal (Jeremie Beyou, Franck Cammas)

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