Dhream Cup

How the Drheam-Cup is enhancing its position on the offshore racing landscape

Launched in 2016, the Drheam-Cup, which starts on Sunday, celebrates its fourth edition this year, offering three different courses between Cherbourg-en-Cotentin and La Trinité-sur-Mer. With 128 boats entered, the race has managed to strengthen its position on the offshore racing landscape, Tip & Shaft looks at this growth.

The idea of the Drheam-Cup surfaced eight years ago thanks to its founder, Jacques Civilise, a former manager (among other things) of Renault’s innovation programs, who is also an enlightened amateur racer: “I raced for 50 years, but with the advancing of my age [he is now 76 years old], I decided to stop. To occupy myself, I wanted to find a role in the world of sailing, so I did a bit of an analysis the of races that existed and I said to myself that, well, France is world champion in oceanic and transoceanic events – Vendée Globe, Route du Rhum, Transat Jacques Vabre – but there was a need for a major offshore race, in the format of the Fastnet Race, the Sydney-Hobart or the Middle Sea Race.”

So in early 2015, Jacques Civilise presented his project to the French Sailing Federation, which he named Drheam-Cup – Drheam for the development of human relations and application management, a management model he had developed during his professional career. The reception by president Jean-Pierre Champion was favorable: “He told me that there was a place in the calendar for such an event each summer.” This is how the first edition was launched in August 2016, when it mustered 40 boats to race between La Trinité-sur-Mer and Roscoff.

Two years later, that July, there were almost double (76) the number of boats setting off from La Trinité, but this time racing to Cherbourg. That increase in participation is explained because the Drheam-Cup had become a qualifying race for the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe“It put a big spotlight on the race of which we had only run the one edition”, recognizes Jacques Civilise. He adds : “But even so in 2020, without it being a qualifying race, we managed to have 104 entrants and 96 starters, this means that the race had managed to really settle down.”

A big support by

The race has found a strong ally in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, the agglomeration born from the merger of the five cities around the sub-prefecture of Cotentin in early 2016, which became the starting port of the third edition. “Cherbourg has always had a tradition of hosting races, in particular the Solitaire du Figaro,” explains Mayor Benoît Arrivé“When we created the new town in 2016, we wanted to accelerate the visibility, looking to make Cherbourg-en Cotentin a port that counts. We have developed this strategy through two axes: welcoming the finish, then the start, of the Drheam-Cup, and, since last year, also the finish of the Fastnet.”Cherbourg shares the organization of the finish of the Fastnet (for two editions for the moment, 2021 and 2023) between the agglomeration of Cotentin, the department of Manche and the Normandy region all within a dedicated association. But the city is, according to the mayor, the funder and main organizer of the Drheam-Cup alongside the Drheam Promotion [fouded by Jacques Civilise] teams.” The amount of this investment? “Around 600,000 euros, including 400,000 in cash, the contribution of other Norman communities is around 120,000 euros”, replies Benoît Arrivé.

The Deputy mayor of Le Havre and regional councillor, Augustin Bœuf tells us of their funding of 40,000 euros from the Normandy region, out of an annual total of 650,000 euros dedicated to nautical events (Transat Jacques Vabre, Fastnet, Normandy Channel Race, etc.) – not to mention the 130,000 euros allocated to the Figaro Région Normandie project of Guillaume Pirouelle. The department of La Manche pays 50,000 euros, according to Yvan Taillebois, member of the Nature and Infrastructures commission of the departmental council, who specifies in passing that the Manche Evidence Nautique device to support a skipper, launched in 2021 with Nicolas Jossier in Class40, will be renewed in 2023.

La Trinité-sur-Mer adds 12,000 euros according to the mayor Yves Normand – “a significant effort for a city of 1,600 inhabitants”. The financing is completed by the community of communes Auray Terre-Atlantique and the department of Morbihan, which Tip & Shaft could not reach, and some private partners.

The Fastnet as a model

The total budget? “I don’t want to communicate it” responds Civilise. “Let’s say that, compared to local club races, we have a big budget, and compared to the big classics, a small one. And we are actively looking for a private sponsor who could become title partner and allow us to take the additional steps. Today, I work pretty much 24 hours a day on the race, without weekends, almost without nights sometimes, I will be 78 years old in 2024, we have to think about the future and strengthen the team.”The next step is to continue to grow an event which, for certain classes, in particular the Ocean Fifty and the Class40, has become an increasingly important event, as confirmed by Erwan Le Roux, president of the Ocean Fifty class: “We are attached to the Drheam-Cup, because Jacques (Civilise) has always been into co-collaboration, treating all classes on an equal level. He managed to build an event from nothing, today, the race has really grown in terms of the quality of the reception, village and media presence.”

Can the event eventually become the equivalent, in even years, of the Fastnet with its 350 registrants (compared to 128 this year for the Drheam-Cup), as per model claimed by its founder? “Even if I remain cautious, I tell myself that in principle, there is no limit. If we have to welcome more boats, it is up to us to find solutions, Cherbourg has been able to make the necessary arrangements for the arrival of the Fastnet”, replies Jacques Civilise.

A city of Cherbourg which still has ideas in mind to further affirm its roots in offshore racing, in particular the development of an offshore racing centre. Benoît Arrivé confirms: “Today, the organization founded for the Drheam-Cup and the Fastnet allows us to respond to the strategy of the moment, but in the years to come, I hope that we will attract more and more sailors and boats that would make Cherbourg-en-Cotentin their home port. This is a subject for the future. We already have some talented skippers, we are not at the level of Port-La-Forêt or Lorient, but we know there’s not much room left in these places.”

Photo: Thierry Martinez

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