After almost a month of lockdown, the different ocean racing divisions are spending a lot of time working with race organizers on the possible reprogramming of their 2020 or even their 2021 calendar, while at the same time trying to reassure their members, affected to varying degrees by this new turbulent economic crisis. After Tip & Shaft spoke to IMOCA’s Antoine Mermod last week, this week we go round the houses, speaking to other key classes.
Over the past fortnight, the Covid-19 pandemic has led many race organisers to modify their plans. Among them, OC Sport Pen Duick which postponed (currently the situation) the Transat AG2R La Mondiale and is looking at various options for The Transat CIC, but remains confident about the Solitaire du Figaro. Tip & Shaft talked to the Managing Director, Hervé Favre.
The World Championships of the 470 class (March 16-21), the giant Trofeo Princesa Sofia Olympic regatta (March 27-April 4), the Sailing World Cup Genoa (11-19 April), the 44Cup Portoroz (22-26 April), the GC32 Racing Tour in Oman (25-29 March), the ACWS Cagliari (22-26 April), these events are all either cancelled or postponed. In France the list of events to be rescheduled include Easter’s Spi Ouest France, the Massila Cup, the SNIM, the Solo Maitre CoQ The coronavirus outbreak is affecting the whole of the competitive sailing world. Tip & Shaft takes a view.
The recent story of the Fastnet moving its finish from Plymouth to Cherbourg (You can read the full story from Tip & Shaft here) followed the exodus across the Channel of The Transat which changed its start from Plymouth to Brest both prove that in Ocean and Offshore Racing nothing is guaranteed. As they search for tourism and investment profile and direct economic benefits, towns and cities are deploying different strategies, some of them very proactively such as Les Sables d’Olonne which has just added the Mini Transat to a growing roster of Vendée events. Here is a look at the state of play in France and in Portsmouth, the only English waterfront city which is pressing ahead with investment in sailing events, most notably June’s Emirates America’s Cup World Series event which will see the AC75s racing in England for the first time.
Conrad Humphreys: “The Transat was central to the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower”
Former IMOCA, Class 40, Figaro and Extreme 40 racer Conrad Humphreys is the biggest fan of the home city he has flown the flag for proudly on all his races and adventures. He was as surprised as anyone in the South West of England and among the UK sailing community to learn that The Transat will move from its traditional start city of Plymouth and go instead to Brest. It was announced two years ago in the local press that the city had won the right to host the historic race start which was due to be a flagship event for the city’s 400th anniversary, remembering the Mayflower’s first voyage with English Puritans aboard to the New World, America. The Transat was to link Plymouth to Charleston which in turn is due to celebrate its 350th anniversary and its links to England.