With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the whole planet, it has meant a great deal of uncertainty for sport in general and sailboat races are no exception. To try to get to grips with this new situation, Tip & Shaft is carrying out a series of five interviews about the future of sail racing. Second to respond is François Gabart, skipper of the trimaran Macif but also the founder and boss of MerConcept.
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 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.
After the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild finished into Brest on Wednesday morning to win the inaugural Brest Atlantiques race, Macif and Actual Leader arrived Saturday, ending this first ever stand alone Ultim race. Tip & Shaft makes a first analysis along with the input of skipper, organisers, teams and journalists.
After a difficult end to 2018 with the loss of Banque Populaire IX in the Route du Rhum, the 2019 season has been busy for Armel Le Cléac’h, with events in the Figaro and Imoca circuits, ending up with tenth place in the Solitaire and sixth in the Transat Jacques Vabre with Clarisse Crémer. Not forgetting the work being done with the Banque Populaire Team on the future Ultim (due to be launched in the first quarter of 2021, as they observe what is happening in the Brest Atlantiques. The skipper from St. Pol de Léon talks to Tip & Shaft about everything that is going on.
In late April Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper Charles Caudrelier was announced as co-skipper, along with Franck Cammas on the Gitana Team Ultime Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. After six months of intensive training and a short refit to the Verdier design, Caudrelier and Cammas took the start last Tuesday of the Brest Atlantiques race, being the leaders after 3 days. The 30 day 14,000 nautical miles triangle course into the south Atlantic, to marks off Rio and Cape Town, is a test of reliability and endurance as well as speed for the four Ultimes entered, Gitana, Sodebo Ultim 3, MACIF and Actual Leader. Tip & Shaft spoke to Caudrelier in Brest……
With two Ultimes currently in build (Macif and Banque Populaire) and four new Imoca (Charal, Arkéa Paprec and Apivia, already recently launched as well as the new Corum to come), the CDK Technologies yard is on the crest of a wave during this pre-Vendée Globe year. We pressed for the chance to speak with CDK’s managing director, a very discrete Philippe Facque.
On Thursday the Gitana Team put an end to dockside speculation and announced that it is not one but two skippers who now succeed Sébastien Josse. They are both Volvo Ocean Race winners, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier. They will share the skipper role on the Ultime Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. General manager, Cyril Dardashti talks to Tip & Shaft about their choices.
In the wake of victory in the Volvo Ocean Race with Dongfeng Race Team, Pascal Bidégorry spent the latter part of last year helping young French skipper Arthur Le Vaillant prepare his Class40 for the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. He is continuing that collaboration with Le Vaillant right now as they train on the Figaro 3 Leyton. And the duo will sail the Sardinha Cup at the end of March But at the same time the Basque bred sailor Bidégorry is looking for sponsoring partners to back him on an Ultim. But he is also cited as one of the potential successors for Sébastien Josse in the Gitana Team hot seat. He covers all these topics for Tip & Shaft.