by Oliver Dewar
Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) starts in Mallorca, Spain and stops in Cape Town, South Africa; Wellington, New Zealand; Punta del Este, Uruguay and Charleston, USA before finishing back in Mallorca, a total of approximately 30,000 nautical miles.
Lionel Regnier completes the GOR inversion test with his new Akilaria RC2
Skippers, Lionel Regnier and Pierre-Yves Cavan, successfully completed the GOR’s mandatory 180° inversion test over the weekend on board their new Class40 Akilaria RC2 at the MC-TEC facility in Tunisia. Regnier and Cavan are the third GOR team to undertake the vital safety procedure following inversion tests undertaken last year by GOR entries Jacques Fournier and Jean-Edouard Criquioche on their new Pogo 40S² Groupe Picoty and the Auckland inversion test by Francesco Piva’s Farr Design Kiwi 40FC, Peráspera.
From complete inversion, Regnier and Cavan took just 18 minutes to self-right the mast-less Class40 in the harbour at El Haouaria near Cape Bon in the north-east of Tunisia: 'We took the time upside down to make certain the boat was watertight and went through the entire boat making checks while we were inverted,' reports a delighted Regnier. 'We filled the starboard ballast to half capacity and the forward ballast was full to self-right the boat,' he confirms.
Regnier is already a familiar figure in the French solo offshore racing arena competing in the Mini Transat in 1999 and 2001; the OSTAR in 2005; the Route du Rhum in 2006 and the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre with Cavan in 2007. At the end of this month, the 51 year-old, Vendée-based yachtsmen and his 44 year-old co-skipper will start the pre-GOR build-up period: 'We’re going to set off from Tunisia on around the 28th April and sail direct to Les Sables d’Olonne,' Regnier confirms. 'We’ll also use this trip as our Global Ocean Race qualifying passage.'
For Josh Hall, Race Director of the GOR, the 180° test is a fundamental component of the race: 'One of the many reasons why Class40 contracted with us as exclusive organisers for their round the world races was our commitment to safety,' explains Hall. 'The mandatory 180 test is just one of the security measures in place for the GOR and we are very pleased to see all our skippers embracing it,' he continues. 'When initiating this rule, we did not imagine that it would stimulate an entirely new breed of Class40 and it is hugely rewarding for us to witness this exciting generation of boats take to the water and the quantum leap in offshore safety which they represent. Congratulations to this extremely well organised team and to the designers and builders of the Akilaria RC2 for this excellent result.'
The fourth GOR entry to undertake the test will be London-based Italian skipper, Marco Nannini, with his 2007 Akilaria in Lorient, France, on 27th April.
Global Ocean Race website