For more than 150 years, the La Rochelle's Société des Régates Rochelaises has been running major sailing events, in a natural sailing ampitheatre on the Bay of Biscay in western France. Some of the best know French sailors including Philippe Poupon, Isabelle Autissier, Marc Thiercelin, Pierre Follenfant, Claire and Jean-François Fountaine, Antoine Albeau, Pierre Pennec and Yann Guichard, Cédric Pouligny, Pascal Rambeau, Laurent Pagès have started their sailing careers in La Rochelle.
Downwind Finn action - Semaine Olympique Francaise 2012
In the 2009, more than 100 boats assembled for the Fireball Worlds, in 2010 500 Optimist sailors were at the International Cup, in 2011 there was a 700 boat Laser Worlds and last year, there were 188 boats at the SAP 505 World Championships. Early this year the Finn World Masters, with more than 250 boats and the 470 Worlds in July-August with more than 250 boats.
This week, the final round of the EuroSAF Champions Sailing Cup, the Semaine Olympique Française, with 270 crews from more than 30 nations is being sailed out of La Rochelle. Sailing at this year’s SOF regatta are two more well-known locals RS-X talent Charline Picon and Finn sailor Jonathan Lobert.
A soft start to this week’s event, with the crews held ashore until almost 1400. Here are some boat park images before the crews headed out.