The Mini spirit engulfs Transat Quebec Saint Malo

Le Class 40’ Groupe Partouche © Xavier Dachez / Transat Québec Saint-Malo
It is something that the organisers of this seventh Transat Quebec Saint Malo can be proud of, but in the absence of the IMOCA monohulls, which with the exception of Yannick Bestaven are busy preparing for the Vendée Globe, the fleet brought together until 15h GMT on Sunday afternoon in the harbour in Quebec, exhibits not only a coherent sporting standard, but also a spirit or atmosphere you can usually find in the Mini class.

Everyone is in a good mood, enjoying the freedom of sailing, but there is also a natural solidarity and a spirit of adventure to be found on the Transat pontoons with the sailors, who often have several jobs to do at the same time: shore team, crewmen, skippers, assistants, and sometimes even press agents. All things considered, an age-old form of sailing, transformed through the history of this unique sport from a simple passion for travel, the sea and boats.

From 6.50 to 40-foot boats…
Better than a compromise, the 40-foot Class now represents for many experienced Mini racers, an unavoidable next stage towards bigger boats. Tanguy Delamotte, Sam Manuard, Cécile Poujol, Lionel Régnier, Benoit Parnaudeau, Boris Hermann, Louis Duc and Halvard Mabire… to name but a few, after experiencing the 6.50 find in the yachts measuring more than 12 metres in length, the ideal boat to enter the world of ocean racing, where they will be on more or less equal footing with a rich, varied and international opposition. If the research lab aspect of the Mini class is not so noticeable here, because of class rules, you nevertheless find a breath of the fresh air, spontaneity and enthusiasm that you find with the regulars involved in the 6.50 metre circuit among those now taking part in Class 40 boats. Here, they only live, breathe and think about the sea, boats and ocean racing. The clear desire to limit an inflationary spiral by banning some sophisticated elements found on the larger boats forces the sailors and designers, who are sometimes one and the same, to work hard on the shape and profile of the hulls, thus enabling rapid expansion of this class of machine, which continues to keep its reasonable size and cost.

A wizard in Quebec
He is unanimously respected, and even venerated by sailors, and many of them have had the misfortune to come up against him in a race, or the pleasure to be on board one of his creations. Samuel Manuard is that all-round genius, who has left his imprint on the Mini class, while remaining discreet and developing his intuition, and is now enjoying taking part in the Class 40 just as much. Secretive, enigmatic, hiding behind a huge smile, Sam presents the particularity of achieving just as much success behind his design board as at the helm of his 6.50 protos, catamarans and 40-foot boats. A geophysical engineer, specialising in the search for oil, he is self-taught designing and building the 6.50 Tip Top prototype in 1998. Since then, he has continued to apply that winning recipe, sailing to design out on the water and bringing his vision to life with his own hands! The Transat Quebec Saint Malo will not be any different. Surrounded by solid fighters, including another winning Mini racer, Tanguy Delamotte, Manuard will once again be out there sailing, while thinking; or maybe it is the other way around…

Focus on … the Open 50 boats
At the start line at the foot of Frontenac castle, there will of course be the eternal competitor of Franck-Yves Escoffier, Victorien Erussard on board a Laiterie Malo, which is undergoing constant fine-tuning. We shall also have to watch another two great sailors, who lead this class.

Its president, Hervé Cléris, who has just relaunched his boat after two years ashore; and Pascal Quintin, whose miraculously saved trimaran from the last Route du Rhum, has just been given a new look. Both boats are now fitted with carbon masts and new sails.

Pierre Antoine will be racing on the former Crêpes Whaou! Hervé de Carlan on Delirium, to complete the line-up for this class, which really would like to develop still further.

The Open 50s are cruising multihulls with a maximum LOA of between 14.63m (48-feet) and 15.24m (50’).

At the birth of Crêpes Whaou in 2004, the Class 50 created a structure by establishing rules aimed at maintaining a spirit of simplicity and thus helping to limit the budgets required.

Crêpes Whaou! was designed in the original spirit of the class rules. The Class 50’ Open is perhaps about to reach a turning point this year with three big stories:

- Very shortly, we are likely to see the start of work on Yves Le Blevec’s new boat for the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre
- The presentation of a sporting programme for the 2008 – 2009 season
- The desire of those involved in the class to form a structure to present a strong and attractive class to organisers, with their own race programme.

This motivation also can be seen with the architects and yards, who are going to work on designing and building a 50-foot multihull that is faster than Crêpes Whaou!

This boat, after three successful racing seasons and transatlantic crossings, represents for everyone a database and the foundations for reflection on trim, balance at the helm and the solidity of the structure.

Source: VLPVP

In short…
- 7th edition of the Transat Quebec Saint Malo
- Course: 2950 theoretical miles.
- Start on Sunday 20th July at 11h (local time) for the multihulls and the FICO Class, and 11h30 for the Class 40
- 28 yachts signed up:
- 18 in Class 40
- 6 in 50’ Open (multis)
- 4 in FICO Class, 55 to 60-foot.

- Thursday 17th July 2008: Final date for the boats to leave the competitors’ basin
- Friday 18th July 2008: 11H00: presentation of the crews and toast at Quebec City Hall
- 18H00: end of checks and final date to hand in start papers to the race committee.
- Saturday 19th July 2008: 08H15: briefing reserved for skippers.
- Saturday 19th July 2008: 11H00: Brunch for skippers on board a pleasure boat.
- Sunday 20th July 2008:
o 11H00: start for the Class40.
o 11H30: start for the monohulls and Class 50’ Open.
- Sunday 10th August 2008: Prize ceremony for the Transat Quebec Saint-Malo in Saint-

The seventh edition of the Transat Quebec Saint-Malo is an event organised by Quebec International Sailing, in conjunction with the City of Saint-Malo and the technical assistance of the UNCL (French Ocean Racing Union), the Quebec Harbour Marina, the Quebec Yacht Club (YCQ) and the Saint Malo Bay Sailing Club (SNBSM).