Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Transat Québec Saint-Malo - A truly fascinating event

by Carla Anselmi on 20 Jul 2012
Transat Québec Saint-Malo 2012 Xavier Dachez / VIQ © http://www.xdachez.com
The Transat Québec Saint Malo originated back in 1984 and immediately stood out as one of the most fascinating events in the international offshore sail racing scene. As the start of the eighth edition draws nearer, the gun firing next Sunday, activity bustles on the pontoons of the Bassin Louise for the 25 participants.

For more than three decades, the only West to East, fully crewed transatlantic race has seen some of the offshore stars participating and winning it, from Titouan Lamazou to Loick Peyron or Franck Cammas, and has managed to keep its unique flavour and appeal. Its course, 2.965 miles, with a tricky first part where the crews will have to negotiate sailing down the St Lawrence river, with its islands, incredible fauna and strong currents makes it a race like no other and contributes to its charm.

The 25 boats, right after the start under the imposing shadow of the city walls, will retrace the course of the famous 17th and 18th century’s explorers. Confirming its unceasing success the eighth Transat Québec Saint Malo will enjoy a truly international line up with crews coming from more than twelve countries and boats flying the flag of France, Belgium, Germany, the USA, Italy and obviously Canada.

The passion for the 'their' race among local fans is evident, with enthusiasts crowding the pontoons and taking every opportunity to meet the sailors. At 72 hours from the start gun, all the crews are in Québec, giving the final touches to their boats and getting ready for the long voyage across the Atlantic.


Here is the recipe: take a French skipper, Jean Edouard Criquioche, add a pinch of international young sailing sailors like the US/Spanish Andres Soriano (who’s just finished his first round the world race), two female sailors the German Anna Maria Renken and the British Samantha Evans, mix well and you will have the Sevenstar Yachttransport crew. This truly multinational group, with so many different languages spoken had to decide the official idiom onboard and the choice fell on English.

'Samantha does not speak French at all, like Andrès and myself. Even if I know some words, in order to have everything go smoothly on board, better to speak a language we all understand. So it will be English,' confessed Anna Maria Renken.

The race features the most unusual of offshore courses. Before taking on the north Atlantic Ocean off Newfoundland and the island of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, the 25 crews will have to manage the long descent of the St Lawrence disseminated with hurdles and traps, affected by strong currents, sandbanks, a huge maritime traffic (with more than 4.000 ships passing every year from mid-March through December) in one of the areas most populated by marine wildlife. 'One does not win the race on the St Lawrence but can well lose it there;' says Jean Claude Maltais, the Transat Québec Saint-Malo’s Race Director.

To help sailors and the public alike discover the river exceptional natural environment, the organizers have created a circuit that has already recorded a huge success. This 'zigzag' will allow spectators to follow the initial miles live from six locations on the river banks in the East-Quebec area. The fleet will have to round the marks positioned just off the villages of La Malbaie, Rimouski, Matane, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Gaspé and Percé and the first boat to do so will also get a much appreciated prize money.

La Malbaie, on the north bank will show skippers and navigators how complicated sailing down the immense river can be. Then they will have to cross again to reach Rimouski, before rounding the remaining and more traditional marks down to Percé with its famous pierced rock, and getting into the open ocean after 376 miles of delicate and dangerous navigation.


Merit, William Saurin, Fujicolor II, Pogo Structure, Crêpes Whaoo…these boats have marked the history of the race, here is why:

- The maxi yacht Merit still holds the monohull record after 20 years, in 1992 Swiss skipper Pierre Fehlmann and his crew cover the distance in 10 days, 15 hours and 44 minutes.

- William Saurin is the biggest multihull to have taken part to the race, with her 25,90 metres the catamarn skippered by Eugène Riguidel stands 1,40 metres longer than Loïc Caradec’s Royale 2 and 2,30 metres bigger than Serge Madec’s Jet Service V.

- Loïck Peyron’s 60’ trimaran Fujicolor II is the overall record holder with seven days, 20 hours and 24 minutes.

- Pogo Structures, in 2008 Halvard Mabire’s Pogo 40, Pogo Structure was the first boat to set the Class40 reference time (13 days, 13 hours and 50 minutes), this year the class counts 21 boats.

- Crêpes Whaou! in the last edition Franck-Yves Escoffier’s Multi50 trimaran covered the distance between Québec and Saint-Malo in 11 days, 03 hours and 49 minutes, will this year’s two 50’ trimarans be able to beat her?

Jean Claude Maltais, Race director: 'We are constantly discussing the race’s timing with Race President Sylvain Gagné' explains Jean-Claude Maltais. 'We would like to have a big sailing event every year and maybe reduce the frequency of the Transat. We have been contacted by the MOD70 class and we found we share a lot, we’ll think about that and we will keep an open mind to try and showcase our fantastic race course.'

Mike Birch: 'I’ve come from Gaspé to meet my old friend Halvard Mabire. I reckon I have taken part in all of the race’s editions except one, it’s a great race and I have always enjoyed it a lot…'

Fabrice Amédeo (Class 40 Géodis): 'Going down the river will certainly be one of the trickiest parts, it requires good navigation and maneuvering skills. The high level of the fleet adds to the complexity of the St Lawrence and the first days will be exciting, close racing just off the banks.'

Erwan Le Roux, (Multi 50 FenetréA-Cardinal): 'I pretty like this idea of going around the six marks close to the banks because I expect there will be a huge public. We hope to give them a good show, it’s important. We will probably go down the St Lawrence reaching in a south-south/westerly. We know we have to be fast because there is a low pressure system developing, that we are keeping under close scrutiny. Also, getting there quickly will allow us to reach Saint-Pierre in good sailing conditions.'

Transat Quebec Saint Malo website

Naiad/Oracle SupplierProtector - 660 x 82Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

Bureau Vallée 2 back in the water in Brittany
The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water on Friday in Lorient (Brittany), with her new decoration in the colours of Bureau Vallée.
Posted today at 6:23 am
Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper Wendy Tuck
For Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. For Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. And as a result, she’s set to make history in the Clipper 2017-18 Race as the first Australian skipper to complete the arduous ocean challenge twice.
Posted on 24 Mar
Round the Rocks kick's off St. Thomas International Regatta
Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in St. Thomas International Regatta. Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from the Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in the 44th St. Thomas International Regatta. Set for March 24 to 26, this three-day regatta known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ will be prefaced by the second Round the Rocks Race on March 23, which features a circumnavigation of the 19-square-mile neighbouring U.S. Virgin Island of St. John.
Posted on 23 Mar
Vendée Globe – A hugely popular event and media success
With 29 skippers setting sail and 10 nations represented, the eighth edition offered a wide range of projects The results show huge increases everywhere: many more people attending the event, unprecedented media coverage and feedback, a record level of international coverage without talking about the very positive race outcome in terms of the rankings.
Posted on 23 Mar
RC44 Championship Tour heads to Lanzarote for final regatta
For 2017 the fleet will return to Europe's southern shores with racing hosted from the new facility, Marina Lanzarote The Calero Marinas have been a regular winter destination for the RC44 fleet over the years having hosted four regattas and three World Championships between 2010 and 2013.
Posted on 23 Mar
A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
One great challenge for Transatlantic Race 2019
Greatest challenge has confirmed the start date for its next edition; and this time every competitor will depart Newport A virtual gate off Lizard Point will enable teams to challenge the course record for this historic passage, but the official finish will take place off the Royal Yacht Squadron's waterfront castle in Cowes, England.
Posted on 22 Mar
Less than a month to go to 8th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth
To date, 66 teams have signed up for the event, which bodes well for an exceptional vintage Péan will be casting an expert eye over the event that occurs 10-15 April. A seasoned and talented sailor, he boasts one of the most prestigious track records in French sailing, with victories logged in the Solitaire du Figaro in 1983, then the Whitbread (a crewed around-the-world race with stopovers) in 1986.
Posted on 22 Mar
Transat Jaques Vabre – Oman Sail takes on Class 40 challenge
The new campaign is the latest stage of the relationship between Al Hasni, one of Oman's most promising sailors Oman Sail has revealed a new adventure for 2017 as the pioneering national initiative takes on a double-handed Class 40 challenge pairing up mentor and long-term skipper of various Oman Sail projects, Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, with his protégé and Oman Sail’s most successful offshore sailor, Fahad Al Hasni.
Posted on 22 Mar
RORC Easter Challenge – Free expert coaching
A coach can optimise practice time, provide detailed analysis via both stats and video, can examine specific issues If you want to do better out on the race course, you could buy yourself a newer, more competitive boat. Or sail with a better crew. Or could buy some new sails. Or put in some practice. But keelboat crews frequently forget that one of the best value methods is to employ a coach.
Posted on 22 Mar