Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

Transat Québec Saint-Malo - Multifaceted fleet prepare for battle

by Carla Anselmi on 21 Jul 2012
Transat Québec Saint Malo 2012 Xavier Dachez / VIQ © http://www.xdachez.com
Since its inception, the Transat Québec Saint Malo has always attracted a number of international sailors keen to put themselves to the test in the classic route and this eighth edition is no exception. Could a non-French skipper become the winner of the Transat Québec Saint Malo for the first time even in the 28 year long history of the classic transatlantic race?

It could well be more than a mere hypothesis this time. Suffice to say that in the Classe40 no less than seven boats fly a non-French flag, with teams coming from Germany, the USA, Canada and Belgium. Analysing the fleet and the sailors involved, multifaceted as ever, one thing is clear: the 2012 winner could be non-French. Halvard Mabire skipper of Campagne de France and current title holder as well as respected sailor and designer Sam Manuard agree that Joerg Riechers’ Mare is one of the race’s favourites.

Fresh from the success in two of the most relevant races of this year in the Class40, the Solidaire du Chocolat and the Atlantic Cup, Hamburg based Joerg Riechers looks more than determined to follow his winning streak on his Manuard’s designed Mach 40 Mare. As a matter of fact, on paper, the sailor/boat mix look to possess all the necessary ingredients for yet another success and Joerg picked up some of the best available crew to help him achieve his goal: boat designer Sam Manuard, American all-rounder Ryan Bremeyer (recently sailing across the Atlantic in record time on MOD 70 Musandam Oman sail) and French expert Rémi Aubrun.

'Mare is an excellent boat, very well optimized and Joerg has prepared her with the utmost attention. His crew are all top sailors and I consider him as the favourite number one to win this Québec Saint Malo,' says Halvard Mabire who over the last year has been racing his Pogo 2S Campagne de France on the most important events around the planet.


Mabire also reckons that there is another German team that has good chances to get on the podium, Roger’s designed Red skippered by sailor/journalist Mathias Blumencron and three strong fellow countrymen. 'They will undoubtedly aim at the top three spots.' But Mabire is sure that the French will not make life easy for their German adversaries. 'Stéphane le Diraison has a very strong crew who comes from the Mini650 class. He and Bertrand Delesne, Vincent Barnaud and Eric Mézières know perfectly well their Pogo 2.' Yet, as Mabire emphasizes this is one of this year’s race characteristics.

'The level is very high, and apart from Joerg Riechers, whose latest triumphs speak for themselves, there are no less than five or six boats that can fight for victory.'

Thierry Bouchard’s powerful Akilaria RC2, Aloys Le Claquin who sails on Mare’s sistership Jack in the box and Sébastien Rogues on another Akilaria RC2 Eole Génération GDF Suez. 'But one can’t count out Fabrice Amédéo and Armel Tripon’s Geodis who surely will be fighting in the front pack' continues Mabire, who himself is one of the 'big names' in the class as he has demonstrated on many occasions and who, with the help of his two crew Miranda Mirron and Christian Bourroullec, will no doubt battle for leadership to Saint Malo.

'The American Dave Rearick and Belgium’s Michel Kleinjans on their Farr designed boats are also to be taken into consideration. Rearick was extremely fast during the Atlantic Cup and has a very strong crew, with young but experienced Emma Creighton who also comes from the Mini class.' For his Pogo 40S Groupe Picoty Jacques Fournier also selected some of the best sailors available as Jean Christophe Caso and Vendée Globe veteran Arnaud Boissières. 'If the weather forecast is confirmed we will start in light airs. In those conditions and with the boats at the upper limit of the class rule, there won’t be much difference in the fleet’s performance. It’s very even.'

This quote from sailor and yacht designer Samuel Manuard, says it all about this Transat Québec Saint-Malo, despite the boats looking so different as they receive the admiration of fans on the pontoon of Québec’s Bassin Louise. Between the 2006 Pogo 40 and the new Mach40 launched over the last two years, the boats have not become longer or beamer. On the other hand, the hull design, the bows, the deck arrangements and the cockpit setting have changed largely.

'The idea in designing the Mach 40 was to have a fast reaching boat that would not be too handicapped in light wind with an ergonomic setup of the cockpit that could well protect the crew, because to race these boats well you also have to keep the men’s safety and comfort in mind.'

Manuard has his favourites too 'For me Michel Kleinjans on Roaring Forty 2 is very dangerous, he has a new boat and an incredible offshore experience. He has just finished the Twostar in pretty hard conditions; he’s one to watch out for. Then there are some French teams, Thierry Bouchard on Comiris Pôle Santé who is very fast. If the conditions are not going to be too harsh, they clearly have a chance in light breeze.

But let’s not forget Fabrice Amedeo and Armel Tripon on their Akilara or Stéphane le Diraison on IX Blue, they all have good boats and are excellent sailors. So far the strategy does not look very clear and if it is not going to be a drag race in strong conditions, then it could be anyone’s game. On the newest boats, it will be the men to make a difference.'

The Class 40 fleet competing in this year’s Transat Québec Saint Malo represents also in full the level offshore racing has reached, boats and crews get better and better and the more international the class becomes the level goes up another notch. The legendary French hegemony could well be threatened, spicing up the race even more. There will be plenty of opportunities for everyone, the battle will no doubt be fierce and yet the winner’s name will only be known in Saint Malo.


Transat Quebec Saint Malo website

Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearZhik Dinghy 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Supermaxi Scallywag has her first outing on Sydney Harbour
Scallywag is a 100' Super Maxi Yacht (ex Ragamuffin 100) owned by a HongKong Business man. Scallywag is a 100' Super Maxi Yacht (ex Ragamuffin 100) owned by a HongKong Business man. Yesterday the boat took it first sail on Sydney Harbour in preparation for this weekend's start of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race
Posted today at 9:29 pm
Extreme Sailing Series– Oman Air sneak early lead despite bump on nose
Hamburg’s River Elbe in the HafenCity area was transformed into the ultimate test in Stadium Racing today Hamburg’s River Elbe in the HafenCity area was transformed into the ultimate test in Stadium Racing today, with the narrow river, passing traffic, high walls, shifty light winds and strong currents challenging the fleet on the opening day
Posted today at 7:29 pm
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Quantum Racing top of the pops
Quantum Racing stand on the threshold of their third regatta win of the season after sailing to their fourth win today. The Bay of Palma lived up to its one way traffic reputation for most of the time. The risk-reward equation for those pressing for the pin end launch was high. But significantly both of today’s race winners – Quantum Racing and Bronenosec– favoured the lower risk mid line starts where they had a better chance of coming away from the gun at maximum speed by staying clear of the jousting and jostling
Posted today at 6:33 pm
Debriefing the 2015-16 Clipper Round The World Race with Huw Fernie
Sail-World talked with Huw Fernie of Visit Seattle to learn more about a Clipper Round The World Race skipper’s life. Skipper Huw Fernie and his Visit Seattle crew took top honors in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, marking their second podium finish during the 2015/16 Clipper Round The World Race. I recently caught up with Fernie to learn more about Visit Seattle’s success in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, and to learn more about the life of a Clipper Round The World Race skipper.
Posted today at 6:15 pm
Oman Air quick to master light airs on Day 1 of Extreme Sailing Series
Last year’s wild and gusty winds gave way to light simmering airs but the Oman Sail was quick to master the conditions. The compact River Elbe race course, bordered on all sides by cargo containers and all the handling equipment associated with one of the busiest ports in the world, was expected to be tricky for the GC32 fleet even though the race area had been expanded.
Posted today at 5:16 pm
Finale of Clipper Race global series starts in The Netherlands
The 198nm race to London is going to be one of the most nail-biting yet with just six points separating the top teams After a Departure Ceremony from Willemsoord Marina and a Parade of Sail in the presence of Dutch Royal Navy ship ZrMs Luymes, the fleet started the final short sprint to London off the Dutch coast.
Posted today at 3:22 pm
Thousands of spectators expected to welcome home Clipper Race fleet
Hurricane winds, giant waves, freezing conditions, battered boats and tragedy fail to quell fighting spirit of the crew. The tenth edition of the famous biennial race for novice sailors led by professional skippers is regarded as the most challenging on record after the event endured the most extreme conditions it has ever faced in its 20-year history.
Posted today at 1:58 pm
Trans-Atlantic record- Comanche sets new monohull record
Comanche has crossed the virtual finish line off the Lizard, England in her attempt to set two new world sailing records Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark's supermaxi Comanche has crossed the virtual finish line off the Lizard, England in her attempt to set two new world sailing records. She finished at 11:45 UTC on Thursday July 28,2016, having left New York on Saturday July 23, 2016.
Posted today at 11:09 am
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - France Blue blasts back
The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. A front passed through early morning leaving behind it a lumpy sea, further kicked up by a strong eastbound tide.
Posted today at 6:09 am
52 Super Series - Double bullet Quantum jump clear
Two hard earned wins for Quantum Racing elevates the team which is steered by owner Doug DeVos Two hard earned wins for Quantum Racing elevates the team which is steered by owner Doug DeVos to a lead of four points ahead of Azzurra at the 52 Super Series’ Puerto Portals Sailing Week on the Bay of Palma.
Posted today at 5:19 am