The race village of the 'European Capital of Culture - Cap Istanbul' has just opened its quaysides in the Vieux Port in Nice. Already sailors and préparateurs are busying themselves to ensure that everything from the shackle pins to the smallest split pin, are present and correct; the most futile of accessories being indispensable for the morale of the troops. And yet, in this edition which is on the point of becoming the great Mediterranean class, the rules of this particular game differ considerably from the Figaro Bénéteau circuit.
'If we want this fine event to last, everyone is going to have to play the game.'
Christian Gout, race director of the 'European Capital of Culture - Cap Istanbul' didn't mince his words when bringing together the préparateurs early this morning and the sailors later in the day. 'In order to succeed, the race must call upon the reflexes of collective solidarity. We are a colony with limited material aboard. If everyone stays in their corner, the system we have created won't be able to function…'
It has to be said that the Cap Istanbul differs considerably from other races through the format it proposes. To sail from Nice to the Bosphorus Strait, via stopovers in Sardinia, Sicily, Crete or the island of Bozcaada, a village with 2,500 inhabitants off the coast of Turkey, means that you have to abandon any idea of logistical monitoring from the road. Gone is the reign of the préparateurs who travel the length and breadth of Europe's roads aboard van-workshops fully laden with spares.
For this 2008 edition 2008, the préparateurs and organisation are monitoring the race on the water aboard boats chartered specially for the occasion. Of course, this presupposes at the very least that you know how to manage an organisation, and that you accept the idea that the gear for one team can help others too…
The old individualistic reflexes need to be broken then, to rediscover the values which will ensure that the 'European Capital of Culture - Cap Istanbul' will be something other than just another race in the series calendar. In this way it shall be a great adventure which will remain entrenched in the memories of everyone concerned. The support plan in a few words:
The solo sailors will be accompanied by a fleet of four boats.
- The race committee boat: it will play host to the judges in charge of marking out the start and finish lines and checking the event runs smoothly on a sporting level. Aboard this boat there will be three préparateurs.
- The race management and media boat: this will play host, in addition to race director Christian Gout, to the race media team: cameraman, editor, writer. This is the only boat which won't have any préparateurs aboard, given the nature of the decisions which may be taken on board.
- Two support boats which will embark préparateurs: each préparateur will be appointed two competitors. They will have the right to a set amount of material limited by the weight allowed aboard the boat. The consequences:
The préparateurs and the sailors will have to get along in order to collectively be capable of resolving any situation both at sea and on land. The whole of the little floating caravan will have to play the game of collective solidarity. In return they should taste the inherent pleasures of a shared adventure. Quotes from the Pontoons:
Joachim Brard, préparateur for Erwan Tabarly's Figaro Athema: 'This race upsets our habits. For the first time, we're not exclusively attached to a single sailor. All of the préparateurs are going to have to talk to each other a great deal and act intelligently. The results could be amusing. At the stopovers we might find ourselves welcoming in a direct rival to the sailor we're working for. But if we play the game right, it should create a unique atmosphere which is something we'll still be talking about for a long time to come…' www.capistanbul.com