Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 is due to start on 29 October 2011 in Alicante, Spain and will finish in Galway, Ireland in July 2012. The pontoons in Lorient were crammed with spectators as Groupama sailing team waved goodbye to their French home for the last time for nine months.
More than a hundred fans, VIP guests and shore crew packed the dock as Groupama 4’s lines were cast off and she set sail for Alicante, start port of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Skipper Franck Cammas said the team’s departure stirred up a mix of emotions.
'This delivery trip is a transition,' he said. 'It’s sad because we're leaving our base, our friends and our families. It's a drastic change of life which is going to last 10 months. However, it's also very exciting as we're going to have an exciting adventure around the world.'
The next time Groupama sailing team will see their home shores will be at the Lorient stopover in June 2012 after sailing almost 39,000 nautical miles around the world.
Groupama trimmer Phil Harmer added: 'When I see everyone who's come here to bid us farewell, I'm keen to return to Lorient to see the welcome they'll have in store for us then!'
Groupama 4 is expected to reach Alicante on September 27 ahead of the race start on October 29. Volvo Ocean Race website