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Countdown to Quebec Saint Malo Transat

'La flotte des Class 50’Open Photo: Mer & Média ® Transat Quebec - Saint-Malo'   

Gradually, the 28 crews registered for the seventh edition of the Quebec Saint Malo are getting back on board their boats from France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and England, interrupting an IRC season or Round France sailing race or the preparation for the Figaro.

During the day we are expecting the arrival of the sixth 50-ft multihull, Hervé Cléris's trimaran Prince de Bretagne, while the crews, almost all back together are getting ready to deal with the final scars after a long and sometimes tough delivery voyage from France or the United States.

A number of trips are planned for the boats that need to be adjusted or have their new sails fine-tuned. The people of Quebec are taking advantage of the crews' work, admiring their boats under sail training off the port, or watching the continual movement of crewmen and the preparations, as they work together in an extraordinarily relaxed manner together. The pressure will be for later, when the first weather forecasts will give them an idea of what the fearsome Saint Lawrence River will be offering the yachtsmen from eleven o'clock next Sunday.

Sailing light or getting ready for a tough fight?

The number of crewmen taken on board the yachts in the different classes registered for the start of this seventh edition of the Quebec-Saint Malo remains up to the skipper, with three men being the minimum required. The motivation to keep this figure down varies according to the potential of the yachts, but is also a strategic choice demanding a lot of careful reflection. Thus, Lionel Barrier (Espril large-Talmont Saint Hilaire) admits without any hesitation that he has given priority to the length of the voyage and therefore opted to set sail with five crewmen on board; 'It's a long voyage and this transatlantic race has often been decided in the English Channel, in the quiet summer weather, which can be found on the coast of Brittany,' he explained. 'That's where we really need men that are fit, physically and mentally!'

This experienced Mini racer will thus be supporting Jean-Edouard Criquioche and Jacques Fournier alongside two other Class 40 members, the Norman, Louis Duc and André Jeantet. It is rather different for some other Mini racers, who are just as experienced and who quite naturally have arrived in a 40-foot boat; Tanguy Delamotte, Pom Green and Samuel Manuard, accomplished solo yachtsmen have formed a strong team that will be feared throughout the course, and who are confident that their solid experience as single-handed yachtsmen will help them face any adversity.

'The weight factor cannot be forgottten when you need to get out of rather calm buffer zones,' adds Halvard Mabire, who has also chosen a minimum number of mouths to feed, just being accompanied by Antoine Carpentier and Didier le Vourch, bot of whom are solid sailors and confirmed racers. So it is a question of slimming down to a minimum weight or finding yourself a lot of muscle? We shall find out the answer in Saint Malo at the end of a race that everyone believes will be a closely fought battle with boats side by side.

One of the unique features of this Quebec - Saint Malo transatlantic race is its 400 km of river sailing in the Saint Lawrence; but passing Percé, after the compulsory mark at Rimouski, halfway between Quebec and the estuary, does not totally mean they are free to do what they want on the way to the Atlantic. The competitors must in fact pass through the middle of the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, leaving Miquelon to port, and Saint Pierre to their right. The Banchenou Buoy off Saint Malo will then be their next goal, unless the need to pay attention to drifting icebergs forces the organisers to set up a virtual gate to the south of the zone that is considered dangerous, in order to ensure the yachtsmen avoid the danger area.

The Class40 association brings together the skippers of Class40 boats as well as any other person interested in the evolution linked to these yachts. The Class40 is an ocean-going monohull meant for racing and cruising, the length of which is 40-feet (12.18 m).

The aim of the class 40 is to bring together experienced amateurs with professional skippers for a programme of coastal and ocean races in which they can compete, while enjoying and sharing their experiences.

What makes this class attractive is partly the simplicity and the strict, clear rules, allowing racers to take part on limited budgets. Belgians, Dutch, Germans, British and Italian sailors have turned this class into a truly international affair.

Port de Québec Photo: Mer & Média ® Transat Quebec - Saint-Malo -  

The seventh Transat Quebec Saint-Malo 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:
a.. 18 in Class 40
b.. 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:
a.. 11H00: start for the Class40.
b.. 11H30: start for the monohulls and Class 50' Open.

- Sunday 10th August 2008: Prize ceremony for the Transat Quebec Saint-Malo in Saint-Malo.

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).

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11:46 PM Tue 15 Jul 2008 GMT

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