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26 boats ready to set sail for Transat Québec Saint-Malo Ocean Race

by Marie-Michelle Gagné on 29 Jun 2016
Many Class40 are now in Québec ! Steve Deschênes
Things are heating up at the port of Québec and the Quai Paquet wharf across the river in Lévis, with just days to go until the festivities commence for the lead-up to the ninth edition of the prestigious Transat Québec Saint-Malo ocean race, presented in collaboration with the City of Lévis.

From July 2–13, the festival villages on both sides of the river in Quebec City and Lévis will play host to an array of free festivities showcasing the fascinating world of ocean racing. 26 yachts from six countries as far afield as the Sultanate of Oman and Japan are raring to set sail on this famous race across the Atlantic.

This ninth edition of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo promises to be a thrilling one, with some of the biggest names in ocean racing among the registered skippers—namely Gilles Lamiré and Thibault Vauchel-Camus, respective winners of the recent Transat Bakerly Race in the Multi50 and Class 40 categories, with two Ultimate Class trimarans to boot, including the eagerly-awaited 131-foot mutihull Spindrift 2.

While 19 Class40 yachts, four Multi50 boats, and one Open Mono will be crossing the starting line at 1:00 p.m. on July 10, the start of the race for the two Ultimate Class trimarans will be staggered to 3:00 p.m. on July 12—giving the skippers a clear run as they battle it out to beat the existing record for the crossing of seven days and 20 hours, set by in 1996 by Loïck Peyron at the helm of Fujicolor II, a 60-foot trimaran.

“There’s no doubt this ninth edition will be a memorable one, with such an impressive list of competitors,” said Sylvain Gagné, president of event organizer Voile internationale Québec. “We are very proud to invite the general public to join us down by the water for the pre-race festivities and at the starting line. We’re going to have a lot of fun again this year!”

A festive atmosphere on both sides of the Atlantic

From July 2–13, spectators are invited to visit the Transat Village in the Port of Québec, where they can rub shoulders with the crews getting their boats ready for the big day, feast their eyes on the impressive ocean-racing yachts, and enjoy the array of activities on site, not to mention learning more about the exciting world of sailing.

Moored at the heart of the action in Bassin Louise, the Transat Village Barge will play host to a varied program of musical performances by Gabrielle Shonk, Robert’s Creek Saloon, Mademoiselle Fizz, and more, not to mention a series of talks—including one with the Spindrift crew—and interviews led by former Radio-Canada sports journalist Louis Hardy. One of his guests will be solo transatlantic rower Mylène Paquette on July 8, at 4:30 p.m. And to top it all off, there’ll be refreshments and food on offer from local caterer La Mangue Verte.

Other key features on the program include the City of Lévis Prologue, kicking off the festivities in collaboration with ferry operator Société de traversiers du Québec on July 2 at 2:00 p.m., as well the official presentation of the crews on July 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Bar de l’Écluse. Across the river in Lévis, the Quai Paquet Village has lots in store for visitors on the weekend of July 2 and 3 as well as on July 8 and July 10, while the Transat Pub will be the venue for music shows by artists including Sébastien Picard (an intimate blues set by renowned singer Seb Planet of the group Les Respectables) and Gabrielle Shonk performing in a duet.

On the French side of the Atlantic, the festivities at the Transat Village in Saint-Malo will be in full swing from July 18–28 to roll out the red carpet for the crews as they reach the finishing line after crossing the Atlantic Ocean from one side to the other.

How to track the race

For the first few days of the race, spectators can keep their eyes on the boats by following them along the shores of the river. As part of the five Cities, five Buoys Circuit, the cities of Lévis, Rimouski, Matane, Gaspé, and Percé along the south shore of the St. Lawrence will be organizing events for the general public to cheer the crews on as they pass these key waypoints and track their progress along the river.

The recommended vantage points on the big day in Quebec City are the riverside Parc de la Jetée for a direct view of the starting line, the Transat Village in the Port of Québec, Dufferin Terrace and Saint-Denis Terrace in the upper town, and the south shore of Île d’Orléans (the picturesque island east of the city). On the Lévis side of the river, the Quai Paquet wharf, the clifftop Terrasse de Lévis, the shoreline by Grève-Jolliet and the Davie shipyard, and the Parc de l’Anse-Tibbits all offer great vantage points for the race.

Spectators can even reserve a brunch cruis aboard the Louis-Jolliet to watcht he start of the Transat race from the water, with prices from $59. Tickets are available online. There are also plenty of opportunities to follow the race online at Thanks to GeoRacing cartography, fans can even track the yachts in real time as they make progress on their journey across the Atlantic. And that’s not all: from July 11–25, the event website will feature live audio capsules from the crews at sea, as well as extracts from their logbooks—a slice of life at the heart of the action and the next best thing to being on board!

All programming information and details on registered crews can be found online.

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