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Brest Atlantiques - One month to the start

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson 4 Oct 2019 02:12 PDT 3 November 2019
2019 Brest Atlantiques © Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

The Brest Atlantiques race, a 14,000 mile loop which will involve the four trimarans of the Ultim Class 32/33, will start on Sunday 3rd November at 13:02 in Brest. Here is all you need to know in the one month lead up to the great event of the season.

A Sunday at the gateway to the Atlantic

The start of the inaugural edition of Brest Atlantiques will take place on Sunday 3rd November at 13:02 on the 2 mile strait of Goulet de Brest, between the Saint-Mathieu point and the Toulinguet lighthouse (which will also act as the finish line). The 14,000 mile route which, to this day is the longest course ever organised by Ultim on the triangle Brest - Rio - Cape Town - Brest, is almost totally clear as there are only two geographical markers that the boats must leave to port, the chain of Cagarras Islands, in front of the famous Ipanema beach in the Bay of Rio and Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.

An unprecedented course, lined with several weather traps, especially along The Cape, a route almost never taken in offshore racing. "The first part is like a Jules Verne trophy or the record of a solo circumnavigation of the world, especially with the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which requires skillful movements, then the South Atlantic High which, if offset from its usual position offers various possibilities, especially for very fast boats. There is also the novelty of the crossing point between the Cagarras Islands which can slow the boats down and tighten up gaps in the race. The second part is unknown, with the route up the South Atlantic from The Cape which, if there are gaps, can give way to unusual strategic moves along the African coast from boats positioned behind. You also need to take the time into account, 30 days is a long time, a first for the trimarans of the Ultim Class 32/33" comments Jacques Caraës, the Race Director.

A "four star" entry list

Four 32-meter-long trimarans each skippered by four fantastic pairs and accompanied by a media man (who is not allowed to take an active role in the performance of the boat) will participate in Brest Atlantiques. Actual leader: Yves Le Blévec/Alex Pella), Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas/Charles Caudrelier), Trimaran Macif (François Gabart/Gwénolé Gahinet) and Sodebo Ultim 3 (Thomas Coville/Jean-Luc Nélias). The bar has been set very high as these eight sailors together hold a total of eleven wins in the Transat Jacques Vabre, five on the The Ocean Race (ex Volvo Ocean Race), four on the Route du Rhum, two on the Solitaire du Figaro and the Mini-Transat, one on the Vendée Globe, the Transat AG2R and the English Transat, while five of them hold or have held the Jules Verne Trophy, two hold the solo circumnavigation of the world records.

"In addition to the quality of the boats that are, offshore, the fastest on the planet, the crews have nothing to envy: the eight sailors on the Brest Atlantiques have a breath taking track record and perform at the absolute top level across national and international events. "It is without a doubt that we are going to witness a very high flying sailing contest" declares Emmanuel Bachellerie, general manager of Brest Ultim Sailing, the organising authority of Brest Atlantiques.

Nine days of festivities in Brest

The official village of Brest Atlantiques will be inaugurated on Saturday 26th October at 10am and will close its doors in the late afternoon of Sunday 3rd November after the departure of the boats. The village, located on the 300m long Malbert dock, where the four 32 meter-long trimarans will be moored, will consist of an exhibitor space occupied by the grand majority of owners involved in the race, a central tent of 600m2 which will offer visitors a model presentation of the boats and sailors and their teams, as well as a projection and conference room. Concerts on a main stage equipped with a large screen are scheduled every day and two evening concerts will take place on Saturday 26th October and 2nd November.

"This is the first time Brest will host a village for this duration and we are convinced that given the strong maritime culture of the Brest people, many people will come to admire the trimarans and show their support for the skippers, we want Brest Atlantiques to radiate as much as possible in the surrounding region" explains Manfred Ramspacher who assists Emmanuel Bachellerie in the management and running of the event, on land and at sea.

"Port of the Jules Verne Trophy, numerous world tours, Atlantic crossings and sporting achievements, Brest helps to make the ocean vibrate in the heart of our compatriots. With two capes to cross, the skippers of the Ultim 32/33 class open a new chapter of the big book of offshore racing. The people of Brest will come together once again to make this event a successful celebration of sailing and sport and maritime commitment", enthuses François Cuillandre, Mayor of Brest and president of the Brest Métropole, institutional partners of Brest Atlantiques Océanopolis, the Brittany region and the Finistère county council.

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