Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad 728x90px_Rescue

Interview with the director of Brest Atlantiques, Emmanuel Bachellerie

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson 10 Dec 2019 11:14 PST
Brest Atlantiques fleet © Yvan Zedda / Brest Atlantiques

Sodebo Ultim 3, the only boat to have abandoned the race after stopping in Cape Town, arrived back in Lorient this morning, bringing the very first Brest Atlantiques race comes to a close.

Maxi Edmond de Rothschild took first place, ahead of MACIF in second and Actual Leader in third. Now the race is over, we had the chance to speak with Emmanuel Bachellerie, Director of Brest Ultim Sailing, the organizing authority of Brest Atlantiques.

What is your sporting assessment of Brest Atlantiques?

The race was very exciting to follow, with a number of technical pitstops that kept the game alive. It was a great sporting event in terms of what these boats are capable of, not to mention the skippers at the helm! With three out of the four boats managing to finish, and just one stopping a little short, we're pretty satisfied with the end results and feel like the objectives of the race were met.

There were some doubts about the Ultim Class 32/23 following the Route du Rhum, have these now been cleared with the success of Brest Atlantiques?

Yes, lots of questions were asked following the Route du Rhum, but let's also look at the whole story: the Ultim Collectif, which later became the Ultim Class 32/23, was created at the end of 2013, and in six years the fleet has only really had one hiccup: the Route du Rhum 2018. It's as if this race completely overshadowed the previous four years: the brilliant victory of Loïck Peyron on Banque Populaire VII on the Route du Rhum 2014; François Gabart and MACIF winning the Transat Jacques Vabre in November 2015, only a few months after launching the boat, and The Transat, their first solo transatlantic race, after a fantastic battle out at sea with Thomas Coville.

Coville himself was crowned the winner of the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Trophy at the end of 2016, in just 49 days and three hours. Then we had The Bridge in 2017 where we saw a magnificent match between MACIF and Idec Sport, before the end of that year François Gabart winning the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Trophy in 42 days. The teams have worked hard to ensure that the boats continue to advance and develop, and Brest Atlantiques will definitely have contributed to this progression.

All the sailors remarked on the difficulty of the race, was it important for Brest Atlantiques to be challenging enough to really test the boats?

The race was developed together with the sailors, some of whom fought hard to make sure the course would be suitably difficult for the boats. The idea was to have a big long demanding course with tough conditions, and I think we managed just that. Just before abandoning the race, Thomas Coville said: "We knew that Brest Atlantiques would be a very tough race, and we weren't disappointed!". These boats are designed to sail around the world. Here, they have gone more than halfway around the world, which is very positive.

What about the attendance at the race village and the entertainment that was organised there, do you think it was an overall success?

I think we had a pretty good turnout: we welcomed 60,000 visitors despite the pretty terrible weather, with a lot of rain and very strong winds which forced us to close the village on the second Saturday for safety reasons. Luckily, we had two great days on the two Sundays, during which we welcomed more than 20,000 people. So, taking into account the episodes of bad weather, we're pretty satisfied with this level of attendance.

Apart from the number of visitors, what we really wanted was for people to be able to find out lots of information about the boats and the sailors. From the feedback we received, everyone seems to have found the village really interesting, the highlights being the team presentations, which allowed the general public to interact directly with the sailors and the media men.

This was the first time that Brest has hosted an ocean race of this size, how do you think this partnership turned out?

Well, for years Brest has welcomed the arrival of skippers attempting to make new sailing records, so it's certainly not the first time this city has taken an interest in the open sea! But after Brest Atlantiques, I am convinced that Brest will become a key location for offshore racing not only in France, but also internationally. The city has everything you need: an ideal location on the French coast, an exceptional natural setting, with the Rade, the Goulet and the Avant-Goulet, good infrastructures, and an enthusiastic public...We are therefore delighted to have laid these first foundations. We couldn't have done it of course without the support of the regions of Finistère and Brittany, the Naval Group, Eiffage, Suez, Edf, all the owners, our official partners and suppliers, as well as all the media who have been following the race. And lastly, a final mention for the charities we have supported through the race: Innovéo and the Fondation Action Enfance.

Let's finish with reviewing the media around Brest Atlantiques, and in particular the novelty of having a media man on board each boat...

We don't have the final figures yet, but what we can already announce is that we have received more than 300,000 unique visitors on the website, 5.5 million page views, more than two million video views on our own platforms (website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube), just over 1,600 media clippings (print and web) to date, and 52,000 people who have played on the Virtual Regatta. For the first race of its kind, with four boats, and a delay to the departure that forced us to cancel two and a half hours of live TV on Sunday, November 3rd, the results are good.

As for the media men, I think it's been extremely positive, both in terms of the quality and variety of the content produced. We're glad that we allowed each team to choose their own media man and didn't impose any editorial guidelines. We were lucky to have very different profiles on each of the four boats, with, in turn, different ways of recording and telling the stories on board.

Will there be a second edition of Brest Atlantiques?

Taking into account everything we've discussed, I am convinced that Brest Atlantiques has everything it takes to become a classic. Time will tell!

To find all the videos from on board and also ashore, please go to the Brest Atlantiques YouTube channel.

Related Articles

Macif and Actual Leader complete Brest Atlantiques
François Gabart and Gwénolé Gahinet take second place MACIF crossed the finish line on Saturday at 07:43:50, two days, 21 hours, 19 minutes and four seconds after the winner, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, having covered 17,890 miles at an average speed of 23.4 knots. Posted on 7 Dec 2019
MACIF & Actual Leader expected in the early hours
The end of Brest Atlantiques is in sight The end of Brest Atlantiques is in sight, with MACIF expected to arrive early tomorrow morning, followed closely behind by Actual Leader. Posted on 6 Dec 2019
Brest Atlantiques: Gybing to the finish
MACIF and Actual Leader now have less than 1,000 miles separating them from the finish After more than 30 days at sea, MACIF and Actual Leader now have less than 1,000 miles separating them from the finish of Brest Atlantiques. With MACIF just out in front by 50 miles at 3pm today Posted on 5 Dec 2019
Brest Atlantiques: We have a winner
Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier have done it! After 28 days, 23 hours, 24 minutes and 46 seconds at sea, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, accompanied by their media man Yann Riou, are the winners of Brest Atlantiques. Posted on 4 Dec 2019
Brest Atlantiques Day 30
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is expected to claim its first major victory After little under 29 days at sea, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and media man Yann Riou are expected to be crowned the winners of Brest Atlantiques on Wednesday morning. Posted on 3 Dec 2019
Brest Atlantiques Day 27
The gap tightens between MACIF and Actual Leader While Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is now on track to reach Brest next Wednesday, the battle for second place is well and truly on between MACIF and Actual Leader. With only around thirty miles separating them, it looks like it will be a close call Posted on 2 Dec 2019
Brest Atlantiques Day 28
The finish line is fast approaching for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild The finish line is fast approaching for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are now heading straight towards Brest, where they are expected to arrive any time from Tuesday night to Wednesday. Posted on 2 Dec 2019
Brest Atlantiques Day 26
Under 2000 miles to go for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild With less than 2000 miles to go before the finish of Brest Atlantiques, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is now racing against the clock to reach the Azores as quickly as possible and then head straight for Brest. Posted on 30 Nov 2019
Brest Atlantiques Day 25
The fleet under surveillance At 10:02am today, Actual Leader crossed the equator, which means that all three boats racing on the Brest Atlantiques are now sailing in the Northern Hemisphere, with Maxi Edmond de Rothschild more than a day ahead of its two rivals. Posted on 29 Nov 2019
Brest Atlantiques Day 24
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild in the Doldrums, MACIF going at full speed After crossing the equator last night, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is now making its way across the Doldrums, with a comfortable lead over its competitors. Meanwhile, MACIF's decision to head west has proved to be a very good strategy Posted on 28 Nov 2019
Gul 2019 CODEZERO EVO FooterETNZShop-Merch-728x90 HR BottomRS Sailing 2019 - Footer