Please select your home edition
Edition
North Sails 2021 Innovation - LEADERBOARD

The Ocean Race Europe start

by The Ocean Race Europe 29 May 08:14 PDT 29 May 2021
Start - The Ocean Race Europe, Lorient, France to Cascais, Portugal - May 29, 2021 - Leg 1, © Sailing Energy / The Ocean Race

The inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe got under way today with a fleet of 12 high-performance ocean-going yachts setting off from Lorient, France on the opening leg to Cascais in Portugal.

This new three-stage European race has been created to showcase professional fully-crewed offshore racing and will see the fleet of 12 teams representing nine countries stop off in Cascais and Alicante, Spain on the way to the race finish in Genova, Italy on June 19.

Conditions at start time were extremely light, with the teams easing across the line with a favourable tide and tacking through a race gate before heading for the open waters off Lorient.

According to Wouter Verbraak, navigator aboard the Dutch Team Childhood I VO65, the light wind conditions at the start could prove critical in determining the running order for the rest of the leg.

"That is going to be a key moment of the race, so we will try to be not too radical and stick with the fleet so that we don't get left behind," Verbraak said. "Then it is going to be quite challenging for the rest of the leg because we are expecting strong winds around Finisterre and onward as we go out reaching into the Atlantic and back. But then the finish is looking very light.

"Like in many ocean races, you need to be good at everything. So for us, all round performance is what we will mostly focus on."

The crew of the Portuguese Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team VO65 would love nothing less than to lead the fleet into Cascais - the team's home port and training base in the lead up to The Ocean Race Europe.

But the team's skipper, Frenchman Yoann Richomme, confirmed that the crew has its sights on winning the race overall, having had the most pre-race training time of all the seven VO65 teams - but he also made it clear that they were taking nothing for granted.

"The goal has always been to win it, for sure," Richomme said. "We have been given everything we need to do that. The race is the race; it's really hard, it can come down to one little mistake.

"We all know that we will make a lot of mistakes - we will just try to make less than the others."

11th Hour Racing Team's Swiss sailor Justine Mettraux said she had lots of confidence in the hours of pre-race preparation the team's renowned British navigator Simon Fisher (aka SiFi) had put for the opening leg of The Ocean Race Europe.

"I don't think it is going to be easy going out of Brittany and away from Lorient," Mettraux said. "You have to decide what is the fastest way out, the heading you want to take because you think it will take you fastest out of the light winds.

"SiFi has a lot of experience in all of that and I am pretty confident in what he does, and we will do our best to make the boat go fast. "I think the hard part will be the start and the first few days, then we will see where we sit."

With near flat calm conditions prevailing at the race start time of 1345 CEST, the race committee set a reaching start towards a short departure gate between two fixed yellow buoys, giving the fleet the best chance of making headway on the tide away from Lorient.

The super light wind conditions left the boats ghosting across the mirror-flat waters off Lorient as the sailors strained their eyes searching the horizon for the next little puff of breeze.

Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team did the best job of extracting themselves from the melee of boats at the start to slowly but sure eke out ahead to lead the 12-boat fleet at the Lorient exit gate.

Later today the fleet is expected to encounter better winds as the crews negotiate the Bay of Biscay on the way towards the northwest tip of Spain at Cape Finisterre.

The crews received a rousing send off from Lorient, where the sailors and race organisers have been operating under a strict Covid 19 protocol designed and managed by Spanish company Quirónprevención of the Quirónsalud group to ensure the safety of the competitors and race staff for the event.

Among the entourage of local dignitaries on the pontoons in Lorient to wish the crews good luck on the way to Cascais were: Fabrice Loher, Lorient's mayor and president of the Lorient Agglomération; Ronan Loas, mayor of Ploemeur and vice president of the Lorient Agglomération; Patrice Valton, vice president of the Lorient Agglomération; Maria Colas, vice-president in charge of mobility at the Lorient Agglomération; Philippe Nourissat, from the Lorient mayor's office; Freddie Follezou, president of AudéLor and vice president of the Lorient Agglomération; and Jean-Philippe Cau, president of Lorient Grand Large.

The race start was broadcast to a worldwide audience on The Ocean Race digital platforms, as well as on Eurosport across the continent, in more than 20 languages. Coverage continues throughout the event on both platforms.

Website:theoceanrace.com

Related Articles

Start date confirmed for The Ocean Race 2022-23
Two race fleets will assemble in Alicante, the Spanish home of the Race Two race fleets will assemble in Alicante, the Spanish home of the Race, for the winter holiday period in 2022 before a mid-January 2023 start for leg one of the around the world race. Posted on 24 Nov
The Ocean Race is in the Race to Zero
Joining hundreds of leading sports organisations The Ocean Race is joining hundreds of leading sports organisations across the world in making bold commitments to drastically reduce its impact on the environment. Posted on 20 Nov
The Ocean Race: Two stopovers dropped
The next edition of The Ocean Race will feature the longest Southern Ocean leg in its history. Auckland and China have been dropped as stopovers for the next edition of The Ocean Race. The course for the crewed race around the world has been updated and it includes an epic crossing of the Southern Ocean - the longest leg in the history of the Race Posted on 4 Nov
Relay4Nature arrives in Glasgow
For global climate conference COP26 Nature's Baton, the symbol of Relay4Nature, has been welcomed at the landmark event by Vel Gnanendran, Director for Climate and Environment, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. Posted on 1 Nov
1,000 miles offshore race announced for July
Third annual Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy to include brand-new "A Thousand Miles Race" A 1,000 miles offshore Atlantic race and two new official race records are among the exciting additions to the 2022 Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy, which will take place next year in Cascais, Portugal. Posted on 31 Oct
Italia Sailing Team enters The Ocean Race 2022-23
The goal is to give Italian tourism a further boost and enhance the Made in Italy brand During a press conference organised by the Yacht Club Italiano on Sunday evening, the Italian Minister of Tourism, Massimo Garavaglia, gave his full support for an Italian entry in the next edition of The Ocean Race, scheduled to start in late 2022. Posted on 20 Sep
Boat building industry comes together
To drive action for the planet A new survey by The Ocean Race, the world's toughest test of a team in sport, has found an overwhelming number of people working in the sailing and boat building industry want the field to become more sustainable. Posted on 14 Sep
Ocean Race to call for action to protect the seas
At IUCN World Conservation Congress The Ocean Race, the round-the-world sailing competition known as the toughest test of a team in sport, is set to play a leading role in one of the world's most important environmental conferences. Posted on 2 Sep
Line honours for Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team
In 21st edition of the prestigious Cascais Vela The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team was awarded the trophy for line honours 1st place with its VO65 boat "Racing for the Planet", with a clean sweep of victories in one of the biggest and most prestigious regattas in Portugal, Cascais Vela. Posted on 31 Aug
Spanish fishermen are fighting pollution
Collected waste is used in the manufacturing of sustainable clothing Nacho Llorca, the President of the Villajoyosa Fisherman's Association, shares how pollution is threatening the livelihoods of fishermen all over the world. Posted on 20 Aug
Hella Dual Colour Floodlights - 728 x 90px - 004 gif BottomRooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTERJ Composites 2020 - FOOTER