Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

“Retour à La Base” by Lorient Grand Large and the IMOCA Class

by IMOCA Globe Series 27 Oct 02:55 PDT 7 November 2021
Défi Azimut - Lorient Agglomération © Vincent Curutchet / Défi Azimut - Lorient Agglomération

Home to some of the most ambitious offshore racing projects, a skippers' training base and a venue synonymous with innovation and new technologies, Lorient La Base is highly influential.

Now, in collaboration with IMOCA Class, Lorient Grand Large is announcing the creation of 'Retour à La Base' (Return to La Base), a brand-new sports event dedicated to the famous 60-foot monohulls.

For over 10 years, the Lorient Grand Large association has been supporting skippers with both professional and amateur offshore racing projects. An organiser as well as a facilitator, Lorient Grand Large also works year-round hosting local and international nautical events.

A proposal for a 'return rally' between Martinique and Lorient from November 2021

This November, with the majority of IMOCAs docking in at Fort de France in Martinique, the finish venue for the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, Lorient Grand Large is organising a return rally via the sea in double-handed or crewed configuration, the premise of an even more ambitious project in two years' time.

The principle is simple. A start line set to the north of the island will be open for a few days from 27 November so that each participant can set sail whenever they like. The stopwatch will be activated as the boat crosses the start line and stop upon their passage of the finish line at the entrance to the port of Lorient. The crews who make the fastest passage times will be rewarded. Over the course of their Atlantic passage, the progress of the boats will be able to be directly tracked on a cartography with a rich seam of information being sent from on-board by each crew. The proposal is intended to be nice and easy for the sailors to implement, with the aim of stretching out this fine 2021 sailing season a little further.

"This route takes into consideration several different global issues. The ecological issue as this return journey offers an alternative to returning on cargo. The technological issue because it is always a real advantage allowing the boats to sail more and develop their onboard functioning. Lastly, human side as it allows the teams to navigate, then strategically determine the return route in terms of weather analysis and seek the downwind option, north of the Anticyclone. Finally, just before reaching the start line located north of Grand Rivière, the sailors will have the chance to sail downwind of Montagne Pelée, from St Pierre. They will be able to admire another facet of Martinique before setting off for Lorient La Base," explained Karine Fauconnier, coordinator of Lorient Grand Large.

The beginnings of a singlehanded race for 2023

The idea is to turn the 'Retour à La Base' into a singlehanded event that forms part of the IMOCA Globe Series Championship in November 2023, where it will serve as a qualifier for the Vendée Globe 2024-25.

"The Retour à La Base 2021 is essentially a 'warm up' for the singlehanded race in 2023, which will be a key step in a sailor qualifying for the Vendée Globe the following year. Lorient Agglomération has asserted its wish to include Lorient as a venue for hosting major offshore races. As such, creating its own singlehanded transatlantic race for IMOCAs with long-term aims to repeat it again and again is something we're very keen to pull off. In 2021, it will be a friendly 'rally', enabling us to lay down the foundations of our future ambitions. Naturally, we're delighted that several teams have already confirmed their participation," explains Jean-Philippe CAU, President of Lorient Grand Large.

A Lorient Grand Large and IMOCA Class collaboration

Following on from the organisation of The Ocean Europe prologue in Lorient back in May, Lorient Grand Large and IMOCA Class are continuing to strengthen their collaboration through this new project.

"A large number of the IMOCA teams work and develop their sports programmes here in Lorient. This region is also a hub for a great deal of the designing, building and kitting out of our boats. In this way, a singlehanded transatlantic race finishing in Lorient La Base will doubtless appeal to both the sailors and their partners. It's an ambitious challenge which we're absolutely delighted to be supporting," explains Antoine Mermod, President of IMOCA Class.

A fair trade project

IMOCA Class and Lorient Grand Large are also keen to inject a fair trade vibe into the "Retour à La Base" race by putting in place a system for transporting local goods such as coffee, pepper and other spices from the West Indies to Lorient.

"The idea is to be able to load around 40 kilos of local goods onto participating boats and thus contribute in some way to the circular economy. Discussions are under way with producers in the West Indies and retailers in Lorient. We hope to be able to start offering this scheme to the teams this year so that the project is up and running in earnest for 2023," explains Claire Vayer, who shares the responsibility for IMOCA Class' sustainable development programme.

To date, seven IMOCA teams have already expressed their intention to take part in this first 'Retour à La Base'!

Related Articles

Transat Jacques Vabre Day 21 update
Monohulls continue to thrill Charal's arrival completes the IMOCA podium but the racing rages on, especially for 4th and 5th between Initiatives Coeur and Arkéa-Paprec. The front of the Class 40 remains incredibly close with the current leader now just 600 miles from the finish. Posted on 27 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre Day 20 update
More podium finishes The IMOCA podium will soon be complete as the battles in the chasing fleet intensify. The damaged Ultime, Sodebo 3 is expected to end her heroic race tonight. The Class 40 leaders continue to be bunched together as sailors struggle in the soaring heat. Posted on 26 Nov
Ruyant and Lagravière storm to IMOCA victory
LinkedOut team win the Transat Jacques Vabre On a beautiful morning off Fort de France in Martinique, the blue and white Guillaume Verdier-designed IMOCA LinkedOut, sailed by Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière completed a comprehensive victory in the fifteenth Transat Jacques Vabre today. Posted on 25 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre Day 19 update
Boat damage and bad weather hits fleet The winner of the last edition of the race in the Class 40 has sustained keel damage, whilst bad weather off Martinique may delay the finish for the leading IMOCAs. Posted on 25 Nov
Beam reaching to the finish
The final stages of a classic Transat Jacques Vabre in the IMOCA Class The breeze looks patchy over the final miles to the finish at Fort de France on Martinique, but Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière are firmly on course for LinkedOut's first big win in the IMOCA Class. Posted on 24 Nov
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
Transat Jacques Vabre Day 18 update
ltim podium complete as monohulls race to finish The Ultime podium is complete. Late last night SVR-Lazartigue took second place ahead of Banque Populaire XI. The leading IMOCAs are due in Martinique on Thursday as the Class 40 make good progress across the Atlantic. Posted on 24 Nov
AC37 Protocol published, TJV, Skiff/Nacra Worlds
David Schmidt's newsletter with the latest from the sailing world Given the “time soup” that the world seems to have collectively entered since the start of the pandemic, you're forgiven if the 36th America's Cup (March, 2021) seems like ages ago. That said, the wheels of motion never cease in the AC world. Posted on 23 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre Day 17 update
Primonial takes line honours and the Ocean Fifty multihull title Primonial has taken line honours and the Ocean Fifty multihull title in the 2021 Transat Jacques Vabre race. French pair Sébastien Rogues and Matthieu Souben crossed the line in Martinique ahead of Koesio in second. Posted on 23 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre Day 16 update
The first boats are expected to arrive in Martinique overnight. The first boats are expected to arrive in Martinique overnight. The three fastest classes are slipping slowly through an area of light winds whilst the Class 40s are loving the trade winds. Posted on 22 Nov
Cyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTERCoast Guard Foundation FOOTER 2Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTER