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12th Défi Azimut - Lorient Agglomération preview

by Défi Azimut 9 Sep 2022 23:34 PDT 14-16 September 2022
Défi Azimut - Lorient Agglomération © Christophe Favreau / Défi Azimut

It's the start of the autumn term for offshore racing and Lorient La Base is fervently preparing to play host to nearly 30 IMOCAs for an unprecedented four-day challenge.

  • Runs, singlehanded and crewed events and a time to beat: the programme for the sailors
  • On shore: a wealth of conferences and entertainment
  • The Défi Azimut focuses on the inclusion of young audiences

Indeed, there will be a record number of 18.28 m monohulls lining up for the start, with a hive of activity on shore, which will comprise conferences and round tables on some highly topical subjects: eco-construction, inclusion and innovation. The top skippers on the offshore racing circuit will be out in force to do battle on a much loved and original race format. The Azimut team is poised for action!

Runs, singlehanded and crewed racing and a time to beat: the programme for the sailors

Wednesday 14 September: between Lorient and Groix Island, Runs Azimut - Brittany
There will be a series of outright speed runs against the clock. The skippers will cast off from the port of Lorient at 10:30 UTC in a bid to establish the fastest time over the 1-mile course, with their steeds fully powered up. A dazzling opportunity to see the Imocas in action, 6 of them making their public debut on the racetrack (Charal, Holcim-PRB, Initiatives Cœur, Malizia-Seaexplorer, Biotherm, V and B - Monbana - Mayenne).

Thursday 15 September: 48h Azimut in solo format
A Défi Azimut highlight concocted by Race Director Hubert Lemonnier: one skipper and one Onboard reporter (OBR) to sail a course of at least 500 miles. These 48hrs of offshore racing will enable the skippers to size up the competition prior to the Route du Rhum (start on 6 November in Saint Malo)

48h Azimut - The Ocean Race in crewed format
4 boats will compete in crewed format + one OBR over a course spanning around 600 miles as a warm up for The Ocean Race, a crewed round the world race setting sail from Alicante in January 2023. Starts at 12:30 UTC with some crazy images and close racing on the cards. Boats due to return on Saturday 16 September.

Sunday 18 September: Tour of Groix Island
Note the record to beat: 1hr 08' 10 seconds set by Vincent Riou in 2015! The crews will dock out from Lorient La Base at 09:00 UTC for a race around Groix Island with guests aboard. A battle royal and magical images will ensure it's a showstopper...

On shore: a wealth of conferences and entertainment

Friday 16 September, the Défi Azimut will shine a spotlight on the town of Lorient, its conurbation, the Morbihan department and the Breton region. Innovation, ecological transition and eco-performance among racing yachts will be the central theme at these meetings acclaimed by specialists. Sea-themed outdoor screenings from the Base will share the film Maiden with the general public from 18:30 UTC.

Inclusion of young audiences

Because childhood is a crucial age for burgeoning passions, the Défi Azimut is focusing on the inclusion of young audiences to give them a special insight into offshore racing. As such, with the support of Lorient Grand Large, 200 children from in and around Lorient will be aboard the Pen Duick sailboats and a series of passenger vessels.

The environmental NGO, Surfrider Foundation, will be in attendance from Tuesday 13 September at the Défi Azimut - Lorient Agglomération to discuss its main project: the Blue Escape. The principle: to give children the opportunity to become ambassadors for the ocean. A format already trialled during the Défi Azimut 2021 and along the whole of the French coastline, the project has enjoyed incredible success with 320 children signed up to date.

To continue the social and environmental mission of Surfrider Foundation, a fundraiser will be organised throughout the Défi Azimut.

Sharing, sociability and performance are the watchwords of the Défi Azimut-Lorient Agglomération, which will see the elite of offshore racing battling it out offshore of Lorient and Les Courreaux de Groix from 13 to 18 September to the great delight of offshore racing afficionados!

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