News in brief

Charal Wins IMOCA Class in Rolex Fastnet Race

Charal Wins IMOCA Class in Rolex Fastnet Race
© Gauthier Lebec / Charal

First to round the Fastnet Rock on Sunday night at 2137hrs, Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt on board Charal won the IMOCA 60 class in the Rolex Fastnet Race when they crossed the finish line off Plymouth this Monday afternoon at 1402hrs , some 12 minutes ahead of IMOCA newcomer Kevin Escoffier sailing PRB with La Solitaire winner Nicolas Lunven. In third was Vendée Globe winner Armel Le Cléac’h sailing with IMOCA newcomer Clarisse Cremer. Bureau Vallée 2 sailed by Louis Burton and Davy Beaudart took fourth with Sam Davies and Paul Meilhat fourth on Initiatives Couer

Beyou and Pratt made a gain on their pursuers on their climb to the mythical rock lighthouse yesterday afternoon but as the breeze eased during the approach to Plymouth but they were able to hold on to win. Victory in the 20 boat IMOCA fleet is some compensation for Beyou who had to retire from the Route du Rhum last November because of various technical problems with his new Charal.

New Hugo Boss Unveiled

New Hugo Boss Unveiled
© Mark Lloyd / Hugo Boss

Alex Thomson has always been a solo racer who pushes the design envelope and the new VPLP designed Hugo Boss which has just been unveiled, the sixth IMOCA to bear the name of his principal sponsor, does not disappoint.

As well as the remarkable, sleek pared back look there are certain key innovations. A fully protected enclosed cockpit situated just behind the mast stands out clearly from what has been seen so far in the IMOCA class and the curved deck is covered with solar panels, signifying Thomson’s desire to complete the race using no fossil fuels.
To date all of the new generation IMOCAs have clear differences. The upcoming Transat Jacques Vabre will see five latest generation IMOCA 60s go up against each other for the first time, those being the boats of Thomson, Sébastien Simon, Charlie Dalin, Jérémie Beyou and Thomas Ruyant.

The distinctive black hull of the new Hugo Boss contrasts with flashes of fluorescent pink which can be seen across the boat’s coach roof, keel and rudder. Devised by Industrial Designer Karim Rashid – the man behind the brand identity of the boat – the bespoke fluro tone is a first for the IMOCA class. The boat will also feature never before seen on-board technologies, developed alongside Technology Partner Nokia Bell Labs, which is incubating this work for the ATR team, in keeping with its research for high-performance mission-critical applications.

“This sport is no longer just about qualified naval architecture and competent ocean racing” said Stewart Hosford, CEO of Alex Thomson Racing. “It’s a design and engineering challenge at the highest level. It’s about bringing together the best in the world in every single area, in the relentless pursuit of excellence, of perfection.”

New York to Vendée Transatlantic Race, The Last Oceanic Chance Before the Big Race

The second edition of the New York-Vendée race, from New York to Les Sables d'Olonne, will start on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
 It should muster almost all of the solo skippers who will take part in the 2020 Vendée Globe. The Transatlantic race will be the final event of the IMOCA Globe Series and will allow each racer to build their hard racing miles. In itself this mileage aggregate might yet prove decisive in terms of possible selection (if the number of candidates is greater than thirty). And it will also be an opportunity for the favorites to make their mark and to measure themselves against their competition on a predominantly downwind and fast reaching course.

And for the Vendée regional 'départment' the race represents a further opportunity to reinforce its image as a maritime, sporting region and further associate itself with the November start date for the 2020 Vendée Globe.
In 2018, Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ) won in 9 days, 16 hours 57 minutes and 49 seconds.

An Unlikely Final Resting Place for Kito de Pavant’s IMOCA 60

An Unlikely Final Resting Place for Kito de Pavant’s IMOCA 60

Back on the 6th December 6, 2016  whilst racing in the Vendée Globe aboard his IMOCA 60 Bastide Otto, Kito de Pavant hit an unidentified floating object in the Indian Ocean at around 44 ° South.

Kito had no alternative than to abandon his boat which appeared to be sinking. Very fortunately for the solo racer from Port-Camargue in the south of France the Marion Marion Dufresne, the supply ship which covers the French Antarctic Territories was just beginning a tour of the island bases of Crozet, Kerguelen and Amsterdam islands and could pluck De Pavant from his stricken boat.

Later in December  the distress beacon of his monohull stopped transmitting, a sign that the boat had probably sunk or broken up. At that point any real hope of finding the boat disappeared.

But seemingly against the odds, in November last year a cruising sailor from Hyères discovered a section of the remains of a race boat on the east coast shore of Madagascar. Bizarrely the island is north and west of the last known position of the boat, which, considering the prevailing winds and currents are westerly, seems unlikely. But De Pavant has formally identified definitive pieces of the boat as his and there can be no doubt, even if the boat is 800 miles north. The most feasible explanation is that the boat drifted all the way east to the west coast of Australia where it drifted north on the currents and into the trade winds which blew it back west to its final resting place on Madagascar.


The New IMOCA Arkéa Paprec Is Revealed

The New IMOCA Arkéa Paprec Is Revealed
© Yann Riou - Polaryse / Arkéa-Paprec

Rolled out of her hangar last night (Thursday) and launch today Friday, July 19th, the new Juan K designed IMOCA built for Sebastien Simon sees the light of day after ten months in build.

The monohull looks fabulous under the branding and graphics conceived by Jean-Baptiste Epron. The first observations are that the hull design is not as extreme as some expected.
“The form of the boat is pushed hard but we did not make ridiculous architectural choices. The key word was optimization, "says the Vendée born and bred young skipper Simon.

It is from the small details that the team hopes to gain most in performance. A lot of work has been done to lower the center of gravity of the boat, as well in the structure and build which was tightly controlled to gain from lightness, strength and stiffness,

The first real confrontation happens in a couple of weeks time as the Rolex Fastnet Race beckons with the start on August 3rd in Cowes.

British Sailor Alex Thomson Awarded Top Honour by French Embassy

In recognition of his services to the sport of sailing during a career spanning more than 20 years to date, Thomson was given the rank of Knight (“Chevalier”) of the National Order of Merit. He received a medal and certificate in a ceremony, held yesterday [Thursday, June 13] at the French Ambassador’s Residence in Kensington Palace Gardens. At 45-years old, Thomson is well below the average age of admission to the prestigious group of awardees and is among just a handful of non-French sailors to have ever been presented the honour by the French state.

On being awarded the honour, Thomson said: “I’m honoured and humbled to receive this award from the French Embassy. France holds a special place in my heart. It is where I have experienced some of the greatest moments in my career so far, and I have been warmly welcomed by the French people who are so passionate about this sport. I’d like to thank the Embassy and the Ambassador for this recognition, as well as my family, friends, team and the public who have supported me every step of the way”.
Jean-Pierre Jouyet, France’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, added: “I am thrilled that Mr. Thomson has been honoured with the Ordre national du Mérite. It symbolises France’s recognition of his contribution to sailing and the wider world of sports. In addition to being a great champion, Alex Thomson is a true gentleman and an example for the younger generations, conveying the values of hard work, courage and humility!”

Simon Wins Bermudes 1000 Race

Simon Wins Bermudes 1000 Race
© Yann Riou - Polaryse / Arkéa-Paprec

Sébastien Simon (Arkéa-Paprec), winner of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro last year has triumphed in his  first major solo Imoca race. Crossing the finish line of the Bermudes 1000 Race after 7 days 17 hours and 34 minutes of racing, the skipper from the Vendèe region won over second placed Yannick Bestaven (Master-CoQ), who was 3h:13mins behind the winner and third placed Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group ) was just 2 minutes behind him.

Already qualified for the Vendée Globe 2020-2021 as the skipper of a new boat, Sébastien Simon has won into Brest on the Imoca 60 PRB that Vincent Riou has been optimsings constantly since it was was launched in 2010 and fitted last year with foils as part of a further update from the Juan K office.
The Bermudes 1000 Race covered a 2000 mile course. En route to the Vendée Globe as part of the IMOCA Globe Series it allows skippers or candidates for the Vendée Globe to accumulate miles for their Vendée Globe selection.

full results:

Facebook live with Arnaud Boissières

On tuesday, 4th of april at 6:30pm (Western Europe), the french skipper Arnaud Boissières will be live on our Facebook page.
We will talk about his ambition for the next race, his experience from the previous editions of the Vendée Globe and more to come !
Ask your questions here :

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is the winner of the Golden Globe Race

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is the winner of the Golden Globe Race
© DR

Seventy three year old French sailing legend Jean-Luc Van Den Heede today won the Golden Globe Race, a solo non stop round the world race which was set up to replicate the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race some 50 years after Sir Robin Knox Johnston won the inaugural race and in so doing became the first person to non stop around the world.

This modern version of the original race sought to mirror much of the back to basics sailing technolgoy of the bygone age and so did not permit the solo skippers to use modern day electronic navigation instrumentation.
Veteran Van Den Heede completed his sixth circumnavigation today some 212 days after leaving Les Sables d'Olonne.

As a comparison the Vendée Globe solo record is 74 days set by Armel Le Cléac'h on the 2016-17 race.
Now aged 79 the British knight of the realm 'RKJ' was in Les Sables d'Olonne today to welcome 'VDH'.

The French sailor also takes over from Sir Robin as the oldest solo skipper to complete a solo round the world race, five years older than when the Englishman finished the Velux 5 Oceans Race at the age of 68. VDH took 100 days less than Sir Robin did in the original Sunday Times Race when he raced his Suhaili, a William Atkins designed 32 foot teak ketch.

Van Den Heede sailed Matmut, an English designed and built Rustler 36 of 10.77m.  VDH held on to his lead even after capsizing in the Pacific which required him to repair his rigging.

"It's more important to have morale than physical strength," he said when he finished.

Of the 18 sailors which started from Les Sables d'Olonne only five are still in the race. The closest challenger to Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, the Dutch sailor Mark Slats, has chosen to take shelter from a Biscay gale by La Coruna.

Clarisse Crémer to sail around the world

Clarisse Crémer to sail around the world
© Greg Gonzales / Banque Populaire

Clarisse Crémer has been chosen to wear the colours of Banque Populaire for an IMOCA project leading up to the 2020 Vendée Globe. The young skipper will be facing an exciting challenge, as so far she has only spent one night aboard an IMOCA during the Azimut Challenge last September, when she was the media reporter alongside Romain Attanasio in what was a fine start to her professional sailing career. But the HEC Business School graduate had already shone in other events, in particular taking second place in the series category in the 2017 Mini-Transat, on what was her first attempt, marking a brilliant conclusion to her own personal saga – Clarisse in the Atlantic – which showed that she was an excellent communicator, as well as a great sailor.

Clarisse now aims to set out around the world aboard the former SMA, which won the Route du Rhum in the IMOCA category last autumn, when she was in the hands of Paul Meilhat and which won the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe, when she was skippered by François Gabart. The boat has been chartered by the Banque Populaire Sailing Team from Mer Agitée. Ronan Lucas, the head of the Banque Populaire team does not intend to fit her with foils, but wants to ensure her reliability, as the boat has certainly clocked up a lot of miles and achieved a lot too. “Getting into the Top Ten would be a good outcome,” added the Team Director.

During the long awaited press conference from the partner to the French Sailing Federation and 2024 Olympics, it was also confirmed that the Ultim 32/23 project is being stepped up: the Banque Populaire team will be having a new flying trimaran built, which is due to be delivered in late 2020. Armel le Cléac’h will be at the helm. Reassured about his career, the winner of the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe will also take up the post of coach alongside Clarisse Crémer. “I’m very proud,” she said, “to be able to learn alongside him, although it is a bit intimidating too.” The IMOCA project and the race to qualify will start out in the water in July, once the Solitaire du Figaro has been raced in the colours of Everial for one and Banque Populaire for the other. Then, the pair will race together in the Transat Jacques Vabre in November.

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