Six IMOCAs line up in Douarnenez for this first race, a course which is something of a prelude feeder for the IMOCA Globe Series which really begins on June 1st in Monaco. The Bermuda 1000 sees two IMOCA rookies, Manu Cousin who takes full control of his boat after the Grand Prix Guyader, and Damien Seguin who will be assisted initially by Jean Le Cam. For the others it will be a solo race, the first chance to build some solid racing miles this season.
Manu Cousin (Setin Group): For the sailor from Normandy who is now settled in Les Sables d'Olonne, the Bermuda 1000 Race will be something of a baptism of fire sailing solo on an IMOCA. For him, there will inevitably be some pressure and emotion as he starts. “At times like this you are in two minds, you want to get going and at the same time you have a little bit of apprehension."
Damien Seguin (Apicil Group): For his first race in an IMOCA, Damien Seguin has teamed up with Jean Le Cam who has prepared the boat. Even if this is not a qualifying race for the next Route du Rhum, it will be a great opportunity to discover the boat and learn from a real IMOCA master.
Samantha Davies (Initiatives Coeur): Davies’ first solo race aboard her new IMOCA. The French based Briton already know the measure of her machine after racing theTransat Jacques-Vabre with Tanguy de Lamotte, but this is chance to refine and practice her solo skills, which may be just a little ring rusty after five years away from solo IMOCA racing. “Things have changed a lot since then, like ballast and the foil systems. But most of all here I am not having been sailing alone for five years. "
Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest - Art et Fenêtres): After completing his first Vendée Globe, Amédéo decided to step things up by acquiring the former No Way Back. With this foiler of last generation, he now has a boat which should allow him to compete near the front of the fleet. "The Bermuda 1000 race marks for me the end of one phase. It is the end of the work done in recent months, even if I am still very much in the learning phase. "
Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée): For the skipper who lives in Saint-Malo sailor this race will also allow him to get back to solo racing after competing in the Transat Jacques-Vabre with his partner Servane Escoffier. "The first goal is to get my qualification done for the Route du Rhum. This is my first solo sailing with the boat. The watchword is ‘caution’ above all else. The goal is to complete the course without breaking anything. But if the opportunity comes to make a result, why not? "
Paul Meilhat (SMA): Of the six competitors at the start, Paul is undoubtedly the one who knows his boat the best. This race will particularly be the opportunity to make a statement as early as possible in the 2018 season. "This race is a prelude to the launch of the championship in the Mediterranean. It is perfect. Personally it is also the beginning of a new initiative that I have in place as I look for new partners. Beyond the Route du Rhum with SMA, my goal is, of course, the Vendée Globe 2020. "
Given the weather forecast for the Irish Sea over the next few days, Jacques Caraës, the race director, has made the decision to change the course. Instead of heading out to the famous Fastnet lighthouse, the competitors will have head to a virtual mark located 300 miles west of La Coruña before turning to Cascais whilst respecting the DST off Lisbon. Caraës says: "The wind conditions, but especially the sea conditions, could be pretty bad. The goal for this first race of the season is to allow competitors to sail in decent conditions. Nevertheless the crossing of the Bay of Biscay still promises to be pretty challenging. It will be an excellent test. "