19 of the 33 skippers taking part in the Vendée Globe have been getting together in Lorient from today to compete in the Azimut Challenge, a promotional and sporting event offering the future round the world competitors one final opportunity to compete in races, sailing solo and with a crew, before the start from Les Sables d’Olonne on 8th November.
Organised every autumn over the past ten years, it has become a regular fixture for the IMOCA class offering an end of summer race and a chance to look forward to more racing, often coming just before a major transatlantic race. This time, it will be just before the round the world voyage.
Spread over five days, the programme offers racing, fun and a friendly get together to the sailors: crewed speed runs, a 48-hour solo long distance race and the race around Groix which closes the event on Sunday. In 2019, Jérémie Beyou (Charal) won all three events.
Nineteen skippers * have signed up for the event in Lorient. There is no pressure on them to get a good result, but they will want to make the most of the event to sail and meet their partners, test some of their gear and continue to work on what is necessary: finding out what it feels like sailing solo aboard the boat that in under sixty days from now will take them around the world.
The nineteen sailors registeredd:
Fabrice AMEDEO (NEWREST – ART & FENÊTRES), Romain ATTANASIO(PURE – BEST WESTERN), Jérémie BEYOU (CHARAL), Louis BURTON (BUREAU VALLEE 2), Clarisse CREMER (BANQUE POPULAIRE X), Charlie DALIN (APIVIA), Samantha DAVIES (INITIATIVES-CŒUR), Benjamin DUTREUX (OMIA - WATER FAMILY) , Kevin ESCOFFIER (PRB), Boris HERRMANN (SEA EXPLORER – YACHT CLUB DE MONACO), Isabelle JOSCHKE (MACSF), Stéphane LE DIRAISON (TIME FOR OCEANS), Miranda MERRON (CAMPAGNE DE France), Alan ROURA (LA FABRIQUE), Thomas RUYANT (LINKEDOUT), Damien SEGUIN (GROUPE APICI), Sébastien SIMON (ARKEA – PAPREC), Maxime SOREL (V AND B – MAYENNE), Armel TRIPON (L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE).
Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut :
“This is the final battle before the Vendée Globe. It is important for me and my team. It is also an opportunity for our partners to see what a big ocean race event is like. There is only one event like this. We will be in Vendée Globe mode with sails and rigging and probably give the new foils a test. I have done a lot of sailing since my three-week holiday. This is the final stretch now and the Azimut Challenege is a good way to prepare and helps our partnership. I can’t wait!”
Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2 :
“I haven’t missed a single Azimut Challenge since it was set up ten years ago. I love this varied and friendly format. It is always interesting to do battle a few weeks before the start of the Vendée Globe. I’m not putting any pressure on myself, but these 48 hours of solo racing are going to be important to gain some more experience, even if Bureau Vallée 2 is technically ready for the Vendée Globe.”
Alan Roura, La Fabrique :
“The Azimut Challenge is a great test and I’m pleased to be competing in it. It is obvious that these short phases of racing mean you have to do well from the start, while I tend to take a bit of time to get up to speed. So it is a good way of working on starts and tactics. It will be a great show for the public and partners.”
Jérémie Beyou, Charal :
“The Azimut Challenge is a time of sharing with others. It is in fact the only real opportunity to show off our boats so close to the public and to share our excitement and show what ocean racing is all about. There is everything to allow us to enjoy every minute: runs with partners, solo sailing to see how we measure up against the others, the race around Groix to push the boats. I am not aiming for a particular result, as we have already checked out all the changes made to the boat, but I am attending because it is a great way for us to get together.”
Samantha Davies, Initiatives-Cœur :
“This is the last big one before the Vendée Globe, but I am not putting any pressure on myself. The real test was the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne which went well. I have already shown what I can do and I feel good on my boat and can perform well. The Azimut Challenge will above all allow me to continue to progress, understanding the boat, checking things out and setting up a short job list, if necessary.”
Armel Tripon, L’Occitane en Provence :
“After the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne, which ended early for me, this should be a fantastic battle with the other IMOCAs. The 48 hours of solo racing are going to be important as they will allow me to see how I and my boat measure up. Developing good relations with partners is essential too. That is the added value of our sport and is necessary.”
Wednesday 9th September 2020
AZIMUT RUN– CREWED TIME TRIALS
1530hrs: Start of the runs
1830hrs: Return to the harbour
Thursday 10th September
48H AZIMUT - SOLO
1400hrs: Leaving the harbour
1530hrs: Race committee has everyone in place
Saturday 12th September
Finish of the race in Lorient La Base
Sunday 13th September
RACE AROUND GROIX – WITH A CREW
1100hrs: Exit from the harbour
1300hrs: Race Committee has everyone in place for the start of the race around Groix