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Celebrating sailing on The Transat CIC

Updated: Apr 26

J-4. All the skippers met up this Thursday morning for the traditional briefing. It was an opportunity to take stock of the weather conditions for the start and to be reassured that they look set to be relatively mild, giving them a gentle start to the race. At the same time, The Transat CIC has brought together a number of players at the cutting edge of sailing transport. Here are some explanations.

To remember

  • The conditions look particularly malleable at the start before the first low-pressure system passes over next Tuesday.

  • 150 m2 of exhibition space in the village will be dedicated to the key players in the sailing industry who are helping to boost the sector.

NEWS OF THE DAY. Towards clement conditions for the start

A 'piano' start to get into the swing of things. The skippers, who are studying the weather forecast for the first few days of the race, already know that the start will take place in fairly mild conditions. This was confirmed on Thursday by Cyrille Duchesne from Météo Consult at the briefing for all the skippers. He spoke of ‘a low centred in the North Sea with a moderate westerly flow which is a little irregular’. In short, the low seen over the past few days is easing off, making conditions more malleable, much to the delight of the skippers. During the briefing, the Race Direction also reminded everyone of their safety prerogatives.

© Alexis Courcoux

FOCUS ON... Sailing maritime transport promoted in the Village

OC Sport Pen Duick and the CIC, Title Partner of the race, which provides financial support for a number of decarbonisation initiatives and associates a strong social objective with its sporting partnerships, wanted to give pride of place to sailing transport in the Start Village of The Transat CIC.

A 150 m2 space, set up in partnership with the CIC, Bretagne Développement Innovation (BDI), Wind Ship and Audélor, is dedicated to this theme right at the heart of the race's Start Village. From Tuesday until Sunday, the general public will be able to visit an exhibition featuring around ten panels, where they can learn more about maritime transport and the reasons why it is important to decarbonise it. The exhibition also presents technical solutions that already exist or are being tested, as well as models of cargo sailing ships. The aim is to show that boats are already using these kinds of solutions and that they work. Children will also be able to play a game on a tablet, which allows them to complete the route of The Transat CIC in a cargo sailboat.

© Alexis Courcoux

The general public can also visit the SeaKite, moored at Lorient La Base until Sunday, free of charge. Developed by Beyond the Sea, this innovative catamaran uses a kite traction system to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20% per day.

A symbolic start on Sunday

In order to give maximum visibility to marine transportation solutions, SeaKite, Wisamo Michelin and ACC Wing will symbolically take the start of The Transat CIC under sail 25 minutes before the competitors to ‘show that boats using technical solutions to decarbonise marine transportation exist and can sail’, says Stéphane Bourrut Lacouture, CSR Manager at OC Sport Pen Duick.

© Alexis Courcoux

VIRTUAL REGATTA OFFSHORE. Ready to get underway?

Like the 48 competitors in The Transat CIC, thousands of eSkippers will be lining up at the start of the transatlantic race between Lorient and New York on Sunday 28 April at 13:30. As with every event organised by OC Sport Pen Duick, Virtual Regatta, the official race game, will enable players to take on the greatest sailors and their peers virtually, on the same course and in the same conditions as the skippers in the IMOCA, Class40 and Vintage (trimaran) categories. And, as in every race, everyone will be able to equip their boats to optimise both comfort and performance. ‘We're delighted to be the official game of The Transat CIC, to be continuing our partnership with OC Sport Pen Duick, and to be able to offer the Virtual Regatta community the opportunity to take part virtually in a legendary ocean adventure,’ says Tom Gauthier, Managing Director of Virtual Regatta.

Register for The Transat CIC on Virtual Regatta here.

© OC Sport Pen Duick


Sébastien Marsset (FOUSSIER, IMOCA): ‘I'm really confident and happy. The Village is great and so was our partners' day yesterday. The weather at the start looks good. It's going to be a great race. The weather situation is a bit atypical with this high-pressure system in the middle of the Atlantic. There are going to be opportunities and we're going to have to be on top of them in terms of strategy. I'm here to work on the configuration of my boat with a view to the Vendée Globe. It's ready to go. I can't wait to go sailing. I'm not too stressed given the weather at the start and the first few days. You can see that it's going to be cool and that we're going to be able to get into the swing of things in acceptable conditions. We're going to be able to put on a great show for our partners and the public. That's great. I've already done the course, but not in a race. I've got some great memories of the sailing. With the series of fairly fast transitions and the fact that we're going against the weather, it's going to be pretty intense.

© Mathieu Rivrin

Nicolas Lunven (Holcim-PRB, IMOCA): ‘I'm happy. The boat is pretty ready. I think it's going to be an interesting race. The weather's shaping up to be interesting, with conditions that aren't too bad to start with. We were worried a few days ago that it was going to be a bit rough and complicated, but it seems to be clearing up in the right direction. After that, it's still a demanding North Atlantic course, with a very northerly route, more into the wind and weather systems, but we won't be picked off by 50 knots of wind. I like these conditions. There's probably going to be a lot going on, a lot of transitions, manoeuvres and changes, so I don't think we're going to get bored. I'm really looking forward to it.

Aurélien Ducroz (CROSSCALL, Class40): ‘We're going to set off calmly, upwind, in 8-10 knots of breeze. It's always nicer to get off to a cool start. After that, there's going to be the first front to get through very quickly, but it's pretty good weather. Of course, with three days to go to the start, it's always more relaxing. Otherwise, the course isn't going to be easy. There's a big ridge of high pressure, so it's going to be a bit complicated strategically, but I'm looking forward to discovering the North Atlantic. I'm pretty serene. I'm going into it with a great deal of desire and humility too, because this is a new course for me, with a scenario that I'm not too familiar with either and we know that it can be complicated at times. That's what makes it so much fun, discovering new things.

Amélie Grassi (La Boulangère Bio, Class40): ‘After a season with a lot of double-handed racing, I really wanted to taste the pleasure of solo racing again. This transatlantic race remains in the imagination of sportsmen and sailors for its mythical nature. It's going to be tough: unlike the classic transatlantic races, there won't be a nice second part of the race in warm, favourable winds! We know full well that there's going to be a great battle right to the end. It will be important to take good care of the boat and to be vigilant at all times. The level of play is very high and there are some great competitors. I'd like to finish in the top five, even if the competition is tough. It's a dynamic and stimulating regatta, and it won't be easy to come out on top. But I'm going there to perform well!

Paul Meilhat (Biotherm, IMOCA): ‘The weather has cleared up slightly and it's rather clement compared to what we experienced at the start of the spring. It's always easier to set off in medium conditions and we should have easier access to the northern route. It's still going to be a fast race because it's shorter than the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe, for example, and we're often close to the direct route, even when we're upwind. Everyone will set their own pace. In terms of strategy, it's going to be more open than in the trade winds, so it's going to be interesting. We're going to have to be precise in our trajectories and sail choices, so it's going to be intense. I'm rediscovering solo sailing; I've only done the Route du Rhum in six years. I want to learn to sail on my own again! It's going to be a great battle!

Boris Herrmann (Malizia - Seaexplorer, IMOCA): ‘It's going to be a tough race, and I think everyone is going to give it their all. It's a good time to get to know your weak points. The weather doesn't look too bad for the start. What worries me most is the fact that our boats are 12 metres wide, 14 metres when the foils are out. That could be a problem at the start. For my part, I'm feeling good. I'm happy to be on the start line and I can't wait to spend the first night on board and give it my all. I like this course, there will be a lot of transitions, systems and opportunities.

Axel Tréhin (Project Rescue Ocean, Class40): ‘The tendency at the start will be for low-pressure conditions with westerly winds, which will be more or less in line with the course, with a few nuances. It's precisely these nuances that we're going to have to exploit to get as close to the finish as possible. In the medium term, in the middle of the Atlantic, there will probably be a zone of slightly higher pressure that we'll have to cross and one of the challenges will be to be well placed. There's a good chance that we'll all be grouped together, at least at the start of the race, because the boats have relatively similar points of sail. I'm a competitor and I'm setting out with the idea of winning the race. There are eight or nine of us with that ambition. We know that anything is possible!

© Jean-Marie Liot