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Who are the favourites for the race?

The start gun of the 15th edition of The Transat CIC, the legendary solo race across the North Atlantic from Lorient to New York, will sound on Sunday sending a fleet of 48 skippers – 33 IMOCAs, 13 Class 40s and two vintage yachts - off on the complex, cold and mainly upwind passage across the Atlantic. 


It’s a course which was last raced in 2016 when Armel Le Cléach won on Banque Populaire VIII from a fleet of just seven IMOCAs, really the first major foiling IMOCA success, finishing just two and a half hours ahead of Vincent Riou on PRB. This time, at less than six months before the Vendée Globe, the IMOCA class reflects the chase for qualification and for the solo race round the world and is laden with top, recent boats with almost all the leading racers set to take on this unique course. But who will top the IMOCA and Class40 podiums in New York?


Highlights of this press release:


  • In the IMOCA class, Charlie Dalin (MACIF Santé Prévoyance) is making his comeback and is one of the favourites alongside Jérémie Beyou (Charal) and Yoann Richomme (IMOCA Paprec Arkéa).

  • As far as Class40s are concerned, ‘eight or nine boats are in with a chance of winning’, according to Francis Le Goff, the Race Director.

  • Yesterday, Boris Herrmann (Malizia - Seaexplorer, IMOCA) and Fabien Delahaye (LEGALLAIS, Class40) won the parades around the island of Groix.


Key pointsIn the IMOCA, Charlie Dalin (MACIF Santé Prévoyance) makes his comeback and is certainly one of the favorites along with Jérémie Beyou (Charal) and Yoann Richomme (PAPREC ARKEA)

In Class40, “eight or nine boats can claim victory” says Francis Le Goff, the Race Director

Yesterday, Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Malizia - Seaexplorer, IMOCA) and Fabien Delahaye (LEGALLAIS, Class40) won the exhibition timed run around the island of Groix

 The race village has been busy today with visitors enjoying the spring sunshine and progressively rising daytime temperatures and taking to the pontoons at Lorient’s La Base. Yesterday the whole fleet filed around the Groix island on a timed exhibition passage. For the record It was Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Malizia - Seaexplorer) who won ahead of Charlie Dalin (MACIF Santé Prévoyance) and Britain’s James Harayda (Gentoo Sailing Team). In Class40, Fabien Delahaye (LEGALLAIS) beat Vincent Riou (Pierreval – GoodPlanet Foundation) and Axel Tréhin (Project Rescue Ocean).

“It was fun. It is inevitable that when you put one or two IMOCAs near each other that a race breaks out but we did a lot of sail changes to check different sails and take advantage of a nice day on he water. It is a nice thing to do. And we won which is a good effort in light winds. But meantime I am ready to go solo racing!” smiled Herrmann as he returned to the dock at La Base.


On land, 14,000 people came to enjoy the entertainment on offer in the race's Start Village, which opened mid-morning and was officially inaugurated at 6pm.


© Alexis Courcoux


IMOCA: the unknown is Dalin, the outsiders waiting to ambush

 “It’s a fleet representative of the level of French and international sailing,” explains Francis Le Goff, the Race Director. On the IMOCA side, almost the entire fleet responded. All eyes are on Charlie Dalin. The Norman skipper, who had to give up for medical reasons just after the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie - Le Havre for health reasons, is back. The latter has already given a glimpse of the performance of his new boat, MACIF Santé Prévoyance, by winning the Rolex Fastnet Race last summer with Pascal Bidégorry.

 

“My last solo sailing was at the Route du Rhum, more than 18 months ago, with another boat,” recalls Dalin. And so the question, to a certain extent is at what level is Dalin who was first to cross the finish line on the last Vendée Globe, finishing second overall? And alongside him as podium tips are Jérémie Beyou (Charal) and Yoann Richomme (PAPREC ARKEA).

“Mentally I figure we are going to flit between the innate desire to win and the desire to preserve the boat simply because we know that a major breakage can be costly in every sense at few months before the solo round the world race.” Says Beyou. “I’m going to try to be in the right group.” adds Richomme, winner of the RETOUR A LA BASE solo race back across the Atlantic last December, his first ever solo IMOCA race.

 

There is no shortage of outsiders: Nico Lunven has finished well on Holcim-PRB since being appointed skipper, Sébastien Simon (Groupe Dubreuil) who showed great potential, Switzerland’s Justine Mettraux (Teamwork Team SNEF), who is consistently quick and was daring on the Transat Jacques Vabre. Her boat, the former Charal, is equipped with new foils, Sam Davies, is expected to be in the 'top 10' and Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Malizia Seaexplorer) who has more miles under his keel on his boat than any other skipper and also has new foils.

Le Goff also mentions “certain boats which have not sailed much” like the  boats with straight daggerboards, like Toute Commence en Bretagne (Jean Le Cam) and its sistership Stand as One (Éric Bellion).

© M. Horlaville


"There is no shortage of outsiders: Nico Lunven has finished well on Holcim-PRB since being appointed skipper, Sébastien Simon (Groupe Dubreuil) who showed great potential, Switzerland’s Justine Mettraux (Teamwork Team SNEF), who is consistently quick and was daring on the Transat Jacques Vabre. Her boat, the former Charal, is equipped with new foils, Sam Davies, is expected to be in the 'top 10' and Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Malizia Seaexplorer) who has more miles under his keel on his boat than any other skipper and also has new foils.

Le Goff also mentions “certain boats which have not sailed much” like the  boats with straight daggerboards, like Toute Commence en Bretagne (Jean Le Cam) and its sistership Stand as One (Éric Bellion).


Britain’s IMOCA Globe Series champion Sam Goodchild is not doing the outbound race but obviously knows the fleet in fine detail. He concurs with those commonly held tips for the top. “Charlie Dalin is fast all the time. He’s maybe a bit wound up having missed the last two transats so will want to come back where he left off or better! I’d have him first or second. Jeremie Beyou is fast upwind which could be an important part of the race. And he is now the most experienced skipper especially on his boat that he has already done two solo Transats on, not to mention he has been sailing IMOCAs for 20 or so years now. Yoann Richomme is new but he’s proven he’s fast. He won the last Transat and with two Route du Rhums and two Solitaire du Figaro wins on his CV it would be a surprise to see him anywhere else but on the podium. Then there is a pack of ‘outsiders’ ready to exploit any hiccups in those top three, among them Holcim-PRB , Malizia Sea Explorer, Initiatives Coeur, Teamwork Team SNEF, Groupe Apicil, Groupe Dubreuil, Maitre Coq, V and B, L’occitane en Provence– all are fast upwind!  


Class40: set for an incredible battle

 On the Class40 side once more there will be suspense at all levels. “Even if there are fewer of them than usual, everyone is present except two or three big names.” underlines the Le Goff, the Race Director. “Heading for New York and offering a transatlantic course that is different from the others (via the North Atlantic) sees a fleet which includes the best that Class40 has.” 

“There are 13 boats at the start, including 11 latest generation scows,” explains Guillaume Pirouelle, skipper of the top Class40 Sogestran-Seafrigo, who has had to withdraw from The Transat CIC after his boat was hit by lightning at the beginning of March during a return delivery from the Caribbean. For him, the race promises to be “very committed” with a “very close match”, where “technical glitches can quickly become problematic”.

 According to Pirouelle “eight or nine boats can claim victory”. The two Italians Ambrogio Beccaria (Alla Grande Pirelli), winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre, and Alberto Bona (IBSA), last year's Class40 champion, are certainly among the favourites. But they are not the only ones in the frame. Although he has just launched his new Class40 (n°202), Ian Lipinski will set off on °158. “He is one of those who knows his boat best because he is one of the first scows,” highlights Pirouelle. Fabien Delahaye hopes to shine in his second year with LEGALLAIS, as does French compatriot Nicolas d'Estais, looking to mark the opening of a CAFÉ JOYEUX (his sponsor) in New York with a strong result.

Axel Tréhin (Project Rescue Ocean), is usually up there, Amélie Grassi (La Boulangère Bio), the only woman in Class40 and Quentin Le Nabour (Bleu Blanc Planète Location) who recently launched a Mach6, will have also be in the mix as will 2004-5 Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou (Pierreval – GoodPlanet Foundation). At 52, he is taking on a new challenge and is not really one of those who enter a race without setting out to win. There is so much suspense for this race which has made such a mark on history.”

 Vintage: another story

 On the Vintage side, the situation is different. “The two boats entered, those of Patrick Isoard (Uship pour Enfants du Mékong) and Rémy Gérin (FAIAOAHE), are totally different. They will each do their own race. The aim of the game is to race across as quickly as possible. The idea is also to include the Vintages in the history of The Transat CIC so that there can be more of them in the future,” Francis Le Goff points out.


A replica of Pen-Duick IV on the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe 2026 and The Transat CIC 2028

After completing the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe 2022 aboard Pen-Duick III, French skipper Arnaud Pennarun announced today he aims to rebuild Pen-Duick IV, Eric Tabarly's legendary trimaran, at the Pors-Moro Naval Shipyard ( Pont-L'Abbé) which he runs. “Rebuilding Pen-Duick IV, the largest, most innovative and fastest trimaran of its generation, is the opportunity to complete the Pen-Duick fleet and bring all six of them together again. In addition, the teams and the size of the Pors-Moro Shipyard will allow us to reconstruct with precision and fidelity this trimaran so emblematic of offshore racing,” says Arnaud. The reconstruction project should start at the end of 2024. To carry out this ambitious project, Arnaud is launching an appeal. “We are looking for one or more financial partners wishing to project themselves onto a modern offshore racing circuit with a racing trimaran which will once again amaze with its speed.” The objective: to line up at the start of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe 2026 and have it take the start of The Transat CIC in 2028.

 


© LIOT Jean-Marie




© Polaryse



The programme of events for Thursday 25 April:

- 5.30pm: Presentation of the skippers - Main Stage

- 8.30pm: Concert by Franck et Damien

- 10.30pm: Concert by The Wacky Jugs

- 11.30pm: DJ Yepper

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