The Groupama Race – A once-in-a-lifetime experience !

01  Jui.  2016 -  12h 17

Multi- and Monohull : 17 yachts are already entered for the Groupama Race.

From the maxi-yacht Beau Geste to the, nearly mini, Ketal, entries are spread amongst five classes. All will start from Nouméa, New Caledonia, on the 25th September, on the longest Olympic course in the World. All of this around the World’s largest tropical lagoon – start from Nouméa, finish in Nouméa.

The 654 mile course will be raced under ORC and/or under IRC. For this, the fifth race, the longest entry is the 24m Beau Geste from Hong Kong. She is from the board of the well-known firm of Botin Partners. The smallest entry is the less-than 10m Ketal, a Sun Fast. Her owner is ex-master of Club Med II, the largest five-mast afloat!

Based on the handicap of each entry (size, speed, year she was built…), five classes have been created. Class allocation will be open up to a week before the start. To be valid, a class must have three members. Groupama Race entries will be accepted up until the 31st July 2016.

A 300 miles spinnaker run and a 300 mile beat to windward.

Keel Bill, the canting keel Shaw 35 might well be classed with Christian Arns’ First 44.7 Notorious, or with Ran Tan II, an Elliot 50 expected in New Caledonia mid-June. For the President of the New Caledonian Sailing League and Cercle Nautique Calédonien Vice-Commodore “opening up the race to multi-hulls and maxis is a good way to go: New Caledonians will be able to take part in, and watch, a really good show!

As of today, seventeen yachts are entered, but more are expected. Banque de Nouvelle Calédonie, a JPK 10.80 that finished second ( IRC Overall) in the last Sydney-Hobart (as Courrier Léon), is looking forward to crossing swords with any overseas entry. A former windsurfung World champion, Michel Quintin is making “an appointment with all yachts from this part of the World!

Diogène (a Pogo 40), XLR8 Province Sud ( an Elliot 10.50), Eye Candy and Guilty Pleasures/Speed Marine/MSC (both Sydney 38’s) are still waiting for their Australian opposite numbers to enter. So are the maxis and the TP52’s! For the Groupama Race is a wonderful race around UNESCO World Heritage listed reefs, cradled in the SE Trades, encircling a tropical island perfectly in line with the prevailing winds.

This year, the race record will be beaten by a mono-hull or a multi-hull !?

Four multi-hulls will be lined up for the start. Two crusing/racing machines, Moemiti, an Outremer 45 from French Polynesia, and Birdies Furax, a fast G Force 1500, will try their very best to smash the race record of 3d 15h 54m held by Crusader. A locally built 40’ hydrofoil trimarin, Jessica Rabbit, designed by Martin Fisher (actually head of design for Team France’s America Cup entry) is at present tuning-up in New Caledonia’s lagoons. Meanwhile, the Kiwi Team Vodafone Sailing (an Orma 60, ex-Géant skippered by Michel Desjoyeaux and winner of the Transat and the Route du Rhum!) sails from Auckland this weekend to take part in Sail Fiji. However, given the way the Groupama Race course lies in relation to prevailing wind, with a 300 mile beat to windward, a big mono-hull like Beau Geste might well finish before the multi-hulls. Something to keep in mind…

The start will be given on the 25th September of what has become sailing and (French) culture classic in the Pacific!

Boat name Skipper Type L l GPH Country
Keel Bill Patrick Baldi SHAW 35 10,65 3,288 521,8 New Caledonia
Diogène Ludovic Chaillou Pogo 40 12,18 4,4 544,5 New Caledonia
XLR8-Province Sud JC Vergé
Nicolas Vergé
Elliott 10,5 10,5 4,072 565,3 New Caledonia
Eye Candy Thierry Leseigneur Sydney 38 11,795 3,706 573,4 New Caledonia
Guilty Pleasures-Speed Marine-MSC Renaud GERARDIN SYDNEY 38 11,795 3,706 576,7 New Caledonia
Banque de Nouvelle-Calédonie Michel Quintin JPK 10,80 10,82 3,684 591,7 New Caledonia
Boulègue Vincent Trinquet YOUNG 9.9 10,25 3,71 613,1 New Caledonia
Ketal Olivier Decouzon SUN FAST 3200 9,79 3,49 630,2 New Caledonia
Odyssey Bruno Hautier DUFOUR GL 410 12,7 4,2 631,2 New Caledonia
Gummo-Phytocal Alain Varichon Bongo 9,6 10 3,7 648,4 New Caledonia
Birdies Furax 2 Alain Vilas CATA 15,45 7,9 Multi New Caledonia
Team Vodafone Sailing Simon Hull ORMA 60 18,28 17,5 Multi New Zealand
Moemeti Claude Rigal OUTREMER 45 13,77 7,1 Multi Tahiti
Jessica Rabbit Philippe Coste ORMA 40 12 12 Multi New Caledonia
Ran Tan II Brian Petersen ELLIOTT 50 15,2 3,75 - New Zealand
Notorious Christiaan Arns FIRST 44,7 14,5 4,48 - New Zealand
Beau Geste Karl Kwok Botin 80 24,4 - - Hong Kong
The longest entry is the 24m Beau Geste from Hong Kong.
The longest entry is the 24m Beau Geste from Hong Kong.
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