5th May 2019
In 1979, that is about 40 years ago, the first edition of the two handed transatlantic, the Lorient-Bermuda-Lorient started. Forty pairs took part and the legendary win is well remembered as it was so close and exciting at the finish on the battlegorund off Groix island. Only 5 minutes and 42 seconds separateed Eugene Riguidel on VSD from the famous, cutting edge futuristic racer Paul Ricard sailed by Eric Tabarly and Marc Pajot.
Four years later in 1983 there are 55 crews who set out it rekindle theadventure. There were sailors bearing such historic names as Jaouen, Caradec, Birch, Malinovsky, Poupon, Arthaud, Kersauson, Le Cam, Gautier. Lorient-Bermuda-Lorient has an important place in the history of offshore racing in France.
The fastest ocean racing boats in the world will convene in Lorient in April 2019. There will be the giant Ultimes, there will be multihulls over 50 feet and monohulls over 60 feet, all representing some of the latest ocean racing technology.
They will be sailed by some of the very best crews in the world, all following in the historic wakes of their illustrious predecessors. And the quest will include the objective of setting new reference times for the non-stop distance of nearly 6000 nautical miles, or approximately 12,000kms.
A Cradle of Ocean Racing
For the past fifteen years Lorient La Base has become home to the largest French offshore racing teams. Just as in motor racing’s Formula 1, the performance and technology hubs gravitate to certain areas and Lorient has become that epicentre for French and international ocean racing, embracing advanced technologies, design and optimsation, pure performance, evolution and sometimes ...revolution.
Fifteen years ago maybe the skeptics struggled to believe in the rehabilitation and repurposing of the largest submarine base on the Atlantic Ocean becoming a dedicated offshore racing mecca. Yet that is just what has happened. Over the years Lorient has become the real centre of the « Sailing Valley » region, bringing together 80% of the technical and sporting resources of the French offshore racing scene which efffectively stretches between Brest and Vannes.
And Offshore Racing is Literally Taking Off.
Ashore the sense of purpose and activity is immediately evident. There is a proliferation of top teams, design offices, associated supprt companies which complement the activities the racing teams and many are working on different forms of sailing’s newest revolotion, boats that dont just float but fly across the seas and oceans.
And at sea these majestic flying machines allow us to share the passion and live the dream.