Tour Voile 2001

The organisers have made some changes to the format of next year's event

Wednesday November 29th 2000, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
In 2000, 34 teams sailed in the Tour Voile - the best participation for 12 years. But the organisers are still keen to increase this number, and would like to see 50 teams within a couple more years. They hope that the introduction of prize-money - US$150,000 - will bring in more overseas professional teams.
Certainly there are plenty of high profile foreign and French projects in the works, including Team New Zealand who are again looking at competing. While Italian Federico Michetti, Melges 24 World Champion 2000, and from Germany Roland Gaebler, Tornado Silver medallist in Sydney, are among the most advanced projects. In France, Alain Fédensieu (Marseille) and Jimmy Pahun (Région Ile de France) are both likely to be coming back. Marc Thiercelin is currently competing in the Vendee Globe, but wants to quit solo racing after the finish, and also plans to enter a team.

The event will again be in the Mumm 30, now chosen as the vehicle until 2005, and the French offshore racing club UNCL will again be responsible for the technical side of the regatta and providing the Race Committee. But there will be changes to the course, in 2001, the event will stay in France but will cover most of the country's coastline. There will be fewer stop-overs and more races.

The Tour will start from the city of Le Havre with a week for measurement and preparation. Racing will commence on the 29th June with the Prologue, before two days of inshore and coastal racing. The fleet will then race around Brittany, this time heading all the way south down to Bayonne, just short of the border with Spain.

Then it's into the slings and onto the lorries for the trip to the Med, going back in the water in Saint-Cyprien, the second biggest French marina in the Mediterranean. This section will include stops in Grau du Roi and Bandol before finishing with two inshore races in Mandelieu - La Napoule on the 29th of July.

For the fourth year in a row, AGF and Sony are back as main sponsors, with Sun Microsystems, Seat France, Stella Artois, Murphy and Nye already signed up in addition. Media partnerships with M6, France Info, Les Locales de Radio France have seen daily coverage by another seven TV channels, 800 articles, three times as much international media coverage, and a 70% increase in Internet traffic - 2001 should be another biggie.

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