Star studded Grande Motte

Eclectic mix of sailors to compete at the Trophée Clairefontaine, the French champion of champions race

Thursday September 3rd 2009, Author: Benedicte Etienne, Location: United Kingdom
The 7.65m long catamarans used for the 20th Trophée Clairefontaine started to be assembled yesterday morning on the hard at La Grande Motte Harbour, near Montpellier (France). The Trophée Clairefontaine between the sailing champions will take place on 12-13 September on the natural sailing stadium of Grande Motte, with two days of training
scheduled prior to this, for the eight sailing stars invited.

Team Alinghi, winner of the last America’s Cup and of the Trophée Clairefontaine de
Valencia 2008 (Spain), had to withdraw last Friday because of the extension of their training sessions onboard their new giant catamaran. Without the presence of Luc Dubois, Pierre-Yves Jorand and Yves Detray - they will be back next year - the door was open to welcome this summer oceanic hero: Pascal Bidégorry, invited at La Grande Motte following his swift Atlantic crossing (3 days 15 hours and 25 minutes) and the 24-hour record he demolished at the same time (908 nautical miles) at the helm of the maxi tri Banque Populaire V.

Michel Desjoyeaux, with his second victory in the Vendée Globe and his four victories at the Trophée Clairefontaine, will also compete, in between two legs of the Istanbul Europa Race at the helm of Foncia.

Loïck Peyron, seven-time winner of the Trophée Clairefontaine and third last year will be there as well as Franck Cammas, former holder of the Atlantic crossing record
onboard the giant tri Groupama 3 and double winner of the Trophée Clairefontaine.

From the Olympics, the most recent Tornado Gold medallist, Spanish Fernando Echavarri, will be there to add spice to the successful recipe that is the Trophée Clairefontaine. Nicolas Charbonnier, invited last year in Spain for his Silver medal in 470 at the Beijing Olympic Games, finished second, which was quite an achievement as he did not know the boat at all. He is back this year with even more ambition to beat his performance last year.

It was decided that the winner of the 40th Solitaire du Figaro, raced this summer would be invited, with as crew, Nicolas Troussel, winner of the 2008 Solitaire du Figaro and Nicolas Bérenger, who lives in La Grande Motte. The invitation was sent to Nicolas Lunven, winner of this year's Solitaire, but sadly as he was already booked for another race at the same dates, he ask for the runner-up, Yann Eliès, to take his place. This will be his second Trophée Clairefontaine.

Last but not least, the Trophée Clairefontaine 2009 has invited German Boris Herrmann, who won the first Portimão Global Ocean Race onboard his Class 40 Beluga Racer.

Since its creation, in 1990, the Trophée Clairefontaine is the only event in the world reuniting champions from the different international sailing fields, on equal footing, on spectacular sailing catamarans exclusively designed and used for this sole purpose.

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