Quebec-St Malo update

A different atmosphere; Mini guru joins the fleet; plus a look at the new 50ft multihull class

Wednesday July 16th 2008, Author: Benedicte Etienne, Location: United Kingdom
It is something that the organisers of this seventh Transat Quebec Saint Malo can be proud of. In the absence of the IMOCA monohulls (with the exception of Yannick Bestaven they all are busy preparing for the Vendée Globe), the fleet due to set sail at 1500 GMT on Sunday afternoon from Quebec, exhibits not only a coherent sporting standard, but also a spirit more normally found in the Mini class: Everyone is in a good mood, but there is also a natural solidarity between the shore teams, crew, skippers, assistants, on the pontoons.

From 6.50 to Class 40s

The Class 40 now represents for many experienced Mini and Figaro sailors, an obviously step up towards bigger boats. Among the crews are Tanguy de la Motte, Sam Manuard, Cécile Poujol, Lionel Régnier, Benoit Parnaudeau, Boris Hermann, Louis Duc and Halvard Mabire...to name but a few.

In Class 40s they can still race across oceans, but on a more or less equal footing against a rich, varied and international opposition, even if the design novelty aspect of the Mini class is not so noticeable here. For the Class 40 has been tough on capping the inflationary spiral by banning expensive materials and gear found on other race boats, forcing designers to focus on hulls shape and other aspects to gain the edge.

A wizard in Quebec

He is unanimously respected, and even venerated by sailors particularly in the Mini class, many of whom have had the misfortune to race against him or the pleasure to be on board one of his creations. Sam Manuard is that all-round genius, who has left his imprint on the Mini class, both as a sailor and designer. Now he is enjoying taking part in the Class 40 just as much.

Secretive, enigmatic, hiding behind a huge smile, Manuard is professionally a geophysical engineer, specialising in the search for oil. When it comes to yacht design he is self-taught but has achieved considerable success in the Mini, one of his designs, the Tip Top, going into production in 1998. Since then, he has continued to design and sail, bringing his creation to life often in his own hands! In the Transat Quebec St Malo he will be sailing with Mini sailor and designer, Tanguy de la Motte.

The Open 50 multis

On the start line under the shadow of Quebec's picture postcard Chateau Frontenac , there will be one of the toughest competition for line honours in the Transat Quebec-St Malo between the 50ft multihulls. There is the perennial Franck-Yves Escoffier on his scaled down ORMA 60 Crepes Whaou!, and merchant marine officer Victorien Erussard on board his irens-designed trimaran Laiterie de St Malo.

Brest-based dentist Hervé Cléris, who has been taking part in these races as a keen amateur for some 20 years now, has just relaunched his sistership to Laiterie de St Malo, now called Prince de Bretagne, after two years ashore. Then there is Pascal Quintin, whose Nivelt-designed trimaran he was forced to abandon in the 2006 Route du Rhum. Incredibly, six months later the boat turned up in the Azores and Quintin was able to salvage her.

They will be up against another experience competitor in Pierre Antoine who's trimaran Imagine, is Franck-Yves Escoffier's previous Crêpes Whaou! Meanwhile Hervé de Carlan is racing the only Open 50 catamaran, Delirium.

With the demise of the ORMA 60s, so the 50ft multis have following the launch of the new Crêpes Whaou! in 2004, formed themselves into their own class, creating a structure and establishing rules to maintain a spirit of simplicity with a view to limiting budgets.

Crêpes Whaou! was designed to the original spirit of the class rules and the class is soon to take a leap as work starts on a new boat for former Orange II boat captain and 2007 Mini Transat winner Yves le Blevec, which he plans to race in the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre. The class are also soon to announce their race programme for the 2008-2009 season.

In brief
- 7th edition of the Transat Quebec Saint Malo
- Course: 2950 theoretical miles.
- Start on Sunday 20th July at 11h (local time) for the multihulls and the FICO Class, and 11h30 for the Class 40
- 28 yachts entered
- 18 in Class 40
- 6 in 50’ Open (multis)
- 4 in FICO Class, 55 to 60-foot.

The seventh edition of the Transat Quebec Saint-Malo is an event organised by Quebec International Sailing, in conjunction with the City of Saint-Malo and the technical assistance of the UNCL (French Ocean Racing Union), the Quebec Harbour Marina, the Quebec Yacht Club (YCQ) and the Saint Malo Bay Sailing Club (SNBSM).

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