IMOCA 60 Round Britain match race
Marc Guillemot and Vincent Riou are to match race their way around the British Isles as they attempt to break the Round Britain and Ireland record. They go on stand-by from tomorrow, Saturday 11 June. The record attempt/match race will form part of the training for this autumn's doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre.
The rules for the attempt are simple: the boats have sail around the British Isles (including Ireland and the Shetlands), in either direction and finish back at the starting point, which can be the Lizard, Ventnor (south side of the Isle of Wight) or Ramsgate. This amounts to a theoretical total of 1850 miles. This they will need to sail in less than 6 days 11 hours 30 minutes and 53 seconds, which was what the all-women crew on Dee Caffari’s IMOCA 60 Aviva managed in June 2009.
For this record, Marc Guillemot will be sailing with a crew, while Vincent Riou has decided to sail double-handed with Hugues Destremau, his co-skipper for the Transat Jacques Vabre. Aside from Guillemot, on board Safran will be his TJV co-skipper Yann Eliès, plus Loïc Lingois, Didier Le Vourch, César Dohy.
"When the decision was announced by the organisers to postpone the Europa Race, I started to think about a double-handed transatlantic crossing with a crew aboard for the return leg... Then, after talking things over with Vincent when we were training, we thought about this record adding in the idea of a duel even if we don’t have the same size crew aboard," explained Marc Guillemot.
"It’s easier to organise than a transatlantic crossing and we have never attempted it until now. On top of that, it’s a very interesting course. At this time of year, up there at 60 degrees north, the nights hardly exist, and that makes it rather magical. During the ArMen race, we were neck and neck with PRB, so it’s going to be an interesting contest…"
Vincent Riou gave his take: "Sailing this course alone isn’t that interesting. To make progress, we need to do battle to see how we measure up against a rival. In that context, we all learn a lot more from our experiences and can work on our tactical reflexes. We’ve come up against Safran a lot this season. We both want to be out there sailing, clocking up the miles. We competed against each other in a few small races at the start of the season and trained together. So it was quite natural to continue by racing against each other on this course…
"We came up with this idea, because the IMOCA programme changed completely with the postponement of the Europa Race. I was looking for a long course to sail early in the season and we talked it over with Marc. He had the idea of attempting the Atlantic crossing record while I was looking at Round Britain and Ireland. I like this course, as there are two interesting aspects: an offshore duel and then the record attempt. All of that creates a lot of motivation. On top of that, this record can be achieved in either direction, which meant that it was more likely we would find a favourable weather opportunity."