New race in town

Photo: Marcel Mochet
Route des Princes is the latest event round Europe for the Ultimate, MOD70 and Multi50 trimarans
The Route des Princes got underway yesterday with the first of two days of in-port racing on the (for us) highly familiar waters off Valencia. The eight trimarans (a ninth is due to join the event in Lisbon) are berthed around the Tracy Island-style Veles e Vents building at the entrance to the Darsena alongside the ghost town of giant team bases, once the thriving home of the 32nd America’s Cup community. The Route des Princes is a new sailing event on the round Europe race track, solely for multihulls. The origins of this event are a little unusual in that it comes not from one of the usual race organisers such as Solitaire du Figaro/Route du Rhum organiser Pen Duick (whom, to give credit where credit is due, ran the first Course de l’Europe in 1985) but from the sponsor of Lionel Lemonchois’ new trimaran, Prince de Bretagne. Prince de Bretagne is the brand name for the produce (mostly vegetables, but some fruit too) from a group of co-operatives based over a relatively small area on the north coast of Brittany – between Brest and St Malo and around 40km inshore. One of the biggest of these co-operatives, SICA, based at Saint Pol de Leon near Roscoff, is the driving force behind the sponsorship of Lemonchois’ yacht and creating the Route des Princes. These co-operatives have a parent corporate entity called Cerafel, which in total represents 2300 vegetable and fruit growers across the co-operatives. Cerafel has Prince de Bretagne as one of its brands, for tinned and fresh fruit and veg you see in supermarkets around France, as well as in the UK and the 30 countries it exports to. As a complicated sideline, those involved with these co-operatives also own much of the transportation used to distribute their produce. This includes for