Thierry Martinez / Sea & Co

Putting pieces in place

Host city bid process for The Transat to begin in January while classes for the 2016 race will be decided later

Monday December 9th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

As reported in May, OC are revitalise The Transat, after it was canned for 2012. The next race is due to take place in May 2016 and will run from the UK across the North Atlantic to North America, singlehanded against the prevailing winds.

Start and Finish Host Cities will be invited in January to put their case forward for hosting this event that is both steeped in history, and that helped create a sector of sailing that is now one of the major feature of the professional sport.

Traditionally, The Transat has started from Plymouth and finished in the USA. While the first race finished into New York, the traditional destination for the race was Newport, Rhode Island until OC took over the running of the event and Boston became the arrival port for the 2004 and 2008 races.

OC Sport renamed the race The Transat in 2004, and added Artemis as Title Partner in 2008, focusing that year on the IMOCA 60 class, the event becoming a warm-up for the Vendée Globe in the same year. The 2012 race was cancelled at the request of the Class, which had hoped to hold another event at that time.

“OC Sport has remained active in putting in place the foundations for the next edition in May 2016,” said Rémi Duchemin, CEO of OC Sport. “Two of those key foundations are the start and finish Host Cities and we are fully focused in our discussions with existing and potential host venues. OC Sport’s expanding business means we are in constant discussion with many venues around the world for our existing sailing, running and cycling projects, including both in the UK and the USA and Canada, which means we can potentially open new doors and offer added value to host cities.”

Being held in May 2016, the next The Transat returns in its traditional pre-Vendée Globe slot, and consideration is at present being given to the classes that could be invited to compete.

The outstanding history of this race has many different types of yachts from monohull to multihull – from the tiny 25ft Jester to Alain Colas' 236ft four masted schooner Club Mediterranée in 1976.

When OC Sport acquired the rights to the race in 2004, it was determined to serve the needs of the professional end of the sport, while the Royal Western Yacht Club continued to run a Corinthian race for non-professional sailors restricted to boats of up to 50 feet. The Transat in 2004 was open to 50ft monohulls and the IMOCA 60s and ORMA multihulls. In 2008 with the demise of the ORMA class, entry was restricted to the IMOCA and Class 40 only.

“Since the last edition of the race in 2008, the ocean racing scene has witnessed the arrival of new classes, such as the MOD70 and Maxi-Multihulls (80ft+),” commented Duchemin. “We can expect to see an exciting mix of classes competing in future editions of The Transat.” The decision on classes invited to participate will be taken by December 2014.

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