Au revoir Foncia

Mark Lloyd / MOD SA
Michel Desjoyeaux in the hunt for new MOD70 sponsor
Times are not good for sponsorship of sailing in France at present. Earlier this year we saw one of the biggest companies involved, Veolia Environnement, withdrawing their backing of Roland Jourdain’s MOD70 campaign. While reports back in January of Groupama pulling the plug on their sailing sponsorship are untrue (according to Franck Cammas), it seems likely that they will at best be scaling down their investment in sailing. Now another major supporter of French offshore sailing, has bitten the dust with Foncia, the French residential property management and real estate services group, backing out. Foncia has been involved in sailing sponsorship at a high level since 1999 when they backed Laurent and Yvan Bourgnon’s ORMA 60 in the 1999 Transat Jacques Vabre. The company then transferred allegiance to 1992-3 Vendee Globe winner Alain Gautier who campaigned both an ORMA 60 and a Figaro in their colours, until passing over the helm briefly to Armel le Cleac’h for the 2006 Route du Rhum. Since 2007 their skipper has been Michel Desjoyeaux and the offshore racing legend took them to victory in the 2008 Vendee Globe. Alongside this the sailing team campaigned a D35 catamaran skippered Alain Gautier or Desjoyeaux on Lake Geneva and most recently Foncia has backed Desjoyeaux’s MOD70, the recent winner of the one design trimaran class’ European Tour. But the end of the one design trimaran’s race around the European coastline – which Desjoyeaux and his team won – also marked the end of Foncia’s 13 year long sponsorship of sailing. Foncia was set up in 1972 by French businessman Jacky Lorenzetti, best known in sports circles for being the major shareholder in the Paris-based Racing Metro rugby club. The company which operates principally in France but also in Germany, Switzerland and Belgium, was sold by Lorenzetti to Banque Populaire (another