Please select your home edition
Edition
Rooster GETSEASMART 728x90
Product Feature
Upffront.com - Karver KFS5+ Continuous line, top-down furler
Upffront.com - Karver KFS5+ Continuous line, top-down furler

Azimut Challenge: A week to go

by IMOCA Globe Series 12 Sep 11:07 BST 18-22 September 2019
2019 Azimut Challenge © Yvan Zedda

From 18th to 22nd September, the ninth Azimut Challenge in Lorient will bring together an exceptional line-up of 23 IMOCAs, including three brand new boats: Advens for cybersecurity, Arkea-Paprec and DMG Mori. Because this is a Transat Jacques Vabre year (start on 27th October), the Azimut Challenge, which has renewed its partnership with the IMOCA class, will be raced double-handed with a bigger format, with in particular a 48-hour race, which should offer the sailors some precious lessons. We look at the programme and who is taking part.

An extended format

For the first time, the Azimut Challenge will last five days (instead of the usual three). On Wednesday 18th September, the crewed runs will mark the start of the event in Lorient. The aim is to get the best time over the distance of 1.5 miles. Last year, the event was particularly spectacular with some acrobatics from Charal, which had only just been launched. On Thursday 19th September, 23 IMOCAs are expected to set sail in the big race in this Azimut Challenge with 48 hours of double-handed racing. This offshore race that everyone is looking forward to, will be the final battle between the boats before the Transat Jacques Vabre. To finish, on Sunday 22nd September, the crews will take part in the traditional race around the island of Groix, during which they will be able to take on board some guests.

First battle for the latest generation IMOCAs

The IMOCA class had a busy summer with its launches, with five boats being unveiled in just six weeks. One of them, Arkea-Paprec sailed by Sébastien Simon and Vincent Riou, has already taken part in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Unfortunately, it sadly ended with the boat retiring and so this time, the duo will really want to complete the Azimut Challenge race and get a good result. For Vincent, it is also an opportunity to defend his solo title won last year. In the absence of Charlie Dalin's Apivia, Arkea-Paprec will be able to see how she measures up against two other IMOCAs launched in recent days: Advens for cybersecurity (Thomas Ruyant/Antoine Koch) and DMG Mori (Kojiro Shiraishi/Gilles Campan). Although they are all busy fine tuning their respective boats, these double-handed crews will no doubt find it hard to leave to one side their competitive instincts...

An armada of 15 foilers

Charal, an IMOCA from the latest generation launched a year ago, benefits from a year more of training than the newer boats. Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt are sailing on a boat that everyone fears and which has been made more reliable since her first experience of racing in the 2018 Azimut Challenge. Recent winners of the Rolex Fastnet Race, they will be among the favourites this year.

After finishing second in the same race, Kevin Escoffier and Nicolas Lunven (PRB) will also be closely watched, as will the pairs formed by Sam Davies/Paul Meilhat (Initiatives Cœur), Louis Burton/Davy Beaudart (Bureau Vallée), Yannick Bestaven/Roland Jourdain (Maître CoQ), Boris Herrmann/Will Harris and Pascal Bidégorry/Charlie Enright (11th Hour) on the former Hugo Boss... We will also keeping a close eye on the performance of the new look MACSF sailed by Isabelle Joschke and Morgan Lagravière, as she is almost a new boat after all the work done on her during her eight months in the yard and the addition of foils. We shall also see whether the recent North Atlantic record breaker can do as well when in race mode. Aboard La Fabrique, Alan Roura will be joined by Sébastien Audigane. In all, 15 IMOCAs with foils are expected to compete in the Azimut Chalenge.

All of the double-handed crews will be doing their utmost

Competing against increasingly competitive foilers, it is getting harder and harder for the IMOCAs with straight daggerboards to keep up with the frontrunners. Hard, but not impossible... Clarisse Crémer and Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire X) proved that when they finished in third place in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Other sailors racing on boats that have been worked on over a long period may be seen as outsiders with a chance. That is true in the case of Nicolas Troussel/Jean Le Cam (Corum L'Epargne), Maxime Sorel/Guillaume Le Brec (V and B - Mayenne), Damien Seguin/Yoann Richomme (Groupe Apicil) - among others. For all of them, this is an ideal opportunity to see how they measure up against their rivals and hopefully receive a boost to their confidence before the Transat Jacques Vabre, the next big event in the Globe Series, which will soon be upon them...

Registered for the 2019 Azimut Challenge:

  • 11th Hour: Pascal Bidegorry and Charlie Enright - Foiler
  • Advens for cybersecurity: Thomas Ruyant and Antoine Koch - Foiler
  • Arkea-Paprec: Sébastien Simon and Vincent Riou - Foiler
  • Banque Populaire X: Clarisse Crémer and Armel le Cléac'h
  • Bureau Vallée: Louis Burton and Davy Beaudart - Foiler
  • Charal: Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt - Foiler
  • Corum l'Epargne: Nicolas Troussel and Jean Le Cam
  • DMG Mori: Kojiro Shiraishi and Gilles Campan - Foiler
  • Groupe Apicil: Damien Seguin and Yoann Richomme
  • Groupe Setin: Manuel Cousin and Gildas Morvan
  • Initiatives Cœur: Samantha Davies and Paul Meilhat - Foiler
  • La Fabrique: Alan Roura and Sébastien Audigane - Foiler
  • La Mie Câline - Artipôle: Arnaud Boissières and Xavier Macaire - Foiler
  • MACSF: Isabelle Joschke and Morgan Lagravière - Foiler
  • Maître CoQ: Yannick Bestaven and Roland Jourdain - Foiler
  • Malizia 2 - Yacht Club de Monaco: Boris Hermann and Will Harris - Foiler
  • Newrest-Art & Fenêtres: Fabrice Amedeo and Eric Péron - Foiler
  • PRB: Kevin Escoffier and Nicolas Lunven - Foiler
  • Prysmian Group: Giancarlo Pedote and Anthony Marchand - Foiler
  • Pure: Romain Attanasio and Sébastien Marsset
  • Time For Oceans: Stéphane Le Diraison and François Guiffant
  • V and B - Mayenne: Maxime Sorel and Guillaume Le Brec
  • Vers un monde sans Sida: Erik Nigon and Vincent Le Serec

Related Articles

Ysbrand joins Pip Hare for Transat Jacques Vabre
An important qualifying stage for Pip's bid to compete in the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe With thousands of miles on his CV, Ysbrand has sailed a huge range of yachts from Mini 6.50s to Volvo 70s, and is no stranger to single- and double-handed racing. Posted on 12 Oct
Bekking sets sights on 9th campaign with Childhood
A veteran team has come together to launch a Swedish campaign in the VO65 class Bouwe Bekking, an eight-time veteran of The Ocean Race, has announced a new project with an eye on competing in the 2021-22 edition of the Race. Posted on 12 Oct
The Ocean Race: Still turning the tide
Dee Caffari talks about her plans for the next edition of the Race Former The Ocean Race skipper Dee Caffari talks about ocean health and her plans for the next edition of the Race. Posted on 10 Oct
North Sails Weekly Debrief
Azzura wins Super Series, IMOCA & HELIX, Glenn Cook joins North, A conversation with Ken Read We predicted the 2019 52 Super Series would be the most competitive season to date, and in the end, Azzura was on top. Posted on 6 Oct
More competitors at the start of the Vendée Globe
The number of candidates - 34 so far - already represents a first record for this 2020/2021 edition Ever since its creation, the Vendée Globe - a sailing race round-the-world, solo, non-stop and without assistance - has been an essential reference in the world of offshore sailing. Posted on 3 Oct
60 IMOCA sailors ready for Transat Jacques Vabre
The line-up brings together people from various backgrounds and with various ambitions Thirty IMOCAs will line up for the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre - a record. That means sixty sailors (including seven women and sixteen non-French sailors) will be doing battle over the 4350 miles separating Le Havre from Salvador da Bahia. Posted on 2 Oct
Charal shines in 2019 Azimut Challenge in Lorient
With just over a month to go to Transat Jacques Vabre, the event was a test for many of the boats There was a lot to see at every level and the weather conditions were ideal. Out of the twenty boats ranked at the finish, there were 12 foilers and eight non-foilers, three of which made it to the top ten. Posted on 25 Sep
11th Hour Racing Team in the Azimut Challenge
Podium finish in team's first official race This past week marked the first official race for 11th Hour Racing Team in the Defi Azimut (Azimut Challenge) out of Lorient, France a city 40 miles south of where the team has been training for the Transat Jacques Vabre Posted on 25 Sep
New Zhik partnership with Alex Thomson Racing
As the Official Technical Clothing Supplier for the team's 2020 Vendee Globe campaign The innovative marine apparel brand, Zhik, announce a new partnership as the Official Technical Clothing Supplier to Alex Thomson Racing, as part of the team's 2020 Vendee Globe campaign. Posted on 24 Sep
Italian city to host finish of The Ocean Race
The selection of Italy's top maritime city opens the event to a new audience Genoa will be the finish of the next edition of The Ocean Race, marking the first time the fully-crewed, around the world yacht race, known as the 'toughest test of a team in sport' will come to Italy. Posted on 23 Sep