Please select your home edition
Sailingfast 2018 2 728x90

L'Occitane en Provence sets sail for the Retour à La Base

by L'Occitane Sailing Team 30 Nov 2023 17:46 GMT
L'Occitane Sailing Team © PKC Media / L'Occitane Sailing Team

And they're off again! The starting gun for the Retour à La Base has just been fired! At 12:00 today (local time), 17:00 French time, the IMOCA fleet set off for the final race of the year, taking more than 30 IMOCA skippers to Lorient, this time sailing solo. If Clarisse aims to compete in the Vendée Globe 2024, this solo qualification stage is crucial.

Early this morning, Clarisse was already geared up and more determined than ever. After just a few days of rest between the finish of the Transat Jacques Vabre and this new start, the skipper had no difficulty switching back into 'race mode,' as she calls it. "I never feel as strong as when I'm alone. I don't know why, there's something that happens in my head that drives me to go further. And it's a feeling that boosts self-confidence, even though there are inevitably tough moments. It's also in solo sailing that I discovered yacht racing; I think it structured me, and that's why solo sailing is truly where I'm the best at" she confided this morning while grabbing her bag.

The challenge ahead of her is considerable: a winter crossing of one of the planet's five oceans. After a season mainly devoted to double-handed sailing, she will be on her own for the return to the old continent, a real test run before the Vendée next year. For the sailor aboard the IMOCA L'Occitane en Provence, beyond her qualification, this race signifies a return to the roots of solo sailing after her non-stop round-the-world voyage in 2020, where she clinched the women's speed world record, beating Ellen McArthur previous record.

As the boat sails away from the Martinique coast, the team remains on alert, closely monitoring the vessel during its crossing. Once at sea, even though communication means are operational, Clarisse will be on her own. For the initial days on the Atlantic, conditions are expected to be relatively calm, with gentle winds and favorable weather. "The route for this race is quite straightforward. The aim will be to head north as quickly as possible to pass an anticyclone. Skippers will likely have two options: either head straight north to catch a wind shift, which will take the boats into rough seas with strong winds, or they could veer slightly less northward, staying in lighter winds and smaller swells, with the advantage of preserving the boat" explains Alan Roberts, her co-skipper on the Transat Jacques Vabre, who intends to closely monitor the skipper's strategy on her new boat.

"For now, our focus is on the first part, the initial 4 days, then the weather files can still change, with the jet stream, so Clarisse's strategy will evolve according to the forecasted conditions" he adds. One thing is certain, the weather is expected to turn colder, and the swell will intensify approaching Europe, encountering wintry conditions that will make this race excellent training for the Vendée Globe.

Even in 'race mode,' Clarisse's priority will remain safety. The goal is clear: preserving and conserving the boat at all costs to secure her qualification for the Vendée Globe. Finishing this race with a boat in good condition will inevitably outweigh her performance objectives, although our dear skipper maintains her competitive spirit.

To follow Clarisse throughout her crossing see

Related Articles

It's a wrap!
In sailing we have a lot of plain white hulls In sailing we have a lot of plain white hulls. Let's face it, when everything looks the same, it does make things a bit dull. The end of February is a dreary time, so it's time to talk about boats which brighten things up. Posted on 19 Feb
Gentoo Sailing Team to conduct ocean research
University of Portsmouth teams up with Hampshire sailor to help protect the world's oceans The University of Portsmouth is partnering with Gosport-based ocean sailing team, Gentoo Sailing Team, to help protect our planet's marine ecosystems. Posted on 16 Feb
Team Malizia to compete in The Ocean Race Europe
The race will start in the sailing city of Kiel After their successful participation in The Ocean Race and an incredible welcome during the Fly-By in Kiel, Germany, last year, Team Malizia have announced that they will be on the start line of The Ocean Race Europe 2025. Posted on 14 Feb
The Ocean Race Europe 2025 will start from Kiel
Aim is to combine this event with the topic of ocean health and protection Organisers of The Ocean Race have confirmed Kiel.Sailing.City as the host of the start of The Ocean Race Europe during a press conference in Kiel on Wednesday morning. Posted on 14 Feb
Official Statement from The IMOCA Class
Personalised assistance and routing from sources external to the boat is prohibited We are aware of the publication of an article reporting suspicions of routing in the Vendée Globe 2020-2021. Posted on 14 Feb
Conrad Colman updates on Vendee Globe entry
Conrad Colman's Vendee Globe race yacht will use electricity only - no fossil fuels French/New Zealand sailor Conrad Colman, who will always be remembered for his epic finish to the 2016/17 Vendee Globe, is going again. The latest attempt will again be aimed at sailing using electricity only - no fossil fuels - and an electric engine. Posted on 9 Feb
10 environmental commitments for the Vendée Globe
The approach is part of a long-term perspective, divided into four key pillars In the run-up to the 10th edition of the solo, non-stop, non-assisted round the world race, the Vendée Globe is affirming its environmental commitments. Posted on 7 Feb
IMOCA Class gets ready for 2024
Taking on two Transats and the Vendée Globe It will be an historic edition of the solo epic that is expected to feature the highest ever number of entries - with up to 40 sailors on the startline in early November - the highest number of nationalities involved, with 11 nations represented. Posted on 1 Feb
11th Hour Racing sponsor Francesca Clapcich
Expanding its work beyond sustainability On the heels of The Ocean Race win by its sponsored team, 11th Hour Racing is expanding its work beyond sustainability and ocean health to champion diversity, opportunity, and access in sailing. Posted on 1 Feb
New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne preview
A record 31 skippers will be setting off across the Atlantic in May While the IMOCA are in winter refit, the organisers of the Vendée Globe are unveiling the details and line-up of their transatlantic race, the New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne, which will start off the coast of the United States Posted on 24 Jan