The Imoca skippers are due to meet up again in St Malo on 31st October for the Route du Rhum-la Banque Postale and in Barcelona on 31st December for the Barcelona World Race. 9 boats are set to compete in the Rhum and at least ten for the Barcelona. At the present time, some skippers are finishing off their projects in order to make it to the start line, while others are adding the final touches to their brand new prototypes.
The new projects:
Four major projects are under way at the moment. The most advanced of these belongs to Vincent Riou (PRB), whose new boat has been on the water since the spring, and Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac – Paprec 3), who recently moored up in Lorient at the end of a long delivery trip from New Zealand via the Panama canal. Meanwhile, Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) is completing a race against the clock so as to make the start of the Route du Rhum, before gearing up for the Barcelona World Race. The three sailors have all opted for a Verdier – VPLP design, acknowledging the respective performances of Safran and Groupe Bel. Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) is continuing with the construction of his Kouyoumdjian designed boat at the Decision yard in Switzerland.
Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) has traded in his Lombard design, which was beginning to get a bit dated, for the Farr designed boat previously skippered by Sébastien Josse during the last Vendée Globe. Bilou’s aim is to defend his title during the next Route du Rhum. Roland will once again be competing against Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel), who is continuing to optimise his monohull, as well as Marc Guillemot (Safran), who is keen to repeat his performance from the last Transat Jacques Vabre.
For this year’s Route du Rhum, Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) is now in possession of a boat which once belonged to Vincent Riou, while Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air), winner of the Solitaire du Figaro, will be racing on his Finot designed boat again.
Looking ahead to Barcelona, Dominique Wavre and his new partner Mirabaud will be at the start of the next Barcelona World Race; while Dee Caffari will be teaming up with Anna Corbella (GAES Centros Auditivos).
Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) will also be at the start of the race, aboard a boat previously skippered by Brian Thompson (Pindar). Alex is gambling on the boat’s power and his new boat is certainly a looker.
The Spanish are also intending to be out in force on the IMOCA circuit as several crews are actively preparing for the Barcelona World Race. Alex Pella is teaming up with Pepe Ribes (Estrella Damm) on Loïck Peyron’s former Farr design; Pachi Rivero is partnering Tonio Piris (W Hotels Nova Bocana) on Jean-Pierre Dick’s former boat, while Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (Movistar) are benefiting from the advice of Michel Desjoyeaux after purchasing the winning boat from the last Vendée Globe.
A few other projects will also be taking part in the next Barcelona World Race and they are discreetly being finalised.
Strategic choices for the future
By opting to register the next three editions of the Barcelona World Race in its schedule, Imoca had gambled on its internationalisation and the complementary nature of single and double-handed races. They’ve pulled it off! The 2010 Imoca season will comprise over 20 entries in its World Championship. Naturally, the 2008 Vendée Globe was an exceptional event, with 30 competitors at the start. 18 competitors lined up for the 2004 edition, so we should be able to count on the 2012 edition being just as exceptional.
Between these two round the world races, the Europa Race will go around Europe, starting in Istanbul on July 2nd 2011.
Those taking part in the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale
Arnaud Boissières – Akena Vérandas
Armel Le Cléac’h – Brit Air
Christopher Pratt – DCNS 1000
Michel Desjoyeaux – FONCIA
Kito de Pavant – Groupe Bel
Vincent Riou – PRB
Marc Guillemot – Safran
Roland Jourdain – Veolia Environnement
Jean-Pierre Dick – Virbac Paprec 3
Those taking part in the Barcelona World Race
Jean-Pierre Dick – Loïck Peyron, Virbac – Paprec 3
Michel Desjoyeaux – François Gabart, Foncia
Dominique Wavre – Michèle Paret, Mirabaud
Anna Corbella – Dee Caffari, GAES Centros Auditivos
Alex Pella – Pepe Ribes, Estrella Damm
Pachi Ribero – Tonio Piris, W Hotels Nova Bocana
Iker Martinez – Xabi Fernandez, Movistar
Alex Thomson – ?, Hugo Boss
Juan Mederiz – Fran Palacio, Central Lechera Asturiana
Boris Herman – Ryan Breymaier
In addition to these ten entrants, three to four crews are finalising their projects. The former Roxy, Super Bigoud and Kingfisher may also be lining up at the start…
More informations : Imoca.org
Photo credit : Eric North.co.uk