• Le Defi Azimut: 22 Teams Depart Lorient In Brisk Conditions

    22 IMOCA's departed the Lorient earlier today in brisk winds and flat seas. The race is a warm up for the Transat Jacques Vabre
    features a 48 hour loop off the coast of Brittany with two crewmen and a media person to provide onboard coverage as the race progresses.
    The race is overwhelmingly a french affair with many of the top shorthanded franco's testing new boats and fine tuning their program along with up
    and coming teams learning the ropes and which ones to tug on and when. This years entry list has 3 non-french sailors, Great Britain's Samantha Davies
    sailing with Paul Meilhat aboard Initiatives Coeur, the Japanese entry of Kojiro Shiraishi with Gilles Campan on DMG Mori and The United States entry of
    Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidegorry on 11th Hour Racing (nee former Hugo Boss)

    Currently Team USA are in 2nd, Team UK 3rd with Jeremie Beyou and Christopher Pratt on Charal in the lead


    The Défi Azimut is an atypical event in the offshore race world. It’s the meeting between the IMOCA class which gathers together the skippers of the Vendée Globe and the Lorient-based company Azimut. It also aims to combine performance, innovation and strategy. It combines the best level of sailing competition with a lot of friendliness. It’s the hallmarks of this event whose success does not stop.

    For its ninth edition, the Défi Azimut brings together new boats and already experienced Imocas to compete in racing mode and amaze us for five days in Lorient. Every year, this festive event gathers ocean sailing players around highly contested boat races, just a few weeks before the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

    New thing this year, the Défi Azimut will present some of the major players in the offshore racing world who have decided to take up another great challenge: the fight for the oceans preservation.

    Conditions were brisk from the east for the start but are expected to lighten and turn southerly in the next 24 hours before switching to a more westerly direction Sunday, meaning crews might just be able to fly a kite around the entire track.

    Official Report:

    High stolen

    Great start at 13 pm today of the 48 hours azimut off lorient. Jérémie Beyou still in the lead tonight after 90 miles of race at more than 22 knots of average. Already Large differences in a fleet that is quite spread out.

    In still summer conditions, the atmosphere was relaxed this morning on the pontoons of lorient la base. Very little DIY due to yesterday's runs, the 21 tandems accompanied by their media man or woman left serene for the 48 hours azimut. Everyone could focus on their goal because as Fabrice Amedeo explained before boarding: " we know since yesterday that there are really three families of imoca. The New Foilers Stick US EASILY 3 knots and in theory boats like newrest art and windows that dates from 2015 goes about 3 knots faster than the drift models ". on its side, Yoann Richomme (Apicil) seemed more worried about arriving too late in lorient on Saturday to follow the first match of the xv tricolor than on the end of the final ranking at the scratch! " with Damien we're going to play our band first trying to go tantalize some more recent boats. But on this course, the last foilers will give us a nice beating! ".

    Foilers, the kings of the gulf

    It must be said that on the 665-mile triangle that makes up the course, almost two-third will be played wind of the way or at the carrying in strong wind. The Queen look of the foilers is well there, between 90 and 130° of the real wind. No wonder to see that the most successful of the last generation, charal, already had 6 TO 8 miles in advance after 60 miles of race on his best Dolphins Kevin Escoffier-Prb and 11th Hour Racing And more than ten on the peloton. On the first four hours, the vplp plan of jérémie beyou and Christopher Pratt has therefore sail 3 knots faster than the bulk of the troops, sorry for the little.

    But don't go to believe that the dice are thrown away! " there will be opportunities on the averti course this morning, Sebastien Simon, skipper of arkéa paprec who points tonight in fourth position. Especially small areas of soft under the influence of a stormy depression that grows on Spain. You'll have to be precise and make the right sailing changes at the right time "

    A very spreading fleet

    And in this area, the superb departure and the bypass of the island of groix showed how much places can be won or easily lost at the speeds where the imoca evolve. With an "English" Departure (at the door) where you had to manage the timing of the line - what Voile Banque Populaire x and office vallée ii did perfectly -, the choice of the right sail of wearing Was essential. Those who had chosen the grand gennaker were forced to change for smaller after the gybe at the pointe de pen men, a costly maneuver, even in double. At this game, charal managed perfectly its positioning, loffant over the whole fleet under small gennaker, without losing a second after the gybe. Big Mastery also on 11th hour of Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry who points second by seriously going back to the leader.

    But the fleet is already spread over 10 miles in the side, and the ranking is playing yoyo. Everyone is looking for the best veins to heal their angle of descent to the way point 1, while knowing that the wind must gradually turn South East.

    High-speed steering, opponent monitoring and incessant settings: Here's the evening menu for the 21 tandems engaged. First verdict and ranking at the passage of the virtual brand, scheduled a little before the sunrise.

    Ranking at 19 pm:
    1) Charal
    2) 11th Hour
    3) Prb

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