Maxi Multi Race / Vannes - Vannes
The idea of a very first short-distance race aimed exclusively at maxi-multihulls first saw the light of day one year ago. It is intended that in June 2007, the fleet will line up on the start in Le Morbihan, bound for Iceland and run a course of around 3200 miles / 6000 km. From the time the idea first sprung to mind, it has been supported by skippers and owners.
It has now taken shape to become what it is today. Details were unveiled on Le Morbihan's Regional Council at the International Paris Boat Show on 7th December 2005.
Since The Race 2001 was launched by Bruno Peyron who presided over the birth of the maxi-multihulls, the only true arena available was circumnavigation and great ocean records. Exceptional, ultra-fast boats but lacking an appropriate event for them to race at close quarters. Once it had been established that this was lacking, naval architects Vincent Lauriot-Prévost/Marc Van Peteghem and the Gilles Ollier Design Team got their heads together at the start of the Oryx Cup (Qatar) in February 2005 and concluded that it was realistic to work on setting up such an event.
A certain legitimacy
The afore-mentioned firms of architects, both of which are based in Vannes, have designed almost all of the 32 to 38 m long maxi-multihulls already afloat or shortly to be launched, namely the three sisterships - Club Med, Innovation Explorer (Orange I) and Team Adventure, Geronimo, Orange II and Groupama III. Furthermore, all were built in the Multiplast shipyard at the Pôle d'Excellence Nautique in Vannes (France). Since Commodore Explorer headed by Bruno Peyron set the reference time for the Jules Verne Trophy back in 1993, they have continued to be involved and develop this type of boat. Once the idea got off the ground, it became perfectly easy to imagine that these giants could be brought back to their home ground, back to the heart of a region highly sensitive to their history. Where there is a will, there is a way. Yann Pennfornis, architect and member of the Gilles Ollier Design Team : "...we know these boats inside out, not to mention their skippers, crews and sponsors. We had no bother contacting them to ask them what they thought of our idea. They returned highly positive vibes which encouraged us to pursue the idea. We started to set the ball rolling with the local institutions and private partners to get them involved from the start. We did likewise with other ocean-racing experts to offer competitors an ad-hoc sporting and logistical organisation. Once again the idea did not fall on deaf ears". Janick Vigo, deputy maire of Vannes and representing of François Goulard, Minister of Research and Further Education: « This event is the opportunity to highlight the true technologic know how of our town and is in the right way of the development of our nautical activity where designers and builder of that fantastic boats are located...".
A short format
Unlike record attempts which require being mobilised for several months between time spent on stand-by and the time spent actually sailing, the Maxi Multi Race is moving towards a race which will take three weeks at the most. The aim is for the fleet to be in Vannes a week before the start, race a prologue off the entrance to the Golfe of Morbihan, in the Quiberon Bay, firing the starting shot mid June 2007. That way the competitors will be able to round Iceland around the summer solstice on 21st June as they cross the arctic circle (66°33 North). These machines should be able to cover the 3200 mile distance in 7 or 8 days. It will be a technical and tactical course, requiring the boats to sail at close quarters.
Bruno Peyron, skipper of Orange II : "...Heading towards the great North, it's truly sympatic. Sailing at 40 knots near icebergs on that magic boats, we must have nice shots. That race is a good opportunity I am supporting for its in the process of giant fleet developpement...".
Roger Lair, sailing sponsorship manager for Groupama : « We are exited to launch our 32 meter new trimaran Groupama III and fighting against Orange II. Well done for that original course. We do all our best for the success of that event...".
Franck Proffit, co-skipper of Groupama : "... with that race, we must be able to internationalise the fleet. It's a right event to complete the giant records program..."
Jacques Caraes, Jules Verne Trophy holder aboard Orange II, specialist of on board images: "...4 days crewed close contact racing on 7 without night: boats are going to be pushed hard. We will have fantastic images...".
Local impetus is underway. From now on, the Morbihan Regional Council and the town of Vannes have confirmed their support and particularly within the nautical development framework, setting up te necessary infrastructures to host the event, (pontoons and services) for such big boats. Mr J.F. Kergueris, Chairman of the Local Council : "...Quality of pilots and sponsors show that event easy to understand, to follow by a large public. It must allows the Morbihan to be more effective in the offshore racing field...".
Multiplast will be making its facilities available for the technical logistics required by the boats. Finally, the team which is behind the whole project is in contact with a private partner which has expressed a high degree of interest in the race, the first multihull race over the arctic circle.
Facts 'n' figures – pre-programme
Dates. June 2007
Course. Vannes (Quiberon Bay) / Iceland (arctic circle 66°33' N) / Vannes (Quiberon Bay)
Distance. Around 3200 miles (6000 km)
Race time. 7-8 days
Coordination - Yann Penfornis.
Tel. +33 (0) 297 409 844