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IMOCA skippers competing in the Volvo Ocean Race

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At two in the afternoon on Sunday 22nd October, seven boats will set sail from Alicante to head for Lisbon at the start of the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Among the sailors competing in the crewed round the world race with stopovers, three are well known faces from the IMOCA race circuit. 

Third in the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe and already certain of taking part in 2020 aboard a brand new 60-foot boat in the colours of Charal, Jérémie Beyou is taking advantage of the Volvo to warm up aboard Dongfeng. Skipper of the Volvo Ocean 65, Turn the Tide on Plastic, the British sailor, Dee Caffari has sailed around the world three times aboard an IMOCA (in the Vendée Globe and the Barcelona World Race). In her crew, we can also see the highly experienced Brit, Brian Thompson, who finished fifth in the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe. Other sailors taking part in this race also regularly sails in the IMOCA class and are hoping one day to compete in the Vendée Globe…

 

 

Eight months of racing, twelve stopovers, six continents, 45,000 miles around the world on four oceans: the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race looks very exciting and has once again attracted some of the top names of ocean racing from around the world. On Sunday 22nd October, seven crews will set sail from Alicante in Spain. Their voyage will finish in late July 2018 in The Hague (Netherlands). Before that, they will have had stopovers in Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaì, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg.

 

Jérémie Beyou aiming to win with Dongfeng

While the construction of his 60-foot IMOCA Charal continues (the hull mould recently arrived at the CDK Technologies yard in Port-la-Forêt in Brittany), Jérémie Beyou is preparing for another round the world experience. He will be setting sail in the Volvo just nine months after finishing the Vendée Globe. With the dream team on Dongfeng led by Charles Caudrelier, who finished third in the last Volvo Ocean Race, Jérémie is aiming to win, as we have come to expect from him. He will be taking advantage of the race to clock up some more experience. Out of the 45,000 miles of racing, there will be 12,500 in the Southern Ocean. “I’m going to have to get used to being part of a crew,” explained Jérémie. “But this is a very exciting challenge. We are aiming high and we have what it takes to succeed. Dongfeng Race Team is an interesting team, as it comprises a wide range of people of different ages and backgrounds and nationalities. There are sailors, who have come from solo racing, from dinghy sailing, as well as veterans from the Volvo Ocean Race. There is a great team spirit with everyone helping each other on board.” We should add that the skipper of Dongfeng, Charles Caudrelier, knows the IMOCA circuit very well, in particular having won the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre with Marc Guillemot, and he hopes to take part one day in the Vendée Globe… The same goes for another sailor on Dongfeng, Pascal Bidégorry, who sailed a lot with Marc Guillemot on his IMOCA in addition to gaining many other experiences.

 

Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson: British experience aboard Turn the Tide on Plastic

Aboard Turn the Tide on Plastic, we can see two other sailors, who have featured heavily in the IMOCA circuit.In 2009, Dee Caffari finished the Vendée Globe in sixth place after 99 days of racing.In 2006, Dee completed a round the world voyage sailing “the wrong way” on an IMOCA. She became the only woman to have completed this voyage around the world in both directions. We can add to her extraordinary list of successes her sixth place in the 2010-2011 Barcelona World Race, the double-handed round the world race, on an IMOCA, and her attempt at the Volvo Ocean Race in 2014-2015 with the all-woman crew, Team SCA. With the Turn the Tide on Plastic team, Dee Caffari is conveying an eco-friendly message about how we need to look after the oceans. But she has not forgotten the race aspect and intends to surprise everyone. She has carefully chosen those accompanying her, choosing experienced sailors like her fellow Brit, Brian Thompson. He also completed the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe, finishing in fifth place. Winner of the 2005-2006  Volvo Ocean Race, Brian has also set many records such as the round the world record in 2004 with Steve Fossett on Cheyenne, and the Jules Verne Trophy in 2012 on the Maxi, Banque Populaire V. “I’m really pleased that Brian has joined our team,” said a proud Dee Caffari. “He has set more records than anyone else in the world of sailing and having experienced sailing alongside him, I’m sure he will bring our team his knowledge and confidence.” Brian Thompson, who injured his leg, will not be up and running before the start of 2018. However, he will be training with Nicolas Lunven, another 2020 Vendée Globe hopeful, who has already sailed on an IMOCA, in particular he went aboard Safran with Morgan Lagravière in 2015. We should add to complete the picture that the skipper of the Volvo Ocean 65, Mapfre is none other than the Spaniard, Xabi Fernandez, who finished second in the 2010-2011 Barcelona World Race…


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