The fourth edition of the Défi Azimut starts this Friday for the 8 IMOCAs involved in this event, which grew out of the joint ambition of IMOCA, Azimut and the Lorient water sports centre to add a new dimension to Lorient’s great end-of-season meeting – the Atlantique Télégramme. It was also a great way to seal the already existing partnership between IMOCA and Azimut, who supply the class website, interactive supports, etc.
Each year it brings the IMOCA skippers together for a friendly confrontation before the big autumn meeting. In 2011 and 2013, the teams preparing for the Transat Jacques Vabre came to compete double-handed. This year as in 2012 (Vendée Globe year), single-handed racing is the name of the game with the Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe. Under the guidance of Race Director Jacques Caraes, the solo sailors will start off on Friday with a 24-hour course, returning amid the Atlantique Télégramme teams on Saturday. On Sunday there will be team runs in front of the Talut point, the Défi Azimut-IMOCA, a round-the-island of the Isle of Groix with Vincent Riou’s 2011 reference time of 1h 28m 41s to beat.
The Ultimes, who are preparing for the upcoming Route du Rhum, have been invited to the party this year with an off-shore race on Friday. The crème de la crème of off-shore racing will therefore be present in the seas of Lorient this weekend.
The most recent initiative is to have a media man aboard each of the boats, who will re-transmit footage from the course, capture the atmosphere, and who will strive to share what’s going on inside the head of a solo skipper during the race – with the utmost discretion of course.
Défi Azimut – IMOCA programme
Friday 26 September
16h30: Press conference, Villa Margaret, Kernevel Port
19h00: Beginning of the start procedure for the Défi Azimut – IMOCA
Saturday 27 September
16h00: Estimated arrival of boats
19h30: Prize-giving in the Atlantique Télégramme marquee (submarine base)
Sunday 28 September
13h00 Opening of the speed runs
14h30: Beginning of the start procedure for the Défi Azimut – IMOCA round-the-island of the Isle of Groix
Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ)
Bertrand de Broc (Votre Nom autour du Monde)
Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée)
François Gabart (MACIF)
Marc Guillemot (Safran)
Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives-Cœur)
Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) – sous réserve
Armel Tripon (Imagine)