Thursday, December 8

Five Mediterranean sailors attend the Route du Rhum


Updated at 6:36 p.m.

All of them will compete in Class40, the most popular category of the 2022 Route du Rhum in which some 55 sailors compete for the precious solo transatlantic gold. The participation of these five Mediterranean sailors aims to give birth to the new Mediterranean Class40 Trophy project (which allows talents to be federated, to promote offshore regattas in the region, to accentuate the synergy between the teams and to prepare in the best way to perform in the challenge that awaits them).

For Kito de Pavant, they are “the stalwarts of the Mediterranean those who challenge the Breton navy” . On November 6, five Class 40 skippers from the south of France will set out on the Rum Route after a long transport journey to Saint-Malo. While the vitality of ocean racing in Brittany is no longer in question, Mediterranean-based skippers are working to develop the discipline on their shores. “This is where we live, work and thrive, and it makes sense to be based here” says Mathieu Claveau, who lives in Marseille.

The Class 40 Mediterranean Trophy, a symbol of attractiveness. All of them underline the interest in multiplying training sessions and regattas in the Mediterranean, to become familiar with atypical conditions, different from those that occur in the Atlantic Ocean. “The wind changes more quickly, so you have to adapt more and maneuver much more” , explains Jean-Pierre Balmes, who lives in La Grande Motte. Mikael Mergui, from Hyero, having sailed around the world, underlines “the fact that there are no limitations of tides and locks, but that the wind, when changing from one bay to another, can add more complexity to navigation”. “Conditions are mild for most of the year, so we can sail more often and start the season earlier” , adds Laurent Camprubi. For the Marseille skipper, the regatta program is also “very interesting and particularly dense”. To add to its appeal, this year the Class40 Mediterranean Trophy has been launched: “We wanted it to serve as a common denominator and to strengthen the links between the Class40” , explains Kito de Pavant. With a specific classification introduced in several regattas: Roma per Due, Corsica Med, Duo Max, Au Large de Saint-Tropez, Palermo-Monte Carlo, Round Italy and Middle Sea Race…

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Defend the colors of the Mediterranean on the Rum Route! “The confrontation is very rich to tan and pushes us all to develop and get closer” , emphasizes Kito de Pavant. According to these sailors, this new Trophy “creates a new impulse” (Mikael Mergui), “develops the attractiveness of the Class 40 in the Mediterranean” (Laurent Camprubi) and “it could motivate skippers to establish themselves here or to come and compete in regattas” (Mathieu Claveau).

The geographical proximity, the need to organize themselves to compete in the great ocean races and the fact that they regularly compete with each other have strengthened the links between these five sailors. “We exchange and support each other at a technical and logistical level” (Mikael Mergi). “We sail against each other, but we face the same problems, so it is normal that there is solidarity” (Jean-Pierre Balmes).

“We are very united and we will do everything possible to defend the colors of the Mediterranean on the Route du Rhum” , announces Laurent Camprubi. For this five-member club, the big goal of the year is nearly 2,000 miles from home. And nothing has been easy, especially to ensure their classification: “It’s been a big problem, nothing is easy when you’re not on the Atlantic coast,” admits Jean-Pierre Balmes. “The long commute is obviously an obstacle, but we have learned to adapt,” emphasizes Mathieu Claveau. For a Mediterranean sailor, tackling the Route du Rhum can be a bit difficult. But all of them are interested in their regional roots and accept the challenge.

In Saint-Malo, on November 6, 138 skippers will take the start in the most prestigious of the transatlantic races, including 55 from the Class40 class, the largest in the regatta. The five southerners, in addition to giving everything to reach the finish line and occupy a good position in their category, will want to remind us of the small pleasures and demands of sailing in the Mediterranean, whose prestigious regattas attract thousands of international sailors every year.

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The eternal dilemma in the geographical division of the oceanic fleets, the regattas that depart from the Atlantic coasts always have more pull in the transoceanic ones; while those that are disputed in the Mediterranean come up against numerous coastal and diurnal regattas.

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