Sodeb'O. Image copyright B. Stichelbaut.
by Anne Hinton
There are now four large trimarans expected for the sixth edition of the Tour de Belle-Ile race tomorrow, racing around Belle-Ile ("beautiful island") in the bay of Quiberon, Brittany, France.
Record holder Seb Josse on Gitana 11 has been joined by both Lionel Lemonchois' brand new Prince de Bretagne 80 (after which boat and her gastronomic sponsor the Route des Princes multihull tour of western Europe this year has been named), as well as the Spindrift MOD70, skippered by Yann Guichard, and now also Thomas Coville's around-the-world maxi trimaran Sodebo; plenty of tris for the record!
Both Prince de Bretagne 80 and Sodebo are sailing directly on to Douarnenez after the Tour de Belle-Ile race, for the Grand Prix Guyader, where they will be joined by two other MOD70s, Oman Air, with Sidney Gavignet as skipper, and Jean-Pierre Dick's brand new Virbac Paprec, for which this is the first racing event.
In total, the Tour de Belle-Ile is welcoming nearly 500 boats this year, ranging from classics to the maxi multhulls.
Southwesterly winds of 5 rising to 15 km/h are currently being forecast for the event by Meteo France. Moderate breezes and a flat sea are ideal conditions for establishing a new course record. The course record currently stands at 2 hours and 42 minutes.
Tour de Belle-Ile