Thursday, 10 June 2010

100 days before the start of the Groupama Race

Pressure is increasing around the greatest lagoon in the world!

by Groupama Race media

In exactly 100 days, the 18th of september, about 15 teams will line up at the start of the Groupama Race second edition.

Caledonians, Australians, Reunionese and New Zealanders are expected. They will all endeavour to beat the record: 3 days 23 hours 20 minutes and 50 seconds.

As the count down starts speeding up, here’s a highlight on a team who doesn’t mean to remain supporting actors:


The skipper of the boat will be Jim Maloney. A figurehead of New Zealand sailing, he is acknowledged in the whole world. An excellent helmsman, he was crowned 8 times a champion of the United States on 8 different types of boats (Laser, El Toro, International 14, 505, M24, Olson 25, Express 27, Hawkfarm). He has taken part in numerous oceanic races and twice won the Transpacific Yacht Race between Los Angeles and Honolulu. His three children whom he trains are high level sailors. Alexandra, his youngest one, is a world champion in 420. Andy, youth world champion on Radial Laser (2008) is preparing for the London Olympic Games. As for his eldest, Jimmy, he is one of the best New Zealanders in match racing.

Besides him, 2 other personalities of New Zealand sailing:

Josh Tucker has won national titles in Y88, Ross 930, and Magic 25. He has sailed over 100,000 miles in deep sea ocean racing. He took part in 3 Sydney-Hobart, in 2 Auckland-Noumea, 2 Auckland-Fidji, 1 Rolex Transatlantic between New York and London, 1 Fastnet, 1 Cape Town-Rio. He and his team hold the record for crossing from Hong Kong to Hainan in China. He is familiar with all the oceans on the globe, on all types of boats. Among other things he was officer of the watch on a 90 ft super yacht during a season in Alaska around the Arctic Circle. That experienced man will be able to face any kind of incidents. He lost a mast on an Open 60 after passing Cape Horn.

The third asset of the team who comes to New Caledonia to add his name to the honour board of the race is Brett Eliott. A name equally famous in New Zealand: the nephew of the famous racing boat designer Greg Eliott was a member of Emirates Team New Zealand engaged in the most mythical nautical race in the world, the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia in 2007. That same year Brett won the reference competition of New Zealand, the National Keelboat.

For this second edition of the Groupama Race, Team New Zealand intend to inscribe their name to the honour board of the Race.

The race around New Caledonia is a race against time. It’s an ocean regatta worthy of a Sydney-Hobart. The specialists anticipated a 5 day long race. But the favorable and “punchy” weather allowed from the first edition in 2008 to register a serious reference time of 3 days, 23 hours, 20 minutes, 50 seconds.

What this year’s sailors from all over the world are in for are 3 to 5 days of competition, of making the right meteorological choices, of being under constant stress.

A record is to be beaten, a victory to be conquered!

A race in the ocean as well as along the coast.

Two favorite paces, “fair wind” and “close to the wind”: a true giant Olympic course.

An exceptional beauty as the race develops along reefs and in a World Heritage lagoon.

Favorable weather conditions, among them the temperature of the sea water.

A region where the best sailors in the world are to be found (the proximity of Australia and New Zealand makes the participation of high level teams possible).

They will be faced unashamedly by motivated and toughened local sailors.

Groupama Race 2010