If anything came out the the most recent America’s Cup in Valencia it might have been some renewed interest in Multihulls. While the giant versions are breaking round the world records, and the MOD70 tries to establish itself, the Vendee Council has announced an event for Multi 50s from Vendee to Saint-Petersberg to take place every four years, alternating with the Vendee Globe.
The first edition of the Vendée Saint-Petersburg is due to start from Saint Gilles Croix-de-Vie on 16th May with a total distance there and back of 3790 miles. Eight crews will be lining up at the start, including two of the latest racing machines in the class: Actual and Crêpes Whaou !
The new route takes in the Atlantic, the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic, passing through the territorial waters of 14 countries before the finish in Saint-Petersburg in Russia on around 20th May 2010. The best boats like Franck-Yves Escoffier’s new Crêpes Whaou ! and Yves le Blevec’s Actual could complete the first stage of the race in less than five days at an average speed of 16 knots. The race will be holding a stopover for around ten days in Russia, before the start of the return leg on 31st May 2010, with the finish forecast in the port of Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie on around 4th June 2010.
Eight Multi 50 crews have already signed up for this very first edition of the Vendée/Saint-Petersburg. Alongside Yves Le Blevec (Actual) and Franck-Yves Escoffier (Crêpes Whaou !), there will be Hervé Cléris (CLM), Erwan Leroux (Fenêtréa-Cardinal), Anne Caseneuve (Croisières Anne Caseneuve), Etienne Hochédé (PIR2), Philippe Laperche (Gamin) and Lalou Roucayrol (Région Aquitaine-Port Médoc).
The race is an initiative of the Vendée Council, which – as with the Vendée Globe – has created a public-private partnership for the event. Around fifteen famous firms based in Vendée are joining with the Vendée Council and have invested in this partnership taking up 17% of the share capital. According to its founders, the Vendée/Saint-Petersburg race fulfils three requirements:
- Creating a sporting event,
- Widening the reputation of Vendée as a tourist destination
- Encouraging economic development.
Around forty business leaders from Vendée will be taking part in a business mission to Russia, and an organisation will be receiving the Russian visitors at the foot of the Peter and Paul Fortress.
Philippe de Villiers, President of the Vendée Council:
“Just as with the Vendée Globe, this is a race for the general public. It is aimed at the public, sailors and their teams, and is for all those, who love the oceans. I’m increasingly convinced that this is the start of a big adventure. If the Multi50 class has a bright future, this race too will also have a great future.”
Franck Yves Escoffier, President of the Multi50 class:
“This is going to be a very technical and tactical race. It is an extremely interesting route, as it takes the fleet northwards. The skipper and his crew of two will have to be very vigilant in these waters, with their strong currents, and with boats, fishermen and cargo vessels everywhere. But we can look forward to having a great time.”
Philippe Laperche, skipper:
“If I had to choose between a transatlantic race and the Vendée Saint-Petersburg, I would have chosen the Vendée Saint-Petersburg without the slightest hesitation!”