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    Sogestran Seafrigo (FRA 197)
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    G. Pirouelle
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Défi Atlantique, at D-4, a departure village and training sessions

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While a certain number of competitors of the Atlantic Challenge are making their final adjustments at sea, in view of the departure towards the Azores, scheduled for next Saturday at 11 am, the festivities and animations set up by the Guadeloupe Region are in full swing on land, in the race village established along the Darse. At 5pm, Mr Camille Pélage, Vice-President of the regional authority, inaugurated a race village resolutely placed under the sign of the ecological transition. Workshops, Master Class, but also exchanges between the public and the increasingly eco-responsible sailors, will punctuate the beautiful Guadeloupean week of the Class40.

A transatlantic sailing race as a model for ecological transition
Since 2016, the Guadeloupe Region has been committed to implementing a new political model largely focused on the development of the blue economy. This integrated model is based on a number of themes, in particular the organisation of transatlantic sailing races for which the growing popularity is generating positive economic spin-offs. The project to organise the Atlantic Challenge Guadeloupe / Horta / La Rochelle 2023 is in line with this logic.

A race to raise awareness

In order to highlight the archipelago as a whole and thus enhance its cultural heritage and tourism potential, the boats will set off towards Basse-Terre to go around the Saintes Islands, then up towards Marie-Galante and Désirade and finally north towards the Atlantic.
In a context of health crisis exacerbated by the pollution of the marine environment with chlordecone, by the regular degradation of bathing water due in particular to the dilapidated state of wastewater treatment plants, by the repeated strandings of sargassum algae, the bloom of which is attributed to the nitrate enrichment of the waters of the Amazon River, by the bleaching of corals and the depletion of coastal resources leading to fishing restrictions, Guadeloupeans are waiting for the implementation of sustainable development policies that respect resources and the marine environment.
The Atlantic Challenge is part of this logic by avoiding a return trip by cargo ship for at least thirteen boats that participated in the Route de Rhum. This reduces their ecological footprint.

Didier Le Vourch - Vicitan
Mach 40 - N° 134 - 23rd in the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe
"It's a superb race. Leaving Guadeloupe towards Europe via a superb stopover in the Azores is a great opportunity to bring back the boats from the Route du Rhum, in this West-East direction which is the only transatlantic race in this direction with Quebec-St Malo. We'll have to sail upwind in the trade winds, to look for the lows towards the Azores. We like to do the east-west transatlantic races to get to the sun. This is where we come home and it's also a great pleasure for the sailors.
The crew is above all friendly, that's even the watchword on board. We're looking to enjoy ourselves with Olivier Delrieu, the owner of the boat and François Guiffant, a very efficient guy.
We've been well moored since the Caribean 600 where we finished 9th. We've fine-tuned our settings. As in the Rhum, we have the same proportions of recent boats, scows, and "sharp" ones like ours, from 2014 and before. There will be two races within the race.
The upwind course could give us an advantage. There is less of a gap between our boats and the scows on these windward points of sail. We'll play on that.
I'm in love with the Azores, islands where you can find the joy of living, a very diverse climate... I love to stop over there. There's a special flavour. You feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. The Azores have to be earned. Its very green volcanic peaks are a unique viewpoint for the sailor.
The archipelago is in itself a real challenge for sailors. There are depressions and the famous anticyclone. Approaching it is technically difficult, with deviations and accelerations... It has to be earned.
There may be opportunities for the older generation boats. If there is an opening, we will have to take it.
We are starting with three. Four would be too many because our boats are cramped. Three is a good compromise. Two works too. The weather analysis will be collegial. Everyone will find what they need.

Raphael Auffret - Dopamine Sailing Team

Mach 40 N° 104 - 33rd in the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe
"I'm taking on the role of skipper on a boat I know well, having already sailed in the Transat Jacques Vabre. The wife of Florian Gueguen, the skipper, is expecting a baby. I will be accompanied by two people from La Rochelle that I know well. They are nautical professionals. Thomas Racoupeau is a sailmaker, Vianney Guilbaud sells masts. We come from the same milieu. We are competitors, Mini, 4.70, IRC... The boat is not the latest generation but we will do our best and fight like competitors.
We're expecting a lot of upwind sailing. It will be a great experience. It will be my first time in the Azores. A discovery!
I've been around Class 40 for almost five years now. The boats are great. The class is competitive and very friendly. I want to sail even more. The boat stayed in Pointe-à-Pitre after the Rhum. We are pampering her for the Challenge. We are almost ready to cross the Atlantic.

Jean-Baptiste Daramy - Chocolat Pariès - Screb

Plan Botin N° 123 - 22nd of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe
"This challenge is a good idea. It's better than putting a boat on a cargo ship. We're delighted to continue sailing this lovely boat. The stopover in the Azores is nice. The race is complex meteorologically. Ideally, we would like to catch a low-pressure system coming from the United States to slip along downwind. Our boat is versatile enough to adapt to all points of sail. We're happy upwind, but we like to slide downwind. I'm leaving with Ludovic Méchin, my opponent in the 2015 Mini. He beat me. He has sailed a lot in Class40. He is a specialist in transatlantic races in this sense, unlike me.
So there will be two of us on the first leg, and my wife will join us in Horta for the second leg, as she has worked a lot and helped me a lot during the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe. If we go together, we are very complementary with Ludo. I'm coming to the end of my Class 40 career. I aspire to something else after this race even if I remain an enlightened amateur but with a real competitive spirit!"

Source / GPO

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