9 May 2004 will see the kick off of the 1000 Milles de Calais, a new crewed race open to IMOCA sixty footers. Nothing less than the tour of the Fastnet to set the sea spray flying in what is a crucial year for the future round the world sailors.
After the Calais Round Britain Race in 2003, Royale Production and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Calais have come back this year with the organisation of a new race for the IMOCA 60 foot monohulls - the 1000 milles de Calais.
This 1000 mile return trip between the Calais and the famous Fastnet lighthouse at the south-westerly tip of Ireland, opens the 2004 season for the Open 60 footers, prior to the solo sailor's Everest that is the Vendée Globe.
This particular race will be a crewed race since there will be five sailors aboard for a regatta that should last four days.
The 60 footers must be quayside in Calais by 5 May at the latest, and two non-ranking exhibition regattas are scheduled for Friday 7 May and Saturday 8 May.
The competitors must first head along the French coast as far as Boulogne before having free rein to escape the Channel. On the return leg, after rounding the Fastnet lighthouse, they will make for a buoy at Dover from where they will be able to attempt the Dover-Calais record. (Held by Charles HEDRICH /Objectif 3 during the 2003 edition of the Calais Round Britain Race in 1h 18min 50s, at an average speed of 14.62 knots).
Ten crews are expected in Calais for this IMOCA class curtain raiser with prizes awarded to the first six.
Several great sailors from the circuit have already expressed a desire to participate. For starters there is Roland JOURDAIN, with his brand new Lombard design, Sill, fresh out of the yard. Its sistership Bonduelle 2 will be present too. The skipper Jean LE CAM is also set to name his boat in Calais, the day before the start. Vincent RIOU on PRB, winner of the Calais Round Britain Race, is currently preparing himself to figure amongst the list of contenders, along with the local of the leg, Joé SEETEN (Arcelor Dunkerque) and also Bernard STAMM. At the helm of his new 60 footer, the British skipper Mike GOLDING will be present, while Nick MOLONEY may be the second anglo-saxon in the race.
A Simple Course
The competitors must first head along the French coast as far as Boulogne before having free rein to escape the Channel. On the return leg, after rounding the Fastnet lighthouse, they will make for a buoy at Dover from where they will be able to attempt the Dover-Calais record. (Held by Charles Hedrich /Objectif 3 during the 2003 edition of the Calais Round Britain Race in 1h 18min 50s, at an average speed of 14.62 knots).
The Centenary of the Entente Cordiale
The " 1000 milles de Calais " comes within the framework of events in 2004 that mark the centenary of the Entente Cordiale between France and England. As a result there will be two minesweepers from the French and English Navy to get the start of the race underway on Sunday 9 May below the cliffs of the Cap Blanc Nez.