This year, the Coupe de France of the Yacht Club de France, which was inaugurated in 1891, is being held for the fifty-fourth time. For the second time, it is in Saint-Tropez and will be raced for by three boats teams of a Melges 24, Dragon and Mumm 30.
165 elite international team-members were last night preparing their weapons to clash when racing gets underway today, Friday, at 11 am for the first of these 3 days of racing. The program schedules three races per day and the forecast for today indicates a day of tactical sailing with winds peaking around 15 knots. This will undoubtedly give an advantage to the light crews, however the situation could be reversed as of Saturday with the arrival of the Mistral.
"Nothing of what occurs on the sea is foreign to the Navy"
declared Vice-Admiral Van HUFFEL, Maritime Préfet of the Mediterranean, expected tomorrow in Saint-Tropez to support his team. Following the dissolution of the Battalion of Joinville in January 2002, the Minister for Defence, Mrs Michele ALLIOT-MARIE and the Minister for the Sports, Mr Jean-François LAMOUR, set up a specific structure for high level sporting competition in the French armed forces. This agreement allowed the creation of 10 positions allotted to high level sportsmen, proposed by the French Federation of Sailing, under contract with the Navy. The three teams which will present themselves tomorrow in the first race are all current members or reservists of the French Navy.
The course area in the gulf will be visible from the port pier (mole Jean Réveil) or coast. The Patrol craft "Grebe" which will be berthed on the quay in the port of Saint-Tropez will be open to the public Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 from 10am until noon and from 2pm until 6pm. For reasons of safety visitors are requested to not to enter with bags nor luggage. The French Navy will also accomodate the public with a minibus, information about which will be on the notice board Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
A full list of competitors is available on the event website at the address below.