With less than a fortnight to the start of the Calais Round Britain Race, the list of participants is in the process of being finalized and the crews practically formed. Alongside Jean Pierre DICK (FRA) on Virbac Paprec, Mike GOLDING (GBR) on Ecover, Roland JOURDAIN (FRA) on Sill et Veolia, Jean LE CAM (FRA) on Bonduelle, Emma RICHARDS (GBR) on Pindar Alphagraphics and Bernard STAMM (SUI) on Cheminées Poujoulat, a seventh competitor now enriches the list of participants. Young architect Jean Baptiste DEJEANTY (FRA) is just starting out in the Open 60 footer class aboard a custom-built boat, Caen La Mer, that is designed in part by his own hands.
As in 2003, the boats in the Calais Round Britain Race will be raced with five crew members. To compose their crew, the skippers have called upon the services of some top quality sailors. Figaro sailors, round the world mariners, high-speed record men, ocean-racing specialists and former America's Cup sailors will all battle it out for victory aboard the Open 60 footers. Another key ingredient of each crew is the indispensable technician, recruited not only for their sailing prowess but also their expertise in the event of damage. Amongst the participating Figaro sailors are, Nicolas BÉRANGER (FRA), Erwan TABARLY (FRA) bothon Virbac Paprec, Kito DE PAVANT (FRA) on Bonduelle and the joint holder of the Jules Vernes Trophy, Yann ELIÈS (FRA) on Cheminées Poujoulat. Other crew members from the maxi catamaran Orange II will also be at the start in Calais: Ronan LE GOFF (FRA) on Sill & Veolia and Nicolas DE CASTRO (FRA) on Cheminées Poujoulat.
RICHARDS has the most international crew of all for the time being as she has three different nationalities onboard (French, English and Australian). She also has the youngest crew, with an average age of 28, and probably the most 'colourful' in terms of experience. RICHARDS will be joining forces with Sébastien JOSSE (FRA), fifth in the Vendée Globe and future skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race, British sailor Simon FISHER (former America's Cup sailor on GBR Challenge, and crew on Playstation and Maiden II and the future Volvo), and also the young Australian Nick BICE (America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race). Jean Luc NÉLIAS (FRA) is another sailor of renown who has spiced up the 60' multihull circuit for a number of years. He will be sailing in the company of JOURDAIN this time around.
The programme for the race begins on the 15 May with four days given over for the arrival of the boats in Calais. 19 May is for the opening press conference, with the following two days given over to exhibition races and then the start on Sunday 22 May.
Skipper of Sill et Veolia, JOURDAIN said, 'It's a superb course which unites tactics and strategy, contact racing with elements of ocean-racing. It's the only race that goes as far north as we go south in the Vendée Globe. Around Ireland and the Scottish highlands and islands including Shetland, the light and the scenery are fabulous.'
According to Caen La Mer skipper DEJEANTY, 'For those of us who are coming onto the 60 foot circuit for the first time, it's the ideal race to start off with. We'll be able to test the boat in crewed formation whilst in contact with the top 60 footers. We're a bit behind with our preparation, but we're really motivated.'
Philippe FACQUE, organizer of the Calais Round Britain Race said, 'We have the best possible line up, the quality of the competition is high. This course is great. To write a good story, you need the competitors and a fine course.'