So this will even out the playing field, as it may be the more reliable, older boats that prevail in these conditions, just as Giovanni SOLDINI (ITA) and Vittorio MALINGRI (ITA) did two years ago on TIM Projetto Italia before they unfortunately suffered a structural problem. This time round, the Italians may again prove to be more solid in these conditions. Another trimaran likely to come to the fore in the strong Autumn breeze is Gitana X, skippered by Thierry DUPREY (FRA) and Erwan LE ROUX (FRA).
Three of the multihulls have not been racing the ORMA circuit this season. Brossard is the ex-Sergio Tacchini, a proven boat which came third in the 2003 Transat Jacques Vabre, now being skippered by the talented Yvan BOURGNON (SUI), previous winner in 1997 on his fourth TJV. He has teamed up with 2004 Solo Figaro winner, Charles CAUDRELIER (FRA), who has spent the season on sistership Banque Populaire.
No resting on laurels for Thomas COVILLE (FRA), who abandoned the Grand Prix circuit to chase records all over the Atlantic this year. He has destroyed the solo Cadix to San Salvador and Miami to New York records. His partnership with Jacques Vincent is one of the longest running in offshore racing and this duo will have no problem tackling the heavy conditions that face them at the start. Lastly, the other trimaran which has not raced against the rest of the fleet this year is Orange Project, skippered by Swiss brothers' Steve and Yvan RAVUSSIN. They know the boat like the back of their hand, as Steve has recently won the Nokia Oops Cup in Scandinavia on her.
Out of the other five multihulls in the line up, Groupama-2 is the only new boat in the fleet, which has yet to cross an ocean. However the infamous duo aboard are already twice winners of the Transat Jacques Vabre and have sailed 'hand in glove' with each other for four seasons: Franck CAMMAS (FRA) and Franck PROFFIT (FRA). This will be some baptism of fire for them, nonetheless.
Banque Populaire is currently the leading boat in the provisional ORMA Championship rankings. Pascal BIDEGORRY (FRA) has rapidly dominated the circuit, and is joined by Lionel LEMONCHOIS (FRA) for this Transat. Another all rounder of a boat is Foncia, which has come through the ranks this season. Her skipper, Armel LE CLÉAC'H (FRA), has teamed up with Irish talent Damian FOXALL, and already have the measure of their boat in various conditions.
Transat 2004 winner, Michel DESJOYEAUX (FRA) on Géant, will have his heart set on the podium, which he did not achieve two years ago. Teamed up with Hugues DESTREMAU (FRA), a seasoned racer, DESJOYEAUX has in his hands a boat which has been well campaigned on the inshore circuit and is also a solid performer for the offshore races. Lastly, Gitana 11, ex-Belgacom which came second in 2003, is a perfectly optimized boat for ocean racing. In the hands of two ex-Olympic sailors, Frédéric LE PEUTREC (FRA) and Yann GUICHARD (FRA), who know each other and the race course well, the boat could show some surprising form.