The first edition of the Nice Ultimed reserved for maxi-multihulls will begin on Wednesday 2nd May at two minutes past one off the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. After agreat week of festivities and the prologue, the giants will be entering the big arena tomorrow for this new race around the Mediterranean islands – Balearics, Sardinia and Corsica, or in other words a course lasting 950 miles on paper that the the maxi-trimarans will complete twice. Francis Joyon has brought along his successful crew of six. Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet, Quentin Ponroy, Sébastien Picault and Antoine Blouet will like their skipper be discovering all these miles in the capricious Med.
“Coming from Brittany, we can expect to find all sorts of conditions here in this Nice Ultimed,” joked Francis Joyon. “We’ll be sailing close to Majorca, Minorca the tips of Sardinia and Corsica, where a lot can happen with wind shadows and headlands. We are expecting to do a lot of manoeuvres, as we will probably have to reduce the sail as we approach the rounding marks then hoist the sail again to head off to sea.” The weather which was fine for the prologue in Nice will be much stronger tomorrow. “The Tramontane wind is blowing in the Gulf of Lion,” explained Gwénolé Gahinet, “And we are expecting strong winds, 30 to 35 knots and heavy seas in the first part of the race towards Minorca. It is going to be very fast passing Marseille with a long starboard tack downwind. Ideal conditions to test the new foils.”
The crew of IDEC SPORT will be back into the rhythm of their Jules Verne Trophy. “We are setting up once again the same watch system with the crew of five, Francis being outside of this schedule, with three hours of rest, an hour and a half on stand-by and three hours out on deck,” added Gwéno.
The maxi-trimarans, IDEC SPORT, Sodebo Ultim’ and Actual-Grand Large Emotion will set sail on Wednesday 2nd May for two 950 mile loops via Corsica, Sardinia, the Balearics and the coast of Southern France. The second loop may be shortened to one of these key points so that they complete the race on Saturday afternoon (5th May).