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How is Cap Martinique organized?

The organizers of Cap Martinique presented it at a press conference on Tuesday in Paris. The opportunity for Tip & Shaft to be interested in this new 100% amateur deckchair which will start on May 1.

After the Transquadra, the last edition of which ended at the end of February, the IRC specialists are holding their new transatlantic race: the Cap Martinique. The first should have left on April 18, 2021, Covid obliges, it has been postponed for a year and will start on May 1 at 3 p.m. from La Trinité-sur-Mer to Fort-de-France (3,800 miles).

A race whose idea germinated a bit by chance during the Spi Ouest-France 2019: “At the time, the Transat AG2R had considered welcoming amateurs in IRC, it was not done in the endsays Thibaut Derville, co-organizer with Jean-Philippe Cau. We raced the Spi in double with Jean-Philippe, several amateurs then came to us to ask us to organize a non-stop transatlantic. We had never done that, but it had been on my mind for a while, so on a whim, on Friday night, we decided to go for it.

The two men are no strangers to the world of sailing: Jean-Philippe Cau was then president of the UNCL – he now chairs Lorient Grand Large -, Thibaut Derville is managing director of Norauto International, which 2015 to 2019, accompanied Franck Cammas, first on the America’s Cup, then on the GC32 Racing Tour. They then created a company, TransatIRC SAS, “for the accounts to be audited”, emphasizes Thibaut Derville. While deciding to rely on UNCL as organizing authority around simple principles: a non-stop transatlantic race, 100% amateur, solo or double-handed, on 30 to 40-foot monohulls gauged in IRC.

La Trinité-sur-Mer,
“Mecca for lovers”

It remains to find ports of arrival and departure, and therefore partners. “We were very impressed by the way Martinique hosted the Martinique Flying Regatta in 2018, so we called them very quickly. We immediately had an informal “yes” from the Martinican tourism committee, and two months later, they voted unanimously in favor of hosting the race! says Thibaut Derville. For the departure, we made a call for applications from the ports of southern Brittany, Douarnenez had presented a good file, Lorient too, but then had trouble aligning itself between the clubs, the town hall and the port, we chose La Trinité, because it is the port for amateurs par excellence, the capital of amateurs in Brittany.”

“Amazingly, this is the first time that a transat will leave from La Trinité-sur-Mer, adds the mayor of La Trinité-sur-Mer, Yves Normand. Cap Martinique is for us an event that we liked because it brings together amateurs who are, in my opinion, a population on which we must bet a lot for the future of boating.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, Martinique therefore joined from the outset, especially since the community, which at the time had not yet imagined being the destination of the Transat Jacques Vabre, was precisely seeking to host a second transatlantic race. , in addition to the Transquadra. “It is very important for Martinique to position itself as a land of boating and to settle on the podium of the world destinations welcoming such deckchairssays François Baltus Languedoc, general manager of the Martinican tourism committee, “armed arm”in his own words, of the Territorial Collectivity of Martinique.

Martinique puts the means

Since then, the Caribbean island has succeeded, still according to the boss of Martinican tourism, “a hold up”, by seizing the opportunity to organize the arrival of the Transat Jacques Vabre (2021, 2023, with an option for 2025), which now allows him to receive three transats. And when asked if the territory has other projects, the interested party nods: We are starting to take an interest in the many very high-end races, rather Anglo-Saxon, welcomed by other territories around us. We also have this ambition to host this kind of event, we have all the infrastructure and we are showing that we have the expertise to host them.

I have to say that Martinique is providing the means : François Baltus Languedoc thus announces a contribution of 600,000 euros in cash and 50,000 in kind” to the organization of Cap Martinique, whose total budget, according to Thibaut Derville, isone million Euros. “It is substantial, recognizes the director general of the Martinican tourism committee, but it seemed important to us for the reputation of Martinique when we are in a year of reconquest of tourism. Cap Martinique will bring us media visibility, but also direct economic benefits : we have already sold more than 180 packages [avion/hôtel] to the families of the participants who will stay an average of 10 days on site.”

Mico Bolo, the hyphen

Participants who are, for this first, the number of 65, 15 solos and 25 duets. “When we started the race, we said to ourselves that if we had 25 boats, we would be super happy, we have 40”welcomes the organizer. Eight sailors also follow this transat after the Transquadra, arriving at the same place in February. Is Cap Martinique becoming a competitor? “Many see us as competitors, but in fact, we are complementary, replies Thibaut Derville. First, we are non-stop, then, we have no age limit, so we welcome a lot of young people [dont son propre fils Victor, NDLR]and for proof that we are not competitors, Mico Bolo officiates on both races!

Indeed, the historic organizer of the Transquadra is in charge of the race management of Cap Martinique. He also speaks of complementarity: “UNCL needed someone who knew a bit about music and this kind of boat, it was out of the question for me to yell at the competition, he explains. The Transquadra is a slightly more family-friendly event in the sense that the dates correspond to the holidays to bring families on arrival. Cap Martinique is more committed, it’s really an endurance race, a Paris-Dakar, we see that some skippers who have done the Transquadra several times see it as an opportunity to take up the challenge of crossing without stopping. And the fact that both races are relatively full proves that there is not really competition.”

Photo: Alain Roupie

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