Image: © Jacques Vapillon
With just two weeks to go to the start of the Pro Sailing Tour season 2 (12 May-10 July), one of ocean racing’s most exciting new competitions, a multinational fleet of seven foiling trimarans (the eighth will join in Brest) and 50 of the best offshore sailors will soon be converging on Bonifacio in Corsica for Episode 1 of the 4 Episode season.
An exciting new course, with inshore and offshore competition, will take the show from Corsica to Brittany via Cowes in the south of England. The Pro Sailing Tour 2022 – renowned for its intensity and boat-on-boat battles – is shaping up to be a highly competitive and exciting two-months of hard-fought racing.
“There is a lot of appetite and enthusiasm for the start of this new season,” said Julien Mauriat, CEO of the Pro Sailing Tour and one of the masterminds behind the revealing and highly engaging Ocean Fifty TV series that puts viewers onboard in the thick of the action. Each Ocean 50 has its own dedicated onboard reporter capturing the adventures of each team as they unfold, the resulting footage is raw, inspiring, and entertaining, and is broadcast to fifty channels globally. In France, season 1 will show on Canal+ from May. "While most reports dedicated to sport focus solely on the sporting aspects, the production of the Ocean Fifty series has the particularity of being interested in the human adventure and the raw and spontaneous emotions", explained Julien Mauriat.
Who will challenge Sam Goodchild (GBR) and his mixed team on Leyton?
This year, the Franco-British sailor is still the favourite: the team onboard Leyton has been busy over the winter optimising the multihull, they’ve added a central rudder and a new mast. Two new crew members, Pierre Pennec and Devan Le Bihan, will join the mixed crew that includes Elodie-Jane (Ocean Race with Team SCA and Turn the Tide, Tour de France) and Laurane Mettraux (Match racing, Sailing Arabia-The Tour, Tour de France) as part of the Leyton x Magenta Project programme launched last year.
Leyton is no longer the only mixed crew, Erwan Le Roux (4th last year) has joined forces with Audrey Ogereau and Mathilde Géron onboard Koesio, the crew also includes Yann Eliès. Their objective is to ‘make it onto the podium and win some races this season’.
Quentin Vlamynck | Arkema
The battle for victory will be intense. Quentin Vlamynck (2nd in 2021) was the youngest ever skipper on a 50-foot trimaran and one of the revelations of season 1, coming second behind overall winner, Leyton. He has made some changes to the crew and says he is ‘more motivated than ever’.
Thibaut Vauchel-Camus | Solidaires En Peloton-ARSEP
Thibaut Vauchel-Camus (3rd in 2021) is equally enthusiastic, having set the English Channel solo record at the beginning of April as part of his preparation. He predicts a second season with higher ambitions, although ‘the game will be very open’.
Sébastien Rogues | Primonial
Sébastien Rogues, winner of the last Transat Jacques-Vabre, is ambitious. Having improved the reliability of his multihull, he has recruited Pierre Quiroga (winner of the Solitaire du Figaro 2021) and Mathieu Salomon to his crew.
Gilles Lamiré | Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires
Gilles Lamiré, who describes himself as ‘an offshore sailor rather than a regatta sailor’, has been training in the West Indies, notably by competing in the RORC Caribbean 600, where he finished 3rd. His experience will be valuable this year.
Armel Tripon | Les P'tits Doudous
Armel Tripon, despite a capsize at the beginning of April, is hoping to be ready in time to be on the start line in Brest alongside the seven other multihulls.
Eric Péron| Komilfo
Finally, the Pro Sailing Tour welcomes a new skipper: Eric Péron. With a broad skill set that includes Olympic, monohull and multihull sailing, he will race Komilfo and having just come 2nd in the 1000 miles of Les Sables, will be one of the sailors to watch.
The Pro Sailing Tour looks set to be more competitive than ever!
Thibaut Vauchel-Camus (Solidaires En Peloton-ARSEP): "The motivation and quality of the crews as well as the very open nature of this first season bodes well for a second season with increased ambitions! We will have the opportunity to sail in new venues such as Corsica or the Isle of Wight and to return to some iconic locations for the Ocean Fifty with Brest and the Bay of Saint Brieuc. We're also looking forward to seeing the television coverage of this first season. It was novel to take media men on board with the aim to show the public our sport in an immersive way and to offer beautiful images of sailing and the atmosphere on board!"
Gilles Lamiré (Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires): "I am really enthusiastic about this second season. The Pro Sailing Tour 2022 will take us on a fabulous course from the Mediterranean to the English Channel and will bring together 8 Ocean Fifty multihulls with some great sailors on board. The level of competition is going to be very high. I know that I still have a lot to learn. This new season will be an opportunity to make further progress as well as having the chance to sail a lot in preparation for the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.”
Erwan Le Roux (Koesio): "We're having a great time. The vibe is good, and the potential of the trimaran is great. We're clearly making progress. For this second season, we'll be setting our sights higher. We want to be on the podium and win races. We're going to try to perform as well as possible, to get as many people sailing as possible while contributing to the popularity of our sport.”
THE RACE CALENDAR
#1Bonifacio, Corsica, France 11-15 May
#2 Brest, France 22-26 June
#3 Bay of Saint-Brieuc, France 30 June – 3 July
#4 Cowes 5-6 July
Finish in Roscoff 9-10 July
In 2022, eight foiling multihulls will line up for the Pro Sailing Tour season 2 that takes the multinational fleet from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and finishes in the English Channel. The teams are led by some of the best offshore sailors in the sport: Sam Goodchild, Giles Lamiré, Sébastien Rogues, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus, Erwan Le Roux, Quentin Vlamynck, Armel Tripon and Eric Peron. And the competition consists of a mix of inshore and offshore races constituting an Episode as well as one long final offshore race, the ‘Final Rush’ from Cowes to Roscoff.
The Ocean Fifty (formerly the Multi 50 class) foiling trimarans are as long as they are wide (15.24m x 15m respectively), as agile as they are spectacular and can reach speeds of up to 42 knots (77km/h).
The Pro Sailing Tour for the Ocean Fifty trimarans was launched in 2021 and is the culmination of a determined development process by the teams and stakeholders that began in 2015 when the Class was professionalised and continued in 2017 with the addition of foils. Today, the Tour is going from strength to strength with the objective of making the Pro Sailing Tour a lasting part of the French and international ocean racing landscape.
The inaugural Pro Sailing Tour in 2021, raced by seven teams, lived up to all expectations. The high intensity inshore races and offshore battles were watched by 25,000 spectators, and the historic first season was won by Leyton, skippered by Sam Goodchild (GBR), with four victories, including the final from Toulon to Brest in August.