Pro Sailing Tour 2023 off to a flying start across the Med

Pro Sailing Tour 2023 off to a flying start across the Med

Image: ©️Vincent Olivaud / Ocean Fifty / Pro Sailing Tour 2023

The 2023 edition of the Pro Sailing Tour got off to a flying start today as a quintet of high-performance foiling trimarans were launched from La Seyne-sur-Mer in southeastern France on what promised to be a frenetic first leg across the Mediterranean to Bonifacio in Corsica.

After three days of festivities and public celebrations, the fleet was sent on its way by French double Giant Slalom world champion Tessa Worley.

The start marked the beginning of three weeks of high-intensity competition which will take the five experienced race teams on to Alghero in Sardinia following the Bonifacio leg, and then on the long 'Final Rush' of around 2,000 miles through the western Mediterranean and the Gibraltar Straits, and across the Bay of Biscay to the finish at Brest in Brittany.

Each of the race teams will be aiming to follow in the victorious wakes of 2021 Pro Sailing Tour winner Britain's Sam Goodchild, and last year's table topper Quentin Vlamynck, the French skipper the youngest ever in the Ocean Fifty trimaran class.

Leading the charge are likely to be two great regulars of the multihull and Ocean Fifty class, Erwan Le Roux on Koesio and Thibaut Vauchel-Camus racing Solidaires En Peloton - ARSEP.  Neither of the two French skippers hide their ambition to put their name in the headlines of the 2023 Pro Sailing Tours.

"The idea is to leave nothing to the others, the objective is clearly to win this third edition," said Le Roux, a double winner of the Route du Rhum.

To achieve that either of the experienced duo will have to overcome not only each other, but also the challenge presented by a trio of talented newcomers - the French-Australian Class 40 ace Luke Berry racing Le Rire Médecin-Lamotte, Solitaire du Figaro 2021 winner Pierre Quiroga on Viabilis Océans, and IMOCA racer Christopher Pratt aboard Wind of Trust.

"We're looking forward to competing on this exciting course, we're going to see a lot of the country and we're going to sail in conditions that could be very uncertain at times," said Berry, who will be racing with multihull specialist Antoine Joubert among his crew.

"Between the old hands of the circuit, Erwan Le Roux and Thibaut Vauchel-Camus, and the newcomers, of which I am one, there will be plenty of experience to be gained and why not, to position ourselves in the best possible way tactically! "

Other high-profile crew include French Olympic sailor Audrey Ogereau and America's Cup racer Devan Le Bihan, who will be on board Koesio with Le Roux, while Vauchel-Camus will be joined by the current Pro Sailing Tour champion Vlamynck, and Spanish Figaro star Pep Costa.

"It's great to see so many quality projects," said Vauchel-Camus. "The course is new and full of originality, so there will be sport and discovery."

The fleet is expected in Bonifacio on the morning of Sunday 14 May, with an inshore coastal race on May 16 before the restart to Sardinia at 2pm on May 17.

The 'Final Rush' to Brest will start from Alghero at 11am on May 21.

Koesio (Erwan Le Roux)
Architect: VPLP, constructeur : Persico (Italie)
Boat launched: Octobrer 2020

Solidaires en Peloton – ARSEP (Thibault Vauchel-Camus)
Architect: VPLP, constructeur : Enata (Dubaï)
Boat launched: January 2018

Viabilis Océans (Pierre Quiroga)
Architect: VPLP, constructeur : CDK
Boat launched: September 2017
Previously: Leyton (Sam Goodchild), Ciela Village (Thierry Bouchard)

Wind of Trust (Christopher Pratt)
Architect: VPLP, constructeur : CDK
Boat launched: 2009
Previously: Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires (Gilles Lamiré), FenêtréA Mix Buffet (Erwan Le Roux), FenêtréA Cardinal (Erwan Le Roux), Crêpes Whaou 3 (Franck-Yves Escoffier)

Le Rire Médecin – Lamotte Immobilier (Luke Berry)
Architect: Guillaume Verdier, constructeur : JPS Chantier Larros
Boat launched: 2009
Previously: Primonial (Sébastien Rogues), Réauté Chocolat (Armel Tripon), Actual (Yves Le Blevec).

12 May La Seyne Sur Mer, France - Bonifacio, Corsica
14 May: ETA Bonifacio, Corsica
17 May: Bonifacio (Corsica) - Alghero, Sardinia (including a around Corsica)
18 May: ETA Alghero
21 May: Start of the Final Rush - Alghero to Brest