84 boats are entered, 25 prototypes and 59 production boats. A dozen nationalities are represented. And only 11 women are in the starting blocks this year for this demanding race. The Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy is raced over 220 nautical miles along the south coast of Brittany, and you have to manage the little sleep you have, as well as your diet and hydration. It’s like a thirty-hour sprint.
From L to R: Annabelle Moreau, race director, Chantal Delangle Müller, volunteer coordinator and Laurent Balliet, Winches Club base manager.
This Wednesday, 15 volunteers (including around 10 from the Optimiste 29 association) are finalising the safety checks under the guidance of coordinator Chantal Delangle Müller, who has been in the job for 15 years. The inspectors check all the compulsory safety equipment aboard the boat before setting off on the race. There are around thirty checks to be carried out every day. And according to Chantal, everything’s going very well.
This week, Annabelle Moreau becomes the 2nd female director of an ocean race in France after Sylvie Vian, after twenty years as assistant director.
What’s her role?
Before the race:
– Validate the documents and race instructions with the race committee
– Apply for authorisations from the state authorities with the organiser (in this case the Winches Club)
-Deal with the safety issues inherent in the event
During the race:
Ensure safety on the water.
Race management is not about managing the sporting aspect of the event, which is the responsibility of the FFV referees.
Its mission is to ensure that the boats are safe and that everything runs smoothly on the water, and to work with the accompanying boats and, if necessary, the CROSS to deal with any incidents that may arise, in the hope, of course, that they don’t!
How’s the 19th Marie Agnès Péron Trophy shaping up?
“Rather sporty and fast, the weather conditions should be passable but rather rough. We’re expecting a steady north-easterly wind of 20-25 knots with gusts.
It’s going to be a fast race, perhaps even close to a record, with the routing predicting the first arrivals 24 hours after the start, i.e. around midday on Friday.In this year of mini-transatlantic races, there are a lot of new skippers and the fleet is fairly heterogeneous. That makes it a bit tricky to create the courses, because you have to think about the frontrunners as well as, and above all, the backrunners, the crossings, the zones and the weather. We mustn’t forget the backrunners.”
Gender diversity seems to be the big theme for the Mini class in 2023. What’s your opinion on this issue?
“Co-education is an important theme. There’s no denying that women are undervalued and disadvantaged. Positive discrimination is a bit embarrassing for me, as I’m in favour of equality, but I think that an obligation is needed to get things into the mainstream. I’d rather be recognised for my skills than for my gender, obviously.
Laurence Balliet, aka “Lolo”, has been base manager of the Winches Club since November 2022. She’s no stranger to the Mini, having done a number of escorts and lined up at the start of the PLM earlier this year. “The weather was fine and the volunteers put in a lot of hard work, but there was a lot of support” is how she sums up this first race organisation in Douarnenez. “I’m trying to coordinate all the great energies as best I can and to take care of as many people as possible so that they themselves have as much energy as possible to take care of the Mini skippers. The Winches Club is very committed to sailing for all and this has a strong link with the Mini class, which is a gateway to ocean racing for all.”
Tonight’s weather briefing takes place at 18:00.
The start of the race is scheduled for tomorrow at 13:00.
Traduit par www.abitrad.fr