Cap Istanbul: New format but the same mindset
Thirty competitors including two women and two overseas entries, five stages and a 1,660 mile course, such is the scenario of this 3rd edition of the Cap Istanbul.
The race will stretch from Nice in the Alpes Maritimes region of France to Istanbul in Turkey via Cagliari in Sardinia, Marzamemi in Sicily, Aghios Nikolaos in Crete and finally Bozcaada in Turkey.
It's a colourful course for the only west to east Trans-Mediterranean race, the start of which will be given on 14 September with the French Singlehanded Ocean Racing Championship title also up for grabs.
Therefore there will be 30 sailors at the start of this Trans-Mediterranean which has already made a name for itself as a fully fledged event in the Figaro circuit. All the top names in the series will be present, starting with the two winners of the 2007 edition, Thierry Chabagny and Nicolas B?renger.
However, this time around, the two sailors will be opponents since, for the very first time, the Cap Istanbul will be raced single-handed. A modification of this scale will require a few adaptations in order to retain the charm of the event: a demanding navigation in a unique environment associated with a real group spirit.
Some more vigorous stages:
Solo navigation means that the stages of this third edition will be more numerous and shorter with several gates defined in advance to enable race management to adapt the course according to the weather situation.
Nice - Cagliari, 370 miles:the first of five stages is mildly reminiscent of that in 2007 and yet in setting off from Nice and not Marseilles, the competitors won't be in the same weather systems. The ocean navigation under the influence of the Golfe du Lion will be transformed into a journey along the coastline of Corsica and Sardinia, where the effects of land are likely to come into play. Finally, the stopover in Cagliari in Sardinia is highly original.
Cagliari - Marzamemi, 340 miles:a return to Sicily, but this time along the east coast with a stopover in Marzamemi. It is a sumptuous setting synonymous with a difficult finish to the south of the Messina Strait where the winds are often fickle.
Marzamemi - Aghios-Nikolaos, 540 miles:the longest stage in the event and one which is predominantly an ocean passage. This too is an original destination since the race will make a stopover in the modern, welcoming port of Crete, which is already preparing festivities to celebrate with the sailors participating in the Cap Istanbul.
Aghios-Nikolaos - Bozcaada, 300 miles:one of the shortest legs and yet a number of the sailors consider it to be the queen stage of the race. A climb up the Aegean Sea against the often powerful prevailing winds, this will be a free course at the heart of a maze of islands scattered about the Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey. To end there will be a magical finish at the little island of Bozcaada, a haven of peace en route to Istanbul.
Bozcaada - Istanbul, 110 miles:a final course to take the competitors to the shores of the Bosphorus. Though it is a very short stage, it could still have its share of surprises in store.
A course adapted to solo navigation, a reinforced fleet of support boats, the associating of the event's pr?parateurs, such are the three key points on which race director Christian Gout has concentrated on.
The courses: we've seen to it that the stages are shorter so as to envisage a number of gates in the event of a possible reduction, modification or neutralisation of the event.
The support fleet: four support boats are set to accompany competitors, aboard which the race management and media teams will embark along with the referees and the pr?parateurs. The aim is to be ready to intervene as quickly as possible if need be.
The associated pr?parateurs: they'll experience the race from the inside since they'll be divided up between the support boats. Their role will also be to help the general safety of the event, to work with the race management on good terms, and serve as relays of information and action plans.
A major fleet
For this 2008 edition, all the top names from the Figaro circuit will be there. Whether it be Nicolas Troussel, recent winner of the Solitaire du Figaro, Gildas Morvan heading the French Solo Championship, current holder of second place in the Championship Fr?d?ric Duthil, or the usual driving forces of the series such as Jean-Paul Mouren from Marseilles or Laurent Pellecuer from Montpellier who would each dearly love to score the double after their victory in the Transat AG2R.
The only significant absence is Pietro d'Ali, who due to suffering from ocular problems, had already failed to complete the Solitaire du Figaro and has now withdrawn from this event. Winner in 2006 with Kito de Pavant, Pietro will be sorely missed. The finest way that the other solo sailors can pay homage to him will be to do battle for victory with all guns blazing. One thing for sure is that that's exactly what they intend to do.
List of participants:
1. ATTANASIO Romain DCNS 62
2. BERENGER Nicolas KONE ASCENSEURS
3. BOUVET Christophe SIRMA
4. CHABAGNY Thierry SUZUKI AUTOMOBILES
5. DROUGLAZET Eric LUISINA
6. DUTHIL Fr?d?ric DISTINXION AUTOMOBILES
7. EMIG Marc NC
8. GABART Fran?ois ESPOIR REGION BRETAGNE
9. GIROLET Mathieu NC
10. GODART-PHILIPE Arnaud SENOBLE
11. GREGOIRE Jeanne BANQUE POPULAIRE
12. HARDY Adrien AGIR RECOUVREMENT
13. JOSCHKE Isabelle SYNERGIE
14. MAHE Gildas LE COMPTOIR IMMOBILIER
15. MEILHAT Paul C.G.VAL DE MARNE, VILLE DE CRETEIL
16. MONNET Jean-Charles DEGREMONT SUEZ Source de Talents
17. MORVAN Gildas CERCLE VERT
18. MOUREN Jean-Paul M@RSEILLENTREPRISE
19. NAGY Robert THEOLIA
20. DA CRUZ Antonio-Pedro BAIKO
21. PELLECUER Laurent DOCTEUR VALNET AROMATHERAPIE
22. PERON Eric L'ESPRIT D'EQUIPE
23. PRATT Christopher DCNS 97
24. ROUXEL Thomas DEFI MOUSQUETAIRES
25. TABARLY Erwan ATHEMA
26. TANNYERES Louis-Maurice NANNI DIESEL
27. TREUSSART Ronan GROUPE CELEOS
28. TRIPON Armel GEDIMAT
29. TROUSSEL Nicolas FINANCO
30. VENIARD G?rald MACIF
by Kate Jennings