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Vendee to St.Petersburg starts Sunday

A new race reserved for Multi 50s has been created: the Vendée Saint-Petersburg. The first edition of the race is due to start from Saint Gilles Croix-de-Vie on 16th May with a total distance there and back of 3790 miles. Nine crews will be lining up at the start, including two of the latest racing machines in the class: Actual and Crepes Whaou !

The new race forms part of the celebrations of 2010 France – Russia, aimed at restoring and building  the historic links between Russia and France, and to set up cultural, scientific, economic and sports projects between the two countries.

Below is Franck-Yves Escoffier’s Crepes Whaou – photo courtesy of www.vendee.fr

Vendée- Saint Petersbourg : Les multicoques prêts au départ…

While most races see the competitors heading off to the west to cross the Atlantic, Vendée has come up with a new route for the Multi 50s, (50-foot trimarans), with the Atlantic, the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic ahead of them. In all, the race will cover the territorial waters of 14 countries before they finish in Saint-Petersburg in Russia on around 20th May 2010.

The best boats like Franck-Yves Escoffier’s new Crêpes Whaou ! and Yves le Blevec’s Actual could complete the first stage of the race in less than five days at an average speed of 16 knots. The race will be holding a stopover for around ten days in Russia, before the start of the return leg on 31st May 2010, with the finish forecast in the port of Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie around 4th June 2010.

Sunday 30th May is a date to remember: It marks the anniversary of the founding of Saint-Petersburg by Tsar Peter 1st, and the Multi 50s will carry out a parade on the Neva, under the windows of the famous Hermitage museum.

The other original feature of this race between Vendée/Saint-Petersburg is that it will be raced with a crew of three sailors, and the members of the crew can switch over between the two legs.

Nine Multi 50 crews have signed up for the first edition of the Vendée/Saint-Petersburg. Alongside Yves Le Blevec (Actual) and Franck-Yves Escoffier (Crêpes Whaou !), there will be Hervé Cléris (CLM), Erwan Leroux (Fenêtréa-Cardinal), Anne Caseneuve (Croisières Anne Caseneuve), Etienne Hochédé (PIR2), Philippe Laperche (Gamin), Lalou Roucayrol (Région Aquitaine-Port Médoc) and Loic Fequet (Crepes Whaou’s second boat).

The race is due to take place every four years alternating with the Vendée Globe and is sure to generate great interest amongst sailing enthusiasts and the public alike – there is nothing like watching these extreme sail boats powering across the water at speeds of up to 50 knots. The video comes from Whaou56 and shows their trimaran in action – awesome!

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