The race fleet are in position © Alexis Courcoux/Transat Paprec
The Transat Paprec pre-race festivities open in Concarneau
Ahead of the race start scheduled for Sunday 30th April at 1302hrs local time, the Transat Paprec race village was officially opened to the public this Friday evening in Concarneau. The opening showcased the 11 pairs of 'mixed-doubles' male-female teams who will compete on this Figaro Beneteau 3 race 3890 nautical miles from Concarneau across the Atlantic to Saint Barth's.
The inauguration was attended by all the institutional and private partners which are supporting the 16th edition of a famous Transatlantic race as it transitions to mixed gender crews for the first time.
The extensive race village is on the Quai Carnot opposite the Ville Close where the boats will be at the centre of festivities until the race starts one week on Sunday. The free-of-charge race village celebrates watersports in the region and celebrates diversity and inclusion.
And as if to offer a perfect welcome to crews, organisers and visitors the spring sunshine shone. In attendance were Joseph Bizard, General Manager OC Sport Pen Duick; Sébastien Petithuguenin, Managing Director of Paprec; Pierre Pouliquen, Vice-President Youth, equal rights, sports and community life of Brittany Region; Marc Bigot, Mayor of Concarneau; Jean-François Garrec, President of the Western Brittany Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIMBO) and Olivier Bellec, President of Concarneau Cornouaille Agglomeration (CCA).
After the traditional ribbon cutting at 6:00 p.m., all the private and institutional partners of the race and their guests visited the pontoons and strolled around the displays and stands in the race village.
Concarneau, an area historically involved in offshore racing
The City of Concarneau has hosted this Transatlantic race every two years since 2006 and does so again, embracing the change of format. The pretty waterfront is an ideal spot for visitors to take their time seeing the fleet and enjoying the village ahead of next weekend's start of the course to the Caribbean via a mark off La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain).
Paprec, the new title Partner of the Transat Paprec, promoting change.....
Committed to sailing for over 20 years the Paprec group joined OC Sport Pen Duick on La Solitaire du Figaro, solo offshore racing's pinnacle annual race last year. Now as Title Partner their objective is to to make this 100% mixed double-handed transatlantic event a real springboard for women who want to go on to race at the highest level.
"For twenty years, we have supported skippers in major races, the most famous being the Vendée Globe. Last year, we took a further step in the world of sailing when our group became the Main Partner of La Solitaire du Figaro. We have developed this historic transatlantic race into a new format, in mixed doubles, the Transat Paprec raced on the same boats as before, the Figaro 3", explains Sébastien Petithuguenin, Managing Director of recycling giants Paprec,
"We have a pioneering mindset in our fundamental DNA. 30 years before just about everyone else we saw the importance of recycling. So too early on we recognised the importance of women having a full, equal place in the company. We have put systems in place to promote diversity and equal opportunity so that each woman can progress to their full potential within the company. We have also put in place systems to allow women with high potential to access management positions. What is done within the company can be transposed into sport. One thing is clear: in offshore racing events, at the highest level, women are under-represented. A glass ceiling exists for women where there is still some difficulty getting into the Figaro, Class40 or Imoca circuits. So what can be done to give them the place they deserve? We thought that by co-creating a mixed event, we could inspire women who maybe had previously said "it's not for me". The Transat Paprec looks to prompt a real change in the perception in the place of women in the broadest sense. And we want to convey this message in ocean racing, which echoes so many of the current issues of our society. We want this race will be a long-term initiative, giving the format time to prove itself, to convince racers and sponsors."
They said :
Thibault PETITHUGUENIN, Head of International Communication, Sports Sponsorship and Sponsorship at Paprec:
"We are very happy to be here in Concarneau for the inauguration of the village of this first Transat Paprec. We especially thank the elected officials of the city and all the partners for making this edition possible. This mixed format is unprecedented. This race contributes to making the ideas of equality happen. Men and women of conviction were needed to lead this project. Thank you to them. And that this race starts from Concarneau also makes a lot of sense for the Petithuguenin family because we have a very strong personal attachment to the sea and to Brittany. This area is exemplary and innovative in terms of waste management, as is the island of Saint Barthélemy, the finish port of the race, and we are very proud to have set up many of our recycling and waste recovery plants there and in green energy.
Pierre Pouliquen, Vice-president Youth, equal rights, sports and community life of the Brittany Region:
"The Brittany Region is proud to support the first 100% mixed double-handed transatlantic race. Gender equality in ocean racing is important and the Region took up this issue in 2019 by creating "Océane", the first professional system in the discipline to offer support exclusively dedicated to women to reach the top of their sport and inspire a generation of young sailors. Beyond its support for OC Sport Pen Duick, the Region participates in the race with the two Brittany-CMB Region boats: "Performance" by Gaston Morvan / Anne-Claire Le Berre and "Océane" by Chloé Le Bars / Hugo Dhallenne ."
Édouard Coudurier, President of Groupe Télégramme:
"A wind of diversity and modernity blew on the Figaro circuit thanks to the impetus of its Title Partner Paprec, and our subsidiary OC Sport Pen Duick, organizer of the race. Since 2006 that the Telegram Group has owned the double-handed transatlantic race and we have seen it evolve, innovate and ensure it remains relevant and current."
Jean-Bernard Le Boucher, president of the Figaro Beneteau Class:
"On April 30, 22 sailors from the Figaro Beneteau Class will cross the starting line of the Transat Paprec. An exceptional adventure awaits them with, for the first time, exclusively mixed crews. A first in the history of the Class, also a first in offshore racing. The Figaro Beneteau 3 was designed to cross the Atlantic, it is reliable, fast and we know that the crews will fight until the last miles, in Gustavia, to win this event included in the 2023 French Elite Offshore Racing Championship. Good wind to all!"