World class sailors set sail in Seychelles Regatta


18-May-2009

Vice-President Joseph Belmont joined the invitees, representatives of sponsors and sailors for the event’s official opening on Saturday night at the Wharf Hotel & Marina.

Speaking at the ceremony, Seychelles Tourism Board director for tourism marketing Alain St Ange said that because of the calibre of the sailors taking part, the organisers are anticipating 10 glorious days of keen competition which will also take in some of the most glorious land and sea-scapes that the Seychelles archipelago has to offer.

The organisers, sponsors, sailors and journalists at the press conference

“The Seychelles Regatta plays an important role in showcasing not only sailing in Seychelles, but also other components of a destination that has so very much to offer: stunning natural beauty, awesome levels of diversity, the genuinely friendly Seychellois people and an enviably unprocessed island-style way of life which has such a recalibrating and rejuvenating effect on the soul,” he said.

He told the sailors that he hopes the many wonders they will meet and experience will impress them enough to come back and compete once more so that the Seychelles Regatta go from strength to strength in the coming years – and also so that they may each become ambassadors for the Seychelles experience and make its name resonate far and wide.

Mr St Ange thanked all the sponsors and the organising team for making the competition all that it can be.

Five of the world’s most prominent sailors taking part in the country’s first semi-professional sailing competition are Michel Desjoyeaux (two-time Vendée Globe winner in 2001 and 2008-2009, Armel Le Cléac’h (second in the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe, and first in the Solitaire Figaro), Romain Attanasio (a Figaro class skipper), Sam Davies (fourth in the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe) and Dee Caffari (the first woman to sail non-stop both ways round the globe, and sixth in the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe).

During the regatta, the contestants will sail the waters of the inner islands – Silhouette, Praslin, Curieuse and La Digue – and take part in a deep-sea fishing competition in some of the best fishing spots.

The event has been organised by Blue Oceans Events based in Brussels, Belgium, which has been set up by three partners – Benoît le Grelle, Olivier le Grelle and Régis Elhaouel.

The other main partners involved in running the Seychelles Regatta are Eden Island, the STB, Air Seychelles and Nicolas Feuillatte champagne.
 
The names of the 11 boats are Nicolas Feuillate, Keneos Aubriet, CPR, Rome team, Lady Anya, Chagneau, C-Team, Air Seychelles, Tera Cognita, Eden Island and Press Boat.

In a press conference at the Eden Island, on Saturday afternoon, to kick off the competition, Mr St Ange said that sailing is one of Seychelles’ ‘atouts’ and needs to be developed fully.

“The Seychelles Regatta is a step forward from the Seychelles Sailing Cup. The STB is working closely with the organisers and all other partners to ensure the continuity of the event,” he said.

Also present at the press conference were Eden Island chief executive Craig Heeger, Régis Elhaouel of Blue Oceans Events, race committee head Alain Comyn and Seychelles Yachting Association chairman Alain Alcindor.

The Seychelles Sailing Cup was organised here in 2006, 2007 and 2008 by the Belgium-based Briefing Organisation.

Led by Philippe de Baets, Seychelles Honorary Consul in Belgium, the crew of American Express took the top prize at the end of the week-long sea escapade in 2006.

With an all-Seychellois crew comprising skipper Danny Gertrude, Frank Jean, Eston Dubel, Kenny Constance, Paul Michel, Joel Fred, Versange Joubert and Nelson Hoareau, Drive (translated into English as ‘drifting’) chartered its way well to accumulate 26 points – 19 in racing and 7 in fishing – and won races number 2, 3, and 5, to win the second Seychelles Cup.

In 2008, French helmsman Sébastien Col guided his Sunsail Pirates team of Seychellois and French sailors to victory in the multi-hull class to succeed Drivé as champions.

G. G.

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