01-12-2022 - News
On 30 April - in just 150 days - La Transat Paprec 2023 will officially kick off from Concarneau in Brittany, France, setting sail for Saint-Barthélemy, the ‘pearl of the Caribbean’. Around 15 boats are expected to be on the start line including Transat Paprec rookie, Piers Copham (Voiles des Anges – GBR).
Entries are still open for this unique offshore race – formally the Transat AG2R - that not only attracts professional skippers but amateur racers and young talents in the making who can race on equal terms on the Figaro Bénéteau 3.
The transatlantic race on the Figaro circuit has been running for more than 30 years and within that time has crowned some of the greatest offshore sailors such as Thomas Ruyant, recent winner of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe in the IMOCA class.
Taking place every two years, the winners of the 2021 edition, Nils Palmieri and Julien Villion, set the double-handed transat race record of 18 days, 05 hours 08 minutes and 03 seconds. Palmieri testifies, “The race is difficult, it is the only Transat on which everyone has the same boat. The Figaro Bénéteau 3 gets very wet, it makes noise. On this boat, double-handed, you never put the autopilot on.”
This next edition will mark the first ever transatlantic race for mixed male/female double-handed crews. The landmark move to a mixed racing format comes as part of a joint commitment to increase the participation and opportunities for female skippers from organisers, OC Sport Pen Duick, Title Partner, Paprec and the Figaro class.
Piers Copham is the first British sailor to announce his entry. For his first ever edition of the race, Copham has joined forces with Voiles des Anges, an association that offers a support network for families who have prematurely lost children. The 60-year-old Briton joined the Figaro circuit last season and will announce his co-skipper closer to the race.
Past racing credentials include the Solitaire du Figaro, winning the UK’s multi-sport endurance Three Peaks Yacht Race and the Fastnet. His long-term goal is to be on the start-line of the Vendée Globe in 2028 and he considers La Transat Paprec “the most iconic sailing challenge you can do, short of racing around the world.”
He said, “La Transat Paprec is very much a step up from all my previous challenges. I’ve been three quarters of the way across the Atlantic on a 40-foot boat and been across the Atlantic in my Mini. This is very much the next pursuit.”
Copham is complimentary of his Figaro competitors, “I really enjoy the camaraderie [of the fleet]. There are many brilliant sailors. The mentality is incredibly collaborative off the water. I’ve gained a real insight into what developing at this highest level is all about. It’s been such a huge pleasure to be racing in this fleet.”
The Notice of Race is available, here.
For more information, visit www.transatpaprec.com/en.