Having been cancelled last year, largely because of the effects of Hurricane Irma, the Round Martinique Regatta Crédit Mutuel AG is back once more and from next Friday February 8th, the racing format established in 2016 returns to offer the 29 entries ideal conditions for racing along the shores of Martinique.
Organised by the Yacht Club de Martinique under the direction of its president, Paul CONSTANTIN, together with the support of three yacht clubs and two associations, the Round Martinique Regatta which held the first edition in 1956, is set to be a memorable for all the visiting teams. Many come from neighbouring islands of Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, who are attracted by this smart mix of competition and friendliness. Over the three-day competition, teams across the various classes will have the chance to compete in the inshore races and also test their skills on the longer coastal races, all whilst enjoying the dramatic and breath-taking scenery Martinique offers.
The full programme of activities which run from Friday 8th through to Sunday 10th of February was announced at the opening press conference held in Fort de France today:
Three days of contrasting regattas
"This format of three-day races makes the event more attractive," explains Claude GRANEL, Communications Manager of the Round Martinique Regatta. "The Martinique Yacht Club, in collaboration with Ven Dan Vwèl 972, the Club Nautique le Neptune (CNN), the Club Nautique de Martinique (CNM) and Open The Bar (OTB), has designed an attractive event for both amateur and seasoned professional sailors.
Leg 1: Fort de France
The event starts on Friday in the picturesque bay of Fort de France, considered to be one of the most beautiful bays in the world. The Bay will effectively be transformed into a sailing stadium and host the very technical inshore part of the competition, “the Round Bay” which will run a number of courses between 6 and 12 miles long.
Leg 2: Fort de France – the Marin
Depending on what teams will want to do, there will be the choice of either competing in “The Round Rally” on the Caribbean side of the island or tackling “The Round Raid”, a more demanding and challenging 80-mile course on the Atlantic side.
Leg 3: Marin - Anses d'Arlet
The last stage, “The Round Rock”, gives competitors the chance to sail a lap around the iconic Diamond Rock before a final run to the pretty beach of Anses d'Arlet for a fun lunch.
Surprise, racing but also Class40 and ... Saintoise!
The 29 boats entered for this in this 34th edition is divided into four distinct groups. Surprises, these sporty and so versatile little "day-boat" make up the lion's share of the fleet with 8 entries classed under the one-design fleet. They will compete against a variety of racing boats including the Sun Fast 3200 "Crédit Mutuel" and grouped within the "racing" class. The Racing-Cruising brings together many of the finest Caribbean racing boats. The Round Martinique Regatta will also welcome two Class40s having competed in the last Route du Rhum, and Christophe DEDE’s Saintoise, the fast fishing sailboat typical of the French West Indies.
Three days of celebrating sailing
All will have a chance to enjoy the race festivities in the race village on the Malecon in Fort de France where there will be a bar, large screens, racing information and games for children as well as the final awards closing ceremony.
Fort-de-France will celebrate the sailing event in the build-up to the annual Carnival which will follow.
Festive program ashore:
• Friday 8th, YCM event open to all from 6pm
• Saturday 9th, Surprise evening at Marin or Sainte-Anne
• Sunday 10th:
◦ Afternoon: relaxing lunch on the beautiful beach of Grande Anse d'Arlet
◦ Evening: Malecon de Fort-de-France prize giving ceremony from 6pm
Jocelyn JACCOULET, Crédit Mutuel Antilles Guyana
"Crédit Mutuel is very involved in sailing and particularly with the Ven Dan Vwèl association since 2011. Sailing offers us a very interesting visibility, while carrying our values of commitment, solidarity, proximity and implementation.”
Jacques BAJAL, Martinique Tourism Committee
"The Martinique Tourism Committee actively supports boating in all areas. Our clubs and our exceptional coast are an important part of the attractiveness of our island and we actively support all initiatives that, like the Round Martinique Regatta, promotes Martinique in the Caribbean and beyond."
Patrick HONORE, Sports Minister, City of Fort de France
"The bay of Fort de France is one of the most beautiful bays in the world, which lends itself beautifully to sailing. We are pleased that an event with the Round Martinique Regatta’s magnitude will honour our bay. This event radiates throughout the Caribbean and we support it so that it becomes a lasting event for all sailors in the region."
Gérard JOSEPHA, secretary general of the sailing league of Martinique
"With the Martinique Cata Raid and Schoelcher Nautical Week, the Round Martinique Regatta is one of the island’s three flagship events. It is fundamental for our league to have a high-level event reserved for larger boats. The competitors on cruising boats are an important part of our licenced members and this type of competition attracts young people to sailing. We are really pleased to see young crews competing in the Surprise class, as well as an all-female crew…”
Paul CONSTANTIN, President of the Martinique Yacht Club
"The Round Martinique Regatta Credit Mutuel AG introduce a new format over three days, with three very specific events, which we hope will please all the sailors. Good racing, parties and time to enjoy the event as well as the new race village which will be set up for the first time on Malécon in front of the boats.”
Claude GRANEL, Head of Communications:
"The event returns renewed with a novel racing format which offers competitors some of the best things Martinique has in terms of coastal racing and inshore courses. Our president Paul Constantin has managed to federate a whole host of parties to get the best skills from all and give the event a renewed lease.”