New era for The Transat as start moved from UK to France
The Transat, the quadrennial single-handed transatlantic sailing race, is to begin in France for the first time in 2020.
Brest in northern Brittany was yesterday named as the new start city for the event, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary next year.
The race, which is over 3,500 nautical miles in length, has traditionally launched from Plymouth in the south west of the UK, and finished in USA, but owner OC Sport Pen Duick, the French subsidiary of event organiser OC Sport, has opted for a new strategy “to secure the future of The Transat.”
Brest is the home city of Télégramme Group, the French media, sports and entertainment conglomerate, which acquired OC Sport in 2014, and it is thought that starting the event there will help give it a similar profile to the company’s other races, including the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, which sails out of Saint Malo, also in Brittany.
Brest already has strong sailing credentials as the chosen start point for this year's Brest Atlantic Race and the 2023 Brest Océans Race, and The Transat will get under way just weeks before the Brest 2020 Maritime Festival.
Hervé Favre, the chief executive of OC Sport, said: “We are really pleased to be partnering with Brest for The Transat, and together we share a strong desire to continue developing the race in 2020 and beyond.
“We have seen from races such as the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe just how engaged the French public are with offshore sailing where we had over 2 million visitors to the race village. Staging the start from Brest is a real opportunity for our sponsors and the teams to capitalise on this captive audience and we expect it to open up many new commercial opportunities which are essential to guarantee the longevity of the race. I’d like to thank Plymouth for their support of the race up until this point.”
The host city in USA for the finish of The Transat in 2020 will be announced in due course.