Well, it is not really unknown but out of France and out of those sailors that really like duo or solo racing, it is pretty much confidential. How I do know that? Just look at the number of views on the videos: pretty much ridiculous. How do I know it is a great race? I have followed it for many years but if you don’t believe me, just look at the sailors that have won or have finished on the first positions:
In 1992 on the winner duo was a certain Michel Desjoyeaux ( before winning two times the Vendee Globe), in 1994 the winners where Le Cam and Roulain Jourdain, in 1996 Gautier was part of the duo that won and Franck Cammas was on the duo that finished 3rd. In 1998 two of the best sailors ever, the duo Cammas/Desjoyeaux finished only in 8th place, Lionel Lemonchois was part of the duo that won in 2000 and Yan Ellies was on the team that finished 7th. In 2004 Le Cleach was part of the winning team and he would win again in 2010, before winning the last Vendee Globe.
You get my drift: on the list of winners of this Transat we can find most of the best solo sailors, the ones that today race IMOCAS or have won the VOR and the quality of the participants is very, very high, most of them coming from the minis and having already sailed the Figaro championship for some years. Some that race already on IMOCAS.
Most have been professional sailors for a long time and some of the participants have already a contract and will have a brand new IMOCA for racing the next Vendee Globe, among them the ones that lead for several days and are now 2nd, Simon/Lagraviere. I mean Lagraviere has already an IMOCA and raced the last Vendee, Simon will have a brand new boat designed by JK.
You have also some of the best women sailors, Justine Mettraux that has left the VOR Dongfeng to make it, teaming with Isabel Joschke and Clarisse (the one that finished 2nd on the last mini transat –series) teaming with Le Turquais.
As usual the race is very interesting with lots of different routing options. I will not be following it here since I am going to sail away and don’t have time to post anymore but the important thing is to draw your attention to this race.
You can follow it on your own and if you like sail racing you are going to love it: great sailors, small one class fast boats, lots of them (20) and to make things more interesting, they have already had bad seas and over 30k winds off the Portuguese coast and probably more will be on the way. Two boats retired with broken masts and one with a broken boom…and the race is just beginning. Enjoy the AG2R: http://player.georacing.com/player_ag2r2018/