What a huge event! And a first for us! Next September, the city of Toulon and its surroundings are going to welcome the worldwide elite of sailing. Toulon will be the 5th and only step in France of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (LVACWS), a preliminary trail regrouping the six hopefuls of the America’s Cup. An opportunity for the area to reunite those who have a passion for sailing as well as a large public to support the French team, Groupama Team France, and to participate in a festive and spectacular event!
Six prestigious teams are signed up for this 35th edition (the defender of the title and his 5 competitors) and will come face to face next September in Toulon’s harbor; a site chosen for its lake adapted to ideal racing conditions. During the press conference organized in Toulon on February 19, 2016, Hubert Falco, mayor of Toulon and president of the conglomeration committee TPM said he is “proud to welcome this prestigious worldwide sailing competition. This demonstrates the interest, influence and attraction of our harbor, one of the most beautiful in Europe. This also shows the capacity of our region to welcome and organize such international events.”
Franck Cammas, skipper on Groupama Team France who was also present at the press conference, declared “it is truly spectacular to be able to sail in front of our audience, at home. It is a great opportunity to show everyone the new format of the America’s Cup.” On request from Groupama Team France, we found two sailors on the charts who are just as outstanding as Franck Cammas: Michel Desjoyeaux and Olivier de Kersauson. Three sailors with complementary talents who have the common goal of bringing back the “Holy Grail of sailing”: the America’s Cup. “For this project, we wanted to develop a national reunion and mend the rift between individual challenges and group races” Franck Cammas goes on.
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The best competitors will sail in Toulon harbor
On the water, they are the fastest boats in the world, with the best personnel and managers that you have ever seen! The six competing groups are going to measure themselves on their flying catamarans – real “racing cars” when it comes to their technology – in front of the beaches from Mourillon to Toulon. Starting with this edition of the competition, the boats are shorter (they are now 15 m from a previous 21.6 m) and faster (more than 70km/h). The fleet of AC45, powerful “foil monotype” catamarans, propulsed by one rigid sail, promises spectacular and quick races that the audience can admire from the beach, which is pretty rare!
A large, popular and free party
Hubert Falco announced that “we are going to organize a large, popular party that is free!”. On top of the races which will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 PM in the harbor by the beaches of Mourillon (that will also be broadcast on giant screens) many cultural and sporting events will be organized on sea and on land. For three days, it will be a city vibrating with the rhythm of America: on the beaches in the Mourillon neighborhood where the village will be set up, but also the center of town will have several animations, and local expertise will be emphasized. With strong experience from the two Tall Ship’s Races, Toulon will come alive by participating in this exceptional event.
A dedicated organization
Groupama Team France, who is in charge of this step in Toulon, entrusted the organization to an association specially for creating this opportunity: “Association Cup Toulon Organization.” On request, Franck Proffit, an experienced sailor and big specialist of the multi-hull says, “the Cup signifies excellence. The reflect that this excellence will shine on Toulon, the region, the Var,…” With his team, they are in charge of designing, optimizing and organizing all of the event in collaboration with the city of Toulon and its surroundings. The president of the ACT Organization, Bruno Luisetti, specifies that the stakes are important on an athletic and technological leve. “Our challenge is to bring the public to love sailing as a team the same way they love individual sailing.”
In terms of economic aftermath for the area, this kind of event is incredible and its impact in the media is very strong; the competition is followed across the whole world and broadcast in more than 200 countries that will be able to discover the harbor of Toulon. “We all have the same goal here: to make everyone want to come and register for Toulon’s individual and group races!” concludes Bruno Luisetti.
The meetup is set for September!