The Seychelles Regatta — a sailing competition designed to take place in a relaxed atmosphere — returns to the island nation’s shores in 2018.
This was announced by the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, during a press conference on Monday, December 11, 2017.
The Seychelles Tourism Board’s Chief Executive, Sherin Francis, Director for Europe, Bernadette Willemin and Chairman of the Seychelles Yachting Association, Alain Alcindor, were also in attendance.
The Seychelles Regatta was first launched in 2009, and held for three consecutive years until 2011.
After a five-year break, the fourth edition of the sailing competition is set to take place from May 27 to June 3, 2018, when the southeast trade winds kick in.
“We had the Seychelles Regatta a few years back, but it was discontinued for various reasons. Now that the event is back this is very important for us, as it goes well with the Seychelles image and we need to try and do this annually,” said Minister Loustau-Lalanne.
The event is organized by a France-based company — ‘Publi Voile’ — with the support of the Seychelles authorities including the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine and Seychelles Tourism Board.
The aim is to offer a balance of a rigorous sailing competition and tourism by encouraging a discovery of the Seychelles islands. For the 2018 edition, the participants will set sail from the Eden Island Marina. Praslin, Silhouette, Fregate are only a few of the islands being included on the itinerary.
Similar to past editions, the Seychelles Regatta is aiming to attract professional international skippers – both men and women.
A total of 10 international skippers are being targetted; and five — Michel Desjoyeaux, Samantha Davies, François Gabart, Loick Peyron, and Roland Jourdain — have already confirmed their participation.
To note that Desjoyeaux and Gabart are past winners of Vendée Globe — a single-handed non-stop yacht race around the world without assistance. Samantha Davies also came out 4th in the same competition in 2009.
The Seychelles Tourism Board, which is coordinating the event locally, with the support of the Seychelles Yachting Association is encouraging local sponsors to support the event and local sailors to also register for the competition.
“We are targeting 20 boats in total, each carrying a crew of 6 to 8 sailors, so we still have space for more participants to come in. Having local participants will help showcase the local flavour considering the competition is set to attract international press,” said Mrs Francis, adding that the Seychelles Tourism Board will also have its own team participating in the competition.
Two local skippers have already confirmed their participation.
Interested participants have until the end of January to register, and they can find more information on the Seychelles Regatta website: http://www.theseychellesregatta.com or by contacting Maria Morel and Elsie Sinon at the Seychelles Tourism Board headquarters at Botanical House Mont Fleuri.
Mr Alcindor said timely registration is important for logistical purposes.
“Each boat has a spinnaker for example [a sail designed specifically for sailing] and this has to be built, so we need to have ample time to do so,” he said.
The organisers are also finding ways to incorporate the young aspiring Seychellois sailors. Mrs Willemin said although they will not be taking part in the competition, the younger sailors will have the opportunity to learn from the experiences and expertise of the professionals.
The Seychelles Regatta is set to bring added visibility for the island destination thanks to the participation of the international press.