Seychelles is set to welcome yet another sporting event in 2018. The island nation will be hosting a high-level sailing competition, only a week after it becomes the first African host of the FINA/Hosa Marathon Swim World Series, this weekend. Preparations are being finalized for the fourth edition of the Seychelles Regatta – sailing competition, set to take place from May 27 to June 3, 2018.
First launched in 2009, the Seychelles Regatta was held for three consecutive years until 2011. The event is now back on the Seychelles’ calendar of events after a six-year break.
France-based company — ‘Publi Voile’ – is spearheading the event, with the support of the Seychelles authorities, including the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and Seychelles Yachting Association.
General Manager of ‘Publi Voile’ and the main organizer of the event, Regis Elhaouel, was in Seychelles recently, to ensure that the smooth running of the preparations. He attended a joint press conference together with the STB Chief Executive, Sherin Francis, and chairperson of the Seychelles Yachting Association, Alain Alcindor.
It has been confirmed that 10 boats, with some 100 skippers and crew members are expected to take part in the competition. This is expected to include an all-female boat and an all-Seychellois boat.
Mr. Elhaouel said: “There is now a lot more and a very recent fleet of boats available in Seychelles, which actually allows us to offer participants boats that are worthy of the level of competition we are organizing.”
Similar to past editions, this year’s Seychelles Regatta will be seeing the participation of some high profile professional skippers.
Mr. Elhaouel said: “We are lucky to have three generations of skippers joining this year’s race. Even in Europe there hasn’t been one race that has been able to bring all of them together. Firstly, we have the Michel Desjoyeaux, Roland Jourdain and Franck-Yves Escoffier generation. We also have the current champions, in the likes of François Gabart & Franck Cammas and then we will also be having the young skippers who are yet to be well-known, but who are now winning all of the races.”
The Seychelles Regatta – sailing competition aims to offer a balance of rigorous sailing and tourism by encouraging a discovery of the Seychelles islands. For the Seychelles Tourism Board this is also an opportunity to increase the destination’s visibility, portraying the island nation as the perfect sailing destination.
After the opening ceremony on Sunday May 27, the Seychelles Regatta sailing race will kick off on Monday with the skippers heading first to Silhouette departing from Eden Island. The itinerary has been designed to showcase some specificities of the Seychelles, including some of the private islands. Praslin, Fregate, La Digue are also featured.
A number of international press mainly from France, including “Le Figaro” and “Canal Plus” have confirmed that they will be coming to Seychelles to cover the event. The event is also generating interest from several international sponsors, who are working effortlessly to create personalized items for the event such as watches, solar wears and other items.
On top of the added visibility for the destination, the Seychelles Yachting Association, which will be providing technical support, while ensuring that the competition runs smoothly, is also very much interested in the added benefits for local sailing enthusiasts.
The association’s chairperson, Alain Alcindor said: “Sailing is a developing industry and it is imperative that our local skippers are exposed to professionals in the field so as to motivate them, at the same time it will serve as motivation for the youths.”
The dates chosen for the Seychelles Regatta has been timed with the kicking-in of the southeast trade winds, although this makes it a little bit harder to attract international skippers, as this time of the year coincides with the peak sailing season in Europe. Nevertheless, Mrs. Francis have expressed hope that the sailing competition will remain on the Seychelles’ calendar of events, with even more participants in the future.