A double-handed first !

The fourth edition of the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race Brest-Brest will run from 4 to 14 May 2023. To date, around thirty sailors have already confirmed their presence at the event. For the first time, this race will be contested in double-handed format, together with an on-board reporter. The aim: to best fulfil the expectations of the sailors in Class IMOCA, for whom the bulk of the 2023 season will involve double-handed races. For them, this event will be the perfect way to validate the refit work carried out over the winter, to get the machines performing reliably over what is a comprehensive and demanding course, to validate their qualification for the famous Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, as well as to rack up some precious points for the IMOCA GLOBE SERIES championship ranking. 


“The first race of this 2023 season for those IMOCAs not participating in The Ocean Race, this fourth edition of the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race is shaping up to be a very promising opener, with the major new feature being that it will be raced double-handed. As such, it’s going to be a fantastic opportunity for the sailors whose steeds are beginning to come out of refit as they’ll be in full test phase trying to make the boats reliable. Therefore, they’ll be able to test as many elements as possible, with a second expert eye aboard,” announces Hubert Lemonnier, Race Director. The reason for this year’s evolution? “Essentially it was a question of adhering to the wishes of the IMOCA members. Race Organiser Gwen Chapalain and the race partners have been very receptive to the idea and, together with the Race Management team, Jacques Caräes and Pierre Hays, we had the freedom to be able to take things in this direction,” explains Hubert Lemonnier. The latter is also keen to point out that two other IMOCA events will be raced in double-handed format this season: the Rolex Fastnet Race (22 July) and the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre (29 October). “Opening the season in France in double-handed format will enable numerous crews to get their bearings together. At the same time, the presence of an OBR (on-board reporter) on every boat will make it possible to produce photo and video content in May,” notes the Race Director, who highlights the fact that the name of each reporter will be subject to validation by Class IMOCA’s Sports Committee to ensure fair play. 

Points up for grabs

The challenges for the competitors? To qualify for the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, which is due to kick off on 29 October 2023, as well as to score as many points as possible for the IMOCA GLOBE SERIES ranking. “Class IMOCA and the skippers attach a great deal of importance to the Championship and are pleased to see it really gaining momentum year on year,” says Hubert Lemonnier. Labelled as a coefficient 1 race, this Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race will certainly add weight to the campaigns of the different teams. “The event will have both technical and competitive appeal for the teams. There are going to be some points up for grabs!” he promises. It’s worth noting that the start of the competition is scheduled for 7 May, with the racers having to complete a 1,000-mile looped circuit setting sail from and returning to Brest via the legendary Fastnet lighthouse (off southern Ireland, then the Gallimard waypoint between Cape Finisterre and the Azores. “It’s the historic route for the race now. It’s a great warm-up exercise for the season too as it comprises several points of sail so it’s great practice and it ensures that the sailors learn how to get the best out of their boat according to the weather conditions,” he says. He’s keen to point out that in addition to being able to select the position of the Gallimard waypoint, he also has the opportunity to choose whether the course is sailed clockwise or anti-clockwise. “The aim is to offer the competitors the most comprehensive route possible, with all the key angles, but obviously avoiding breaking the boats in the process. Another notable element about this year’s edition is that, given that the event is raced double-handed, we’re leaving ourselves the possibility of setting the finish line in Brest Harbour,” concludes Hubert Lemonnier. Either way, it’s sure to be an absolute showstopper, both on the water and on land !


The Programme

Thursday 4 May 12:00 hrs: The IMOCA fleet moored in Brest’s Marina du Château

Friday 5 May 13:30 hrs: Défi Pom'Potes: speed runs in Brest Harbour

Sunday 7 May 14:00 hrs: Start of the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race 

From Thursday 11 May: Arrival of the first boats 

Saturday 13 May: Prize-giving