See the multihull grand prix yachts race up the Thames in London 3/5/06

On Monday 8 May, Londoners can witness six 60-foot yachts race up the Thames in the multihull grand prix in London for the Multicup SAS event.

Six Open 60 multihulls will be on the start line of the first offshore race of the Multicup 60. The boats will leave London for a 2,500 mile-course that finishes in Nice, Alpes Maritimes.

After a parade of sail down the Thames between 1100-1300, the six Open 60 multihulls will start racing at 1300 at the tidal barriers for a very tactical race.

Working alongside round-the-world sailor Mike Golding and his company Extreme Sailing, the Multicup SAS aims to create an amazing spectacle in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Five of the teams raced against each other during training sessions organised by the Port La Forêt Training Centre last week. Groupama 2 is considered to be in top form, but Banque Populaire also shows signs of aggression. Gitana 11 and Géant are tuning up for the race, (Frédéric Le Peutrec launched his trimaran just one week ago and Michel Desjoyeaux was waiting still for his new daggerboard) and finally Sopra Group is getting accustomed to close, inshore racing.

The multihulls will sail down the Thames into the North Sea from the English Channel. Tactically, this first part of the course could be the trickiest as the six crews will be fighting to be the first to reach the Atlantic.

The first two days will be demanding for the crews due to the fickle breeze and tidal currents common to the English Channel. Once the boats reach the tip of Brittany there will still be 2,000 miles to cover to reach Promenade Des Anglais.

Café Ambassador has been confirmed as title sponsor of the Multi Cup 60 Class for 2006 and hopes to continue its support for years 2007-2009. The sponsorship is in support of the European race circuit, which will be launched in London leading up to the race.

The boats are currently moored outside East Winter Gardens, South Dock, Canary Wharf.

Schedule of events

Monday 8 May

1100 – Boats leave Canary Wharf for parade of sail down the Thames Barriers

1300 – Race starts from behind Thames Tidal Barriers


Banque PopulairePascal Bidégorry (skipper), Ronan Lucas, Florent Chastel, Ewen Le Clech, Charles Caudrelier, Yvan Ravussin

GéantMichel Desjoyeaux (skipper), Thierry Briend, Emmanuel Le Borgne, Jean-Christophe Mourniac, Romain Attanasio, Jean-Baptiste Epron

Gitana 11Frédéric Le Peutrec (skipper), Baron Benjamin de Rothschild , Frédéric Guilmin, Daniel Souben , Ronan Le Goff , François Denis

Gitana 12Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (skipper), Erwan Le Roux, Mayeul Riffet, Alexandre Marmorat, Nicolas Raynaud, Léopold Lucet

Groupama-2Franck Cammas (skipper), Franck Proffit , Bruno Laurent , Jean-Baptiste Levaillant , Lionel Lemonchois, Jacques Caraës

Sopra GroupAntoine Koch (skipper), Grégory Gendron, Jean-Baptiste Daramy, François Gabart, TBC x 2