A crew of 15 students from Southampton Institute will compete in the Tour de France à la Voile in June

A crew of 15 students from Southampton Institute face a month of intense racing, when they compete in the 26th Tour de France à la Voile, which begins on 26 June from Dunkerque.

The crew, which comprises students from France, England, Italy and Germany, study BSc (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design and BSc (Hons) Yacht Manufacturing and Surveying and they are currently in training throughout the week with their Mumm 30 boat, sailing in the Solent waters.

The Tour de France à la Voile is an international competition where the biggest and best specialists go to sail, with many competitors who have previously sailed in the Admiral’s Cup, raced around the world, or the America’s Cup. However, the regatta is open to anyone and the Institute crew will race in the student category in their boat, Southampton Institute – Alfa Laval.

The 2003 course will be about 1,000 miles long and includes 13 stopovers, which covers the whole French coastline, from the Belgian border to the Riviera. The team will have a chance to race in the Channel, the Atlantic as well as the tricky Mediterranean and express themselves in different types of racing styles (Olympic, coastal and offshore).