SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL – THE SEYCHELLES’ INTERNATIONAL REGATTA
When talking ‘regatta’ the mind is quick to conjure up pictures of several dozens of boats or yachts lining up, awaiting the horn sounded by the regatta officials and then swiftly crossing the starting line en masse, sails fluttering in the wind and soon turning into distant white specks.
The international regatta in the Seychelles, sponsored amongst others by national carrier ‘Air Seychelles’, in contrast is limited to a maximum of 20 entries only and the 12 participants this year came to the archipelago’s main port in Victoria with 40 – 70 ft catamarans to race each other between the scenic inner islands, traversing the Indian Ocean around Mahe before also touching La Digue and Praslin and eventually crossing the final finishing line at Eden Island at the end of the 7th race, spanning over the week. The annual event has been described as ‘semi professional’ where ‘amateurs’ measure themselves against true professionals, although at this level of the sport ‘semi’ surely does reality little justice as even the so called amateurs train and sail relentlessly in order to hone their skills and get the best out of their boats and crews.
Saturday 21st of May will see the opening ceremony held at Eden House, while during the day the skippers and participants will have received their briefings and done a spinnaker speed test to ascertain the rating of the boards. Amongst the participants this year are illustrious names which reportedly have a ring to them amongst the global sailing fraternity.
Newcomer to the Seychelles International Regatta Loick Peyron has just won the Barcelona World Race in April and is amongst the best known skippers in France, reportedly eyeing the next qualifying round of the America’s Cup where the ultimate challenger will be determined. He will measure his skills against Frenchman Francois Gabart who is the 2010 French Solo Offshore champion but both of them will have to contend with the aspirations of an all ladies team on the ‘Heineken’, skippered by Samantha Davies, determined to put up a spirited fight for the overall prize.
This correspondent will be able to cover some of the races and will file additional updates in coming days, reporting live from the Creole paradise islands of the Seychelles, truly ‘Another World’.