Paris, Nautic success at the first day of the meeting

Today Saturday, saw the opening to the general public of the 53rd Nautic. From 0900 GMT, the aisles of the Porte de Versailles in Paris welcomed their first visitors for a packed day of entertainment. From the Spot Nautic, a village devoted to boardsports, to the stands of the large boatyards, the new attractions and the spectacle really drew in the crowds of enthusiasts, skippers and families.

The 2014 edition of the AG2R LA MONDIALE unveiled
This morning, the veil was lifted on the 2014 edition of the Transat AG2R LA MONDIALE in the presence of a number of former event winners such as Michel Desjoyeaux, Jacques Caräes, Nicolas Troussel, Fabien Delahaye, Gildas Morvan and Charlie Dalin, as well as the competitors already signed up for the next event, which will set sail on 6 April 2014. In fact it’s worth pointing out that the AG2R is inviting visitors to the Nautic to discover an exhibition of photographs devoted to the eleven pairs who have won the race since its creation in 1992. A fine homage to the adventure enjoyed by all these sailors!

The low-down on François Gabart’s victory in the Vendée Globe
Late this morning, the Macif Solidarité Mer campaign and the cruise-training school known as the Macif Centre de Voile were presented to the general public in the presence of Gérard Andreck, President of the Macif Group, Jean-Bernard Le Boucher, Director of the Offshore Racing programme for the team and sailors François Gabart, Fabien Delahaye and Yoann Richomme. Following directly on from that, visitors were able to see a film show about the selection process behind the Skipper Macif, as well as the 2012 report for a 60-footer – including the victory in the Vendée Globe – before discovering the team’s upcoming programme, which will be marked by the launch of a 100-foot trimaran.

Discussions on offshore racing at the Barcelona World Race stand
Present in Hall 1 at the Porte de Versailles, the Barcelona World Race is proposing a series of discussions and conferences from today through until the end of the Nautic, with the aim of creating reference content about the wide range of themes centred around oceanic sailing. The subjects tackled will focus primarily on the sporting, scientific and technological domains and respect of the environment. Examples of this include the Barcelona World Race’s relationships with other sports competitions like the Rallye Dakar and other human adventure challenges, which take place in the harshest natural environments, the race’s relationship with oceanographic research as well as the effects of climate change and the ice in the Deep South, along with the presence of UFOs. This Saturday, at 1300 hours, the theme of double-handed and single-handed sailing without assistance in IMOCA class races, drummed up a lively debate involving some exceptional skippers: François Gabart, Michel Desjoyeaux and Iker Martinez.

727 Sailbags’ fashion parade
727 Sailbags lands in Paris! The Lorient-based brand specialised in recycling boat sails didn’t just open its first retail outlet in the capital last month, it is also present at the Nautic. Partner to the show, it offered this afternoon’s visitors a colourful fashion show on the Nautic Stage. Skippers involved in the recycling process, Jérémie Beyou, Sébastien Josse, Eric Péron, Paul Meilhat, Romain Attanasio and Simon Tröel to name but a few, played the role of models for this grand occasion. With bags made with the sails of Eric Tabarly’s Pen Duick, polo shirts, 100% cashmere jumpers with elbow pads made from boat sails created in collaboration with the Eric Bompard company… 727 Sailbags really showcased its collection, which also included paper wedding dresses created by the stylist Claire Maldagna and the most beautiful of these was worn by Marie Tabarly to round off the show in style.

Nautic Video Awards
The Nautic Video Awards ceremony, organised for the second year running by Riders Match, took place this Saturday at the Spot Nautic. After the qualification round (from 19 November to 3 December) at, where the boardsports community was invited to vote on its favourite videos, the final round took place this afternoon between 17 and 1800 hours. The six films selected by the internet users and the four videos which benefited from a wild card, were shown on a giant screen and then studied in more depth by a prestigious jury comprising Antoine Albeau 21-time World Windsurf Champion, Alain Pichavant Commissioner General of Nautic, Fabrice Lecuyer sports journalist for Canal+ and Sport+, Sarah Delauney, Windsurfing Champion, Rémi Leclancher representing Dailymotion, Alex Caizergues World Kitesurfing Champion, Sarah Hebert Pro windsurfer, adventurer and journalist, Frédéric Pelatan journalist for the Journal du Nautisme, Sophie Saramito Vice President of the Pays de la Loire Department and finally, Marc Jalabert Director of the General Public and Operators division at Microsoft.

The winners:
– Award for the video favourite: Pryde Group
– Award for the best action: Pryde Group
– Award for the best editing: North
– Award for the most original video: Zegul
– Public award: Sirena Voile

Crossing Paris via Stand Up Paddle, it’s tomorrow!
Organised by the Nautic, in partnership with MICROSOFT, TOSHIBA, NAISH, the SNSM, GREEN RIVER, SOSH and JBL, the negotiation of Paris via the Seine on a Stand Up Paddle will play host to 300 pro and amateur riders, true fans of this up-and-coming boardsport, tomorrow on Sunday 8 December. The particularly high-calibre line-up for this 4th edition of the Nautic SUP Paris Crossing positions the event as the largest in Europe: 65 pro riders, 16 nationalities represented, around ten or so juniors, with the notable participation of Antoine Albeau, the multiple World Windsurfing Champion. Finally, among the female contingent, around thirty competitors are expected including windsurfer Faustine Merret. This evening, the event briefing was held on the Nautic Stage and tomorrow’s start point was arranged for 0800 hours, with the kick-off in front of France’s Bibliothèque Nationale on Quai de la Gare. The finish will be decided on the lower section of the Quai de Javel near the Thalassa barge. At the end of this first stage, Microsoft, a long-time partner to this major Paris meet, together with Windows Phone, will accommodate the riders on the Issy les Moulineaux campus. Next, from 1400 hours, a second race will be contested against the clock on the large Spot/Macif pool.

Sailing dinghies, just slipping along

There is a massive oxygen-hit at the entrance to the Nautic with the dayboat exhibitors making the most of their new location to highlight its 100%-leisure craft. There are catamarans, sports dinghies and kayaks, not to mention the key sport in the current market: the SUP, which is available here in all its different formats from all the various brands, including Naish, Bic, Hobie Cat and Fanatic… which are found on the car roofs of the hundreds of competitors drawn to this event.

One major trend in this domain is the inflatable, which has come about as a result of the new Drop Stitch technology. This essentially involves the ability to inflate a hull to a very high pressure without it exploding, thanks to the binding created by thousands of bonds linked to the inside of the deck and hull. In this way, a precise shape with an inflated float can be obtained. A SUP or an inflatable boat translates as something that can be carried in a rucksack or a car boot, and it’s a genuine revolution! The Tiwal, the amazing little sports dinghy designed by Marion Excoffon, was one of the first to benefit from this technology and has become a real commercial hit. The SUP meantime is fully benefiting from this revolution, which is helping to make record sales around the world. Today it sells more SUPs than windsurf boards did in their glory years.

Also on view is the original Hobie Savagers’ propulsion system, which are small ‘trimaran kayaks’ propelled by sail, a paddle and above all their unique system of fins, propelled along by the feet… a concept which is going wild in the United States.

Among the dayboats, we can discover craft, which are true to the sport’s precepts: for beginners, family and sport. This works for beginners thanks to designs like the Hobie Cat Wave, the most easily accessible dayboat catamaran there is and a craft selected by Oracle via the American Sailing Association to promote the practice of multihull sailing, which is surfing the wave of enthusiasm created by the recent America’s Cup.

It also works for families with the showcasing of three new sailing school catamarans, the Hobie Cat T2, RSCat 16 and Newcat M. The T2 is taking on the world right now and is fun to say the least. It is a dynamic line, despite the inverted bows whose extremities may be deemed overly aggressive, and its shape has been slightly rounded off with a well-studied design to face up to the tough conditions thrown at it by life at a sailing club. As such it has integrated fixings in the hull skin and a trampoline that is firmly attached to the hulls to reassure novice crew members. A second new addition for the sailing schools is the RScat 16. Presented by the RS Sailing yard, specialised in sports dinghies and groups since 1995, this is a solid craft benefiting from some unique design tricks like the groove running along its hulls, facilitating carriage and the fixation of the rig. There is also the NewcatM, which combines unfailing, ultra-modern design and solidity.

The sporting element is also catered for with the showcasing of a prototype, which promises some very fine downwind sensations under spinnaker. Penned by the talented Paolo Bua and designed by Kaïs Kaddour-Livory, she’s a fabulous little craft that is as high performance as she is beautiful. Her ultra-light, flamboyant hull, incorporates some skilful ropework to conceal virtually all the manœuvres, which have been simplified in the extreme so as the sailors can focus solely on the pleasures of slipping along and the tactical subtleties of racing.

In a bid to get closer to the stars of the Cup, there is a revolution underway whereby anyone can fly their boat. In this way, following on from the America’s Cup in San Francisco, the Little America’s Cup for the C-Class, whose top two competitors are exhibited with all their foils on show, we can revel in the delights of the Flying Phantom. This is the first realistic commercial bid for regular sailors to get to enjoy a similar sensation to the stars and overtake the gulls. This flying catamaran was designed in collaboration with Franck Cammas Groupama sailing team and this beast powers along like Oracle at some dazzling speeds!