A week before departure, competitors of the Panerai Transat Classique 2019 are gathered at Calero Marinas Marina Lanzarote. Before attacking the Atlantic Ocean, on the 8th of January at 2pm (CUT), crews are enjoying their last days refining their preparation and relishing the charms of Lanzarote. It is also the time to meet all participants and watch the weather.
Lanzarote, sailor paradise
Located about 150 km away from the Moroccan coasts, the Canaries Archipelago is composed of eight main islands, secondary islands, islets and rocks, and has been a required crossing point on the ways to Southern Africa and the continent of the American continent, for a very long time. Under Hispanic rules since the middle of the fifteenth century, Canary Islands, divided in two provinces, are part of the seventeen Autonomous Spanish Communities. Volcanic in origin, Canary Islands have become a very popular touristic destination, especially the two biggest islands Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
Over the years, Lanzarote, the most Eastern of the main islands, has become an inevitable stopover, for the sailors on their way to Americas from Europe, for many reasons. First, when many islands have lost a little bit of soul, Lanzarote has remained authentic. This preservation of the island is due to one man, Cesar Manrique, a committed artist who managed to convince inhabitants of Lanzarote not to go for a massive touristic urbanization, and to favour the valorisation of the island natural and cultural heritage. Visits of a few persevered sites are inescapable: the incredible national parc of Timanfaya with its gorgeous lava flows and Jameos del Agua Caves with underground basins where lives a unique wildlife.
Its semi-arid climate is characterized by a mild temperature at any time of year, low rainfall, and a constant wind valued by sailors. It is soon clear why many racing teams of the TP52 world championship or many teams of offshore races, the Volvo Ocean Race for instance, have based their training station here. And it is also clear why many ocean races, such as the RORC Transatlantic Race, have established their starting point here.
Port infrastructures are also excellent quality, especially in Calero Marinas Marina Lanzarote, the latest installation of Calero Marinas. All efforts have been made to welcome the competitors of the Panerai Transat Classique 2019, with substantial technical infrastructures, including an 800 tonnes travel lift. The team is as kind as competent. During the last edition of the race, in 2015, all participants valued deliveries of Calero Marinas Marina Lanzarote and praised the charm of this unique island, its unusual landscapes, his wonderful people and his maritime nature.
5 days before the start, all participants of the Panerai Transat Classique 2019 are invited to a welcome cocktail at the Real Club Nautico of Arrecife on Thursday, January 3. The club is very active in Lanzarote with both water and nautical activities. The cocktail will be a great occasion for the sailors to meet and share ultimate advises about preparation of both boats and men, and to share memories of past regattas and hopes for the one to come.
Of the entrants, it is complicated to give a prognosis on who will become the successor of Stiren in 2008, White Dolphin in 2002 et Altair in 2015. There is motivation in every sailor, willing to live a unique adventure on exceptional boats, in due respect of opponents. Battling but smiling.
It is early to anticipate the departure weather conditions, although a tendency is emerging for this much-awaited day, January 8, starting date of the Panerai Transat Classique 2019. François Séruzier, Race Director, is watching closely the weather situation evolution:
“The latest grib files show that trade winds are well set up, blowing around 15 knots, but a cold air moving down from the north brings uncertainty to the wind orientation for the departure: North-East or South-East, opening many different options for tacticians. They will have to choose between going South under Fuerteventura and the rest of the archipelago or slipping in between the islands benefiting from the venturi effect with a risk of wind shadow or going North to find stronger winds. They have got a few days left to affine their thought and establish a strategy for the first hours of the race.”