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The Groupama Race for yachts around New Caledonia is a race against the clock: for two to five days depending on the weather and boat, participants have to make the right decisions and keep their eye on the ball. They must sail a distance of 1,500 kilometres: the start and finish line are in Nouméa. The race goes from east to west with no stopovers or breaks.
The Groupama Race has become bigger over the years, and has gradually attracted more partners, supporters and distinguished sailors. It is now a major event in the island’s racing calendar, which everyone follows enthusiastically and is broadcast by local and international media.
The enthusiasm demonstrated by the sailors and public, as well as by the organisers (Groupama Nouvelle-Calédonie and the Cercle Nautique Calédonien) and many partners (both institutional and private) led this sixth race to exceed all expectations and to be named the “sporting event of the year”. The numerous novelties it presented made it a resounding success.
The race became part of the Australian and New Zealand regatta circuit with four new races starting in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland as well as one finishing in Nouméa two weeks before the start of the Groupama Race. As a result, 38 Australian and New Zealand boats were hosted in New Caledonia at the beginning of June, after four days on average of racing, with no stopovers. Among them, 13 took part in the Groupama Race, alongside ten Caledonian boats, with Franck Cammas and Lisa Blair.
Moreover, a village was set up in the heart of Nouméa for the occasion: it featured concerts, markets selling products made by local craftsmen, a party for the crew, a closing event and prize-giving ceremony, conferences for sailors, shops and Groupama Race souvenir gifts, and live radio coverage straight from the village. Also, nearly 19,000 people took part in the digital Groupama Race on “digital regatta”, a video game for mobile phones.
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