They call it the ‘Sailing Valley’. It is the very heart of international offshore yacht racing in the south of Brittany, a part of France (from Brest down to Vannes) that focuses strategically and with strong political support on watersports. A dream location for anyone involved in sailing and yacht racing – the logical and perfect venue for the Yacht Racing Forum 2018 (22-23 October).
Lorient is a natural shelter for sailors, while the rest of the area is a magical place of sandy beaches and jagged reefs, fortified port towns and standing stones. It is warmer than the wild north coast, but the traditions, independent spirit and seafood are just as good.
Go to the bakery in Lorient and your chances of bumping into a host of offshore legends are high. Thomas Coville, Armel Le Cléac’h, François Gabart, Franck Cammas, Justine Mettraux, Francis Joyon, Jimmy Pahun and Jean-Pierre Dick live, train and develop their racing boats in the area, and most will be at the Yacht Racing Forum 2018.
Brittany’s Sailing Valley earned its nickname due to the high number of companies involved in yacht racing that are located there: Multiplast, Lorima, NKE, GSEA, CDK, Plastimo… Even North Sails are now developing their new world R&D department in the Sailing Valley. There’s a huge economy centred around yacht racing here, with boatbuilders and designers, technical companies, sailmakers, riggers, yacht racing photographers and filmmakers, you name it… This year the Yacht Racing Forum will dedicate a third day – Wednesday 24 October – to a visit to some of these companies that have such an influence on our sport worldwide. – Read on.