The new great Mediterranean race

On Friday, October 27 at the Société des Régates du Havre*, navigator Kito de Pavant unveiled the outline of the MED MAX I Occitanie - Saïdia Resorts, a new major quadrennial event in the Mediterranean, in the presence of representatives of the Occitanie / Pyrénées - Méditerranée region, including a video testimonial by Patrice Canayer, regional councillor in charge of attractiveness, representing President Carole Delga, representatives of Saïdia Resorts and skippers. 9 to 11 days of double-handed ocean racing between Port Camargue, in Occitanie, and the Saïdia Resorts Marina, in the Oriental region of Morocco, passing through some of the most emblematic places on the Grande Bleue: Bouches de Bonifacio, Aeolian Islands, Strait of Messina, Ithaca, Sicily, Greek Islands, Malta, Balearic Islands... This unprecedented event linking the three continents bordering the Mediterranean is open to Class40s and Ocean Fifties. Start date: September 29, 2024.

Travelling. A change of air, a change of sea, a chance to discover new cultures and new horizons through competition - that's what the MED MAX I Occitanie - Saïdia Resorts is all about, a dream long cherished by Occitan sailor Kito de Pavant. In the midst of an extremely busy Atlantic ocean racing calendar, it's a new breath of fresh air, set against sublime landscapes steeped in the history of civilizations.

"There was a lot of frustration in taking race starts in France and seeing that there had been nothing back home, in the South, for many years, confides Kito de Pavant, who has been working on this project for a long time. We wanted to create a permanent event, every 4 years, and draw inspiration from all the great events that have gone before us: the Transmed, the Triangle du Soleil, La Porquerolles Solo, Cap Istanbul. The Mediterranean can be a difficult sea, but it's also a fantastic playground. We wanted an adventure that would tell stories, create links, make sense and be appreciated by everyone, racers and partners alike.

The format of the MED MAX I Occitanie - Saïdia Resorts is simple: departure from Le Grau du Roi - Port Camargue, in the Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée region, and arrival at Saïda Resorts, in the Oriental region of Morocco, after 2000 miles of racing for the Class40s (12 m monohulls), and 3000 miles for the Ocean Fifty (15 m multihulls). The prologue and postlogue will welcome guests aboard the boats.

Institutional partners are essential to the launch and continuity of such an event. The Région Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée, the Département du Gard, the Ville du Grau du Roi - Port Camargue for the entire departure period; the Région de l'Oriental in Morocco and Saïdia Resorts for the arrival.

Saïda Resorts is a unique destination, nestled in an unspoilt natural environment on Morocco's northeast coast. It boasts a 6-kilometre stretch of fine sandy beach and a mild, sunny climate all year round. Today, Saïdia Resorts has positioned itself as a first-rate sports destination, home to a large marina with 1,300 berths, two 18-hole golf courses, an aquapark, a shopping center and several modern, friendly hotel units. A wonderful setting to welcome tandems exhausted after 10 to 12 days of naval battle.

A cultural and economic dimension

To organise this new Mediterranean event, Kito has teamed up with his friend Christophe Carniel, founder and CEO of the Montpellier-based sportech company VOGO (high-quality audio and video solutions for sport, industry and the audiovisual sector). For Carniel, an amateur sailor, the race has more to offer than its purely sporting aspect: "I'm also interested in the economic and cultural dimension of this initiative. In the start and finish villages, the major economic players from each region, particularly those involved in the 'blue economy', will be present. In this respect, we have shared interests on both sides of the Mediterranean. Through my work, I am in contact with the Moroccan sporting authorities. Today, Morocco is a country that is keen to develop sports tourism. It is in this context that they have committed themselves to us. We are therefore moving towards something unprecedented in terms of events in the Mediterranean".

* On October 29, Kito de Pavant will be lining up at the start of his 12th Transat Jacques Vabre in the Class40 category.


They said:

Carole Delga, President of the Occitanie / Pyrénées - Méditerranée Region: "In Occitanie, we share many things with Kito, his values, his passion for others, his commitment to the Mediterranean and to preserving the environment. So I had no hesitation in committing myself to this new challenge alongside him. First and foremost, it's a formidable sporting project, which will make the Mediterranean the stage for a sensational ocean race. But above all, it will be a human adventure, with Occitanie as the starting point. For the Region, this partnership will be accompanied by a number of events in our territories, to bring the race and the values it represents to life, particularly among the younger generations. We're determined to make the Mediterranean shine, and to work together to imagine its future. I'm thinking, of course, of the fight against global warming, the preservation of biodiversity and the humanitarian emergency, all of which require unfailing collective mobilization now more than ever.

Representatives of Saïdia Resorts : "We're delighted to be here from Morocco. Saïdia Resorts is an exceptional destination on the Mediterranean. The coastline and hinterland are magnificent. The infrastructure has been developed to welcome tourists and yachtsmen to a marina with a capacity of 1,300 moorings. Today, Saïdia Resorts is positioned as a first-class sports destination. This major event will have a major impact in terms of economic spin-offs and brand awareness".

Jean-Luc Denéchau, President of the French Sailing Federation: "I welcome Kito de Pavant and Christophe Carniel's initiative to launch a new ocean race. France has a magnificent Mediterranean coastline that is still under-exploited in terms of ocean racing. That's why we're going to support this new organization that has approached us, and we'll do our utmost to help and advise them if need be. It's the role of the federation to support initiatives that help develop the practice and federate classes together. The federation is behind you and wishes this race every success.

Erwan Leroux, President of the Ocean Fifty class: "With our partners, we've been trying for several years to set up a homogeneous circuit with a reasoned number of boats, capped at ten. We're making progress every year in terms of development, and we're delighted to be talking to Kito about this new race. We have two boats based in the Mediterranean, and it's important for us to be able to sail there, both for our partners and for the sporting interest."

Pietro Luciani, Class40 vice-president: "Class40 really needs and wants to diversify its offer for its members. The Mediterranean Trophy, the 2nd edition of which has just come to an end, helps to multiply the possibilities. We know that the Mediterranean is different from the Atlantic, with sometimes a lot of wind, sometimes much less, and above all the possibility for older boats to play their cards against newer boats. This race is a great opportunity for the Mediterranean Trophy and for the class.

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