For many prudent European yachtsmen, who have no desire to contend with the frostbite and privation associated with campaigning through the winter, the arrival of the Spi Ouest Regatta over the Easter period signals that it is time to dust off those oilskins and head out once more onto the racecourse. For anyone who loves a regatta, this is the big one, for in excess of 400 yachts descend upon the Brittany town of La Trinite Sur Mer for this great celebration of sail and you can bet your life that all of the sailors are champing at the bit after following the long winter lay off.
Given that the event is held in Quiberon Bay, essentially at the entrance of the notorious Bay of Biscay in the early spring, this can often be a boisterous affair which generally witnesses the kind of blood and thunder performances you would expect from a regatta which generally brings some of the crustiest and most reclusive old salts out of hibernation to have a crack at glory on the racecourse.
The regatta is now in its 36th year and is regarded as one of the unmissable events in the European racing calendar. There are few greater thrills than witnessing 400 plus yachts line up hull-to-hull and roar across the starting line into battle. Although the race is popular with some of the biggest teams in yacht racing, there is a pleasingly egalitarian feel to affairs as the regatta is open to any monohull over 7m with the relevant certificates. The regatta is also well noted for the excellent showing in some of the major one-design classes. If the racing is not enough for you, the town of La Trinite Sur Mer plays the perfect host to the event, offering plenty of Breton charm and excellent seafood to boot.
This is a great place to retire in the evening, catch up with old friends and foes from the racecourse, discuss last year’s campaign and plot future success over the upcoming season.