HomeDÉFI AZIMUTDéfi Azimut : The promise of an epic festival

Défi Azimut : The promise of an epic festival

35 boats is a record line-up for what has become an unmissable event, which has continued to go from strength to strength since its creation. Now sold out, the Défi Azimut – Lorient Agglomération is the guarantee of an epic IMOCA festival in Lorient, Brittany from 19 to 24 September 2023. With less than three weeks until the challenge commences, we get the low-down on what we can expect and the organisation.

  • The first clash of 2023 with almost the full IMOCA line-up
  • A chance to discover the new duos and the stellar female and international contingent
  • A professional organisation that has stepped things up another gear
  • A modern, dynamic poster created by Isabelle Keller to reflect the values championed by the Défi Azimut – Lorient Agglomération

How will David Raison’s new foil-free design Stand as one fare against the flying IMOCAs? How much room for improvement is there between the well-honed Koch/Finot-Conq designs and the Verdier, VPLP and Manuard armada? What standard will the boats that competed in The Ocean Race bring to the competition? Will Corum’s transformation and new foils finally reflect the talent of her skipper Nicolas Troussel? What potential does Damien Seguin’s 2015 foiler Groupe Apicil have after being completely revamped this year? How will the youngster of the fleet, Violette Dorange, tackle her debut challenge in IMOCA…?

To answer all these questions (and many more besides!), we must head over to Lorient La Base from 19 to 24 September 2023. The Défi Azimut – Lorient Agglomération will be another dream opportunity to draw up a hierarchy of the duos formed in 2023 for this double-handed racing season, as well as gauge how much each of them has improved. Indeed, with such a high standard throughout the fleet, every victory counts in IMOCA. “This is where the 2023 battle commences confirms Antoine Mermod, class president. Most of the protagonists are in attendance, the new boats, those who competed in The Ocean Race, as well as those who have participated in the pre-season action. The Défi Azimut will provide a thrilling platform.”

New boats, new pairings, new poster!

The event will also provide an opportunity to discover the new pairings, who will colour play in November’s Transat Jacques Vabre and then the Retour à la Base. Of the 35 competing duos, 30 have formed this year and around half of those are new IMOCA skippers (including Violette Dorange, Niels Palmieri, Sophie Faguet and Félix de Navacelle). “When registration opened on 30 May, the server went into overdrive, enthuses Jean Marie Corteville, organiser of the Défi and CEO of Azimut computer solutions. We can sense that there’s real enthusiasm on the part of the sailors to get together again for our multi-format race. There are loads of new faces and we’re really looking forward to welcoming them.”

The list of entries reveals a strong international contingent (19 overseas entries) and no fewer than seven mixed doubles, some of whom may well be able to secure a podium position (Clarisse Crémer-Alan Roberts, Paul Meilhat-Mariana Lobato, Samantha Davies-Nicolas Lunven as well as Justine Mettraux and Julien Villion, to name but a few). This gender diversity has not escaped Lorient-based artist Isabelle Keller, who’s created an event poster whose colours she describes as “eyepopping, bold and flashy”, which reflect the approach adopted by the Défi.


  • Apicil (Damien Seguin / Laurent Bourgues)
  • Biotherm (Paul Meilhat / Mariana Lobato)
  • Bureau Vallée (Louis Burton / Davy Beaudart)
  • Charal (Jérémie Beyou / Franck Cammas)
  • Corum L’Epargne (Nicolas Troussel / Benjamin Schwartz)
  • Coup de Pouce – Giffard Manutention (Manu Cousin / Clément Giraud)
  • DeVenir (Violette Dorange / Damien Guillou)
  • D’ieteren Group (Denis Van Weybergh / Erwann Le Mene)
  • DMG Mori (Kojiro Shiraishi / Benoit Mariette)
  • Fives group – Lantana environnement (Louis Duc / Remi Aubrun)
  • For the Planet (Sam Goodchild / Antoine Koch)
  • Fortinet – Best Western (Romain Attanasio / NC)
  • Foussier – Mon courtier Energie (Sébastien Marsset / Sophie Faguet)
  • Freelance.com (Guirec Soudée / Roland Jourdain)
  • Gentoo Sailing Team (James Harayda / Stéphane Le Diraison)
  • Hublot (Alan Roura / Simon Koster)
  • Human (Antoine Cornic / Jean-Charles Luro)
  • Imagine (Conrad Colman / NC)
  • Initiatives Coeur (Sam Davies / Nicolas Lunven)
  • La Mie Câline (Arnaud Boissières / Gérald Véniard)
  • Lazare (Tanguy Le Turquais / Felix de Nacelle)
  • L’Occitane en Provence (Clarisse Cremer / Alan Roberts)
  • MACIF (Charlie Dalin / Pascal Bidégorry)
  • MACSF (Isabelle Joschke / Pierre Brasseur)
  • Maître Coq V (Yannick Bestaven / Julien Pulvé)
  • Malizia – Seaexplorer (Boris Herrmann / Will Harris)
  • Monnoyeur – Duo for a job (Benjamin Ferré / Pierre Le Roy)
  • Nexans – Arts & Fenêtres (Fabrice Amedeo / Andréas Baden)
  • Oliver Heer Ocean Racing (Oliver Heer / Nils Palmieri)
  • Paprec Arkéa (Yoann Richomme / Yann Elies)
  • Prysmian Group (Giancarlo Pedote / NC)
  • STAND AS ONE (Eric Bellion / Martin Le Pape)
  • Szabi Ocean Racing (Weöres Szabolcs / NC)
  • Teamwork (Justine Mettraux / Julien Villion)
  • V AND B – MONBANA – MAYENNE (Maxime Sorel / Christopher Pratt)


Tuesday 19 September 2023
14:00 – 17:00 hrs: ‘Societal engagement’ workshops
19:00 hrs: Invitation only opening ceremony

Wednesday 20 September 2023
10:45 hrs: IMOCA dock out
12:00 hrs: Launch of speed runs
19:00 hrs: Line closes
20:00 hrs: Speed run prize-giving (Baleine Déshydratée)

Thursday 21 September 2023
14:00 hrs: IMOCA dock out
15:30 hrs: Start of the 48H Azimut

Friday 22 September 2023
(invitation only)
From 09:30 to 16:30 hrs: “Artificial intelligence, on-board energy, foils in competitive sailing”
20:00 hrs: Tara conference
“We all have something from the ocean within us”

Saturday 23 September 2023
12:00 – 18:00 hrs: Arrival of the boats
10:00 – 17:30 hrs: Tour of Tara and the workshops
19:00 hrs: Prize-giving

Sunday 24 September 2023
11:00 hrs: IMOCA dock out
12:00 hrs: Start of the Tour de l’Ile de Groix round island race
17:00 hrs: Prize-giving for the Tour de l’Ile de Groix round island race

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