An industry of excellence for ocean racing

Every year, major nautical events draw huge crowds to French coasts and ports around the world. The fervour generated by ocean racing bears witness to a genuine fascination for these human and sporting adventures.

An industry of excellence for ocean racing

Lorient La Base: a key spot for ocean racing

Lorient La Base has become the centre of excellence for competitive sailing in France. A hotbed of technology and innovation, the “Sailing Valley” is home to companies specialising in the nautical sector, and boasts an exceptional infrastructure.

Its basin, dedicated exclusively to ocean racing, can accommodate large vessels in the Ultim, Imoca and Ocean Fifty classes, as well as Mini 6.50, Figaro, Class 40 and IRC. Sailing’s elite and the champions of tomorrow rub shoulders on a stretch of water sheltered by the island of Groix.

Installation of numerous TEAMS

At the beginning of 2023, Lorient La Base was home to 122 teams and skippers. In 10 years, 31 new boats have chosen Lorient La Base as their home port*.

From its pontoons, visitors can admire the spectacular boats and go further with a visit to the Offshore Racing Centre. Thanks to the webcam installed above the basin, you can admire the boats from a distance.

Economic spin-offs from the industry

The number of jobs has tripled in ten years, both within teams and with suppliers and service providers. Today, ocean racing represents 905 jobs* (teams, suppliers and service providers) in the region, with around 50 companies involved in boat and parts manufacturing, suppliers and equipment manufacturers, media and communications, engineering and expertise, services…

*Source: Audelor – Survey of professionals on the economic impact of ocean racing – April-June 2023

Support for sports projects and events

Located to the south of Lorient and at the entrance to the harbour, the site is also ideal for organising major nautical events, as evidenced by the prestigious races held here: Volvo Ocean Race, Solitaire du Figaro, Tour de France à la Voile, Défi Azimut, Le Retour à La Base…

Lorient Grand Large offers a range of support and training services for skippers, professional and amateur teams. The association has set up a training program dedicated to racers on boats in the Mini 6.50, Figaro 3 and IMOCA categories, including Class 40 and IRC boats, as well as training courses for professional crew and preparers.

Ocean racing: a sporting and human adventure

In the world of sport sailing, ocean racing occupies a special place. Rich in emotions and feats, this type of competition requires technical mastery, a steely mind and faultless physical preparation. Over the last few decades, ocean racing has grown in popularity, thanks in particular to the development of technologies that improve yacht performance and skipper safety.

What is ocean racing?

An ocean race is a sailing competition that takes place over long distances, usually several hundred or even thousands of nautical miles. The routes taken often cross different oceans and require manoeuvring in sometimes extreme weather conditions.

The different categories

  • Monohull racing: these boats have just one hull and are mainly used for offshore racing.
  • Multihull racing: as the name suggests, these boats have several hulls (catamarans, trimarans) and are renowned for their speed.
  • Crewed or solo racing: some races are contested as a team, others are reserved for skippers sailing alone aboard their yacht.

Boat types

The most popular races

Name of the raceDeparture pointCategoryCourseDurationCreation dateRace frequency
Vendée GlobeLes Sables-d’Olonne, FranceSolo raceAround the worldFrom 74 to 100 days1989Every 4 years
Route du RhumSaint-Malo, FranceSolo raceSaint-Malo to Point-à-Pitre, GuadeloupeFrom 6 to 14 days1978Every 4 years
Transat Jacques VabreLe Havre, FranceDouble handedLe Havre to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil until 2019
then to Fort-de-France, Martinique from 2021
From 7 to 20 days1993Every 2 years
Trophée Jules VerneOff the coast of Brest, between the Créac’h lighthouse on the island of Ouessant and the Lizard lighthouse.Crewed race (any number of crew on board)Round the world leaving to port the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape HornFrom 40 to 79 days1993Variable
The Ocean RaceVariableCrewed raceAround the world in multiple stagesFrom 8 to 10 months1973Every 3 years
Solitaire du FigaroFrom FranceSolo race
in 3 steps
From France to France9 to 14 days1970Every year

    Visits and activities at Lorient La Base

    Visits and activities at Lorient La Base