From Mont St Michel to the Seine Estuary, Lower Normandy has no less than 470 km of coast, bordering on the busiest shipping lanes in Europe. A crossroads of European influences, the Region also has at its disposal, thanks to its motorway network, access to the Atlantic on the one hand and Northern Europe on the other.
But above all, the Lower Normandy Region has been able to reconcile quality of life, conservation of places of natural beauty and economic development around the major urban centres of Caen and Cherbourg.
Lower Normandy is going through a period of rapid development of yachting activities. With around thirty marinas along its shoreline, it offers more than 10,000 berths and moorings.
The Manche Department has for several years now been engaged in an active policy to support and develop yachting and marine activities. It has therefore been involved in the modernisation and development of the harbours in Granville, Portbail and Carteret (more than 1,600 places). It has set up procedures to bring together all of those involved in the sector: boatyards, yachting harbours, sea sports. The Manche has two Yachting Centres in its territory (Cherbourg-Hague and Granville Bay-Chausey); the department is also an active member of the Atlantic sailing network, which aims to coordinate (aims at coordinating) European actions along the Atlantic coast concerning sailing activities.
At the heart of the Saire Valley, the Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue commune asserts a strongly independent nature as shown by the two Vauban towers at la Hougue and Tatihou, which are due to be ranked as world heritage sites by UNESCO. Above all a fishing port, Saint-Vaast benefits from shelter from the prevailing winds. That is why the port has developed an important fleet of trawlers and long liners, which sail off the Cherbourg Peninsula and in Seine Bay. The town is also well-known for its strong oyster-farming activity and the fine gastronomic renown of its oysters. Saint-Vaast asserts its maritime identity and has a reputation, which goes beyond the department's borders.
The Tourist Office welcomes the Raid Bleu Normandie. It is reponsible for the presence of many events in the town and the Saire Valley. The Office has contributed a lot to the fame of Saint-Vaast and Tatihou Island, with their examples of Vauban architecture.
The French Sailing Federation (FFVoile) is taking part in the organisation of the event, on the one hand by appointing the umpires and drawing up the race and safety texts, but also by collaborating with the Lower Normandy Sailing league and the Manche sailing commitee.
Ouest-France: The biggest circulation daily in France, Ouest-France is an unavoidable source of information for the whole of Western France. The daily newspaper sends its journalists to every important marine gathering, to offer coverage of the event.
Voiles et Voiliers: Voiles et Voiliers, the leading specialist magazine, is an absolute must for fans of sailing. Well established with a lively outlook, the publication, the leader in Europe and in France concerning sea sports, is the reference for those, who dream of speeding along in a steady breeze. Voiles & Voiliers will be publishing, as they do for the Vendée Globe, the official race programme.
Surfrider Foundation Europe: Surfrider Foundation Europe is a non-profit-making organisation (under the law of 1901), dedicated to the protection and promotion of the ocean, waves and the shoreline. The association was created in 1990 by some surfers, including Tom Curren, triple world champion. It brings together today more than 3500 members and local clubs in France and Europe. The Surfrider Foundation Europe brings together among its members people from all sorts of backgrounds, who share a passion for the ocean and the desire to protect the shoreline.
Partners to the event, they are supporting the Raid Bleu Normandie by offering equipment and services. A way to show the confidence they feel in the organisers in Saint-Vaast.
French Navy: Owner of the La Hougue fort, the French Navy has agreed to make it available to the organisers. An essential measure for the team, who will therefore have an unrivalled view over the sail area.
Saint-Vaast Bay Sailing Club: The Saint-Vaast Bay Sailing Club is of course involved in the organisation of the Raid Bleu Normandie. Its knowledge of the sail area and its local features will be one of the keys to the successful organisation of the event.
Port de plaisance de Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue: An obvious stopover between the Northern coast of the Cherbourg Peninsula and the harbours in Seine Bay, the port of Saint-Vaast enjoys not only an exceptional environment, but also benefits from the services of a modern harbour. The harbour extension work means that it can now offer more than 700 berths, around fifty of which are reserved for yachtsmen stopping over.
French Lifeboat Service (SNSM): The lifeboat station in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue is particularly dynamic in an area, which is always a tricky one for sailors. The Station has two boats at its disposal: a 10m50 boat and a 5m30 Zodiac… Thirteen volunteers, showing great skills, make up the station's crew.
DPPI: A photographic press agency that is known the world over, DPPI is offering the Raid Bleu Normandie some of their top photographers, who are specialised in marine photography.
Sodeb'O: Leader in the chilled foods sector, Sodeb'O offers a wide range of tasty, ready to eat products (pizzas, sandwiches, pancakes, ...). The family business, a loyal partner to ocean racing with their skipper Thomas Coville, has conveyed its values of sharing, respect and discovery through sailing since 1998.
ICOM: The world of racing is a very demanding one, where the boats, men and equipment are truly tested. ICOM's quality imperatives mean that our equipment is used by the racing fraternity. The quality of the event, the organising teams and the collaboration with a modern firm based around the values of sustainable development led to a partnership between ICOM and the Raid Bleu Normandie.