Changing tack

Tame the tradewinds from home in the virtual New Caledonia Groupama Race starting 21 June.

Written by New Caledonia Groupama Race media
Photography by EyeFly Pacifique

15 June 2020


Sailors itching for some saltwater therapy now have the opportunity to compete in one of the toughest offshore races, around the largest UNESCO recognised lagoon in the world, albeit in the virtual world.

The virtual start of the 7th edition of the New Caledonia Groupama Race will take place on 21 June 2020 and, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands will be on the start line without a sailing jacket or bag in sight.

Sailors can experience the Groupama Race by challenging players from around the world online at the following start time: 6 pm in Nouméa, 7 pm in Auckland, 5 pm in Sydney and 9 am in Paris. The virtual race will offer some very real tactical options.

The 654-nautical-mile virtual regatta will race around the largest lagoon in the world aboard a Class 40. Participants can choose a three-day or a five-day course, concentrating hard and putting nerves to the test.


The real race will now take place in a year’s time, in July 2021.

Back in March, a hundred days before the start, host club Cercle Nautique Calédonien and the residents of Nouméa were ready to host the 7th Groupama Race fleet. Confronted with a catastrophic global health situation, organisers postponed the biennial race in paradise to June 2021.

The period of confinement has been, for many, an opportunity to train and sail virtually.

Attracting players and spectators, eSport has been a surprising hit: growth has been 50 percent higher than market forecasts.

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