First impressions of Marseilles Worlds venue on recon visit

After the 2012 SEIKO Europeans finished with a such a bang, I headed down to Marseilles to review the bid to host our 2013 World Champoinships.

The 2013 Worlds is going to be a special one for the class, as it will be our first worlds including the FX sailors.  With the growing 9er popularity and doubling the fleets racing, we are in for a big challenge to pull of the event as spectacularly as planned.

Guillaume, the french coach, picked me up from my hotel… and guess where he took me first… a venue they think will be good for the Theatre Style final day!  I’m guessing we’re on the same wavelength already!

The spot for Theatre Style is good.  It’s adjascent to a raised (probably 10m) pedestrian pathway.  The thermal breeze would be side onshore to it and the mistral would be sideshore.  Only the low pressure direction (side offshore) would not be amazing, so we were off to a great start. The water is med blue and there is enough depth for the racing.

Looking out at the bay, it’s really big… probably big enough for 6 off 49er courses so that is a good start.  The commercial traffic all goes to another port just to the North so there are no shipping lanes to worry us or put us at second priority.

Next up we went to the boat park.  This is where the French team trains from.  It is a huge U shape bay, with concrete sloped ramps from all directions and boat parking around those.  There is definitely enough room for up to 200 boats.  I asked how we keep the boats attached to the ground in a Mistral and they already have eyebolts built in for strapping down.  

There is lots of parking for cars, vans, trailers, and even campers (with power and water).  The jury room and press room will be big enough for those needs…

Now the biggie, internet.  They said that for big events they bring in a fibre optic cable to the site to put up a good network.  This week there is a stop over for the MOD 70 and the week after the World Match Race Tour, so that sounds workable.

We toured a local hotel (5 mins walking).  It has 90 rooms for 2/3/4 people ranging from 60-90 euros per night if you stay 10 days.  That includes internet and each room has a small but functional kitchen.  In between the boat park and the hotel are about 15 restaurants in a row, with everything from Vietnamese to street food. 

I’m going into the more detailed discussions this morning, but for first impressions, this place will be a great venue for such an important worlds for the class.