Ready to go at the Route Halifax Saint-Pierre

Luc Coquelin, skipper, Saint-Pierre en Bessin
Jean-Christophe L'Espagnol
The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron is humming with activity this week as boat crews arrive in advance of the start of Route Halifax Saint-Pierre 2012 on July 8th. Twenty-seven boats are expected to leave Halifax on Sunday at noon on the 360-mile race to the French island of Saint-Pierre off the coast of Newfoundland.

The competition will be sizzling between the five yachts in the IRC division. One is a first-time entry, but handled by a highly-experienced sailor. Luc Coquelin of Guadeloupe is carrying the colours of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon in the race and has renamed his Top 50 'Saint-Pierre en Bessin' for the occasion. The veteran sailor with several podium finishes in the Route du Rhum and numerous Trans-Atlantic races will face an experienced field. Larry Cohen of Gloucester, Virginia has won the IRC class once before on the Route Halifax Saint-Pierre with his Swan 48 'Dawn Treader'. Other entries in the IRC class include Bella J, skippered by Ray Rhinelander from the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club, and Défiant, a Farr 40 owned by Jean Trottier of Marina Ville de la Baie, Lac St. Jean, Quebec. The RNSYS boat in this class is an extremely fast Soto 40 Helm's Deep, skippered by owner Mike Sutton.

In the PHRF racing division, an RNSYS boat will try to repeat a recent win in the Newport to Bermuda race. 'Dogsled' was the St. David's Lighthouse Class 4 winner and the foreign yacht recognized as having the best results in the Race. Skipper Todd Barnard is hoping his crew can repeat their success in RHSP 2012.

Nine skippers are new to the race. There aren't any boats that have participated in each of the six editions of Route Halifax Saint-Pierre. The field includes one American, four from Saint-Pierre et Miquelon (France), nineteen from Nova Scotia, and two from Newfoundland. Race tracking is being handled by Yellowbrick. You can find the link active after the start on July 8th on the Race website: http://www.routehalifaxsaintpierre.com/