All the uniqueness of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo, from the Americas to Europe | Pirelli

All the uniqueness of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo, from the Americas to Europe


The Transat Québec Saint-Malo is more than just a regatta. It is a symbol of courage, determination and passion for sailing. It is an experience that changes sailors, an adventure lived and felt deep inside by everyone who takes part. It is a journey that challenges the limits of competition and performance, mixing the exhilaration of speed with the tension of ocean racing. Every four years, experienced and daring sailors gather in Canada, ready to embark on a crossing that is as much a test of skill as it is of mental and physical endurance.

It is one of the rare transatlantic races to take place from west to east, that is, from the Americas to Europe and not vice versa. Moreover, it is, yes, an ocean race, but for the first three hundred and seventy nautical miles it has a river course, because the city of Québec is not on the sea - technically, the start is between the cities of Québec and Lévis, in Canada - and the boats move by the great St. Lawrence River, a thousand-year-old witness to the presence of numerous native people in the region. Only later does the real challenge begin, the open sea, the true nature of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo, which winds its way along a route of some three thousand nautical miles, crossing the North Atlantic, with strong currents and unpredictable winds, aiming for the arrival in the English Channel, French shore, in the same Breton town from which the Route du Rhum had started. The route involves the passage of boats between the islands of Saint-Pierre (to starboard) and Miquelon-Langlade (to port), which make up Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (Overseas Collectivity of France), but no stopovers.

The boats face challenges with a very high level of difficulty: headwinds, high waves and the possibility of adverse weather conditions, avoiding icebergs at all costs. These conditions make each edition unique, with weather and sea dynamics that can vary enormously from year to year. The questions raise the difficulty level to the highest, every time. And it is not just a race of speed, but a test of strategy, endurance and the ability to make quick decisions. Sailors have to be prepared to navigate in changing conditions and to solve unexpected problems with all kinds of solutions in a timely manner. To meet such a challenge, one must be prepared to sail at night, cope with fatigue and maintain a high level of alertness for many days. Choosing the right course, managing resources and making the right decisions at the right time can make the difference between success and failure.

The start on 30 June 2024 will mark the tenth edition of the Québec Saint-Malo. Every four years since 1984, this legendary competition attracts sailors from all over the world, who compete in an epic adventure. And for the 40th anniversary of the regatta this year, a record number of participants are expected, also in view of the 20th anniversary of the Class40 - a category that will see Ambrogio Beccaria, on board his "Alla Grande Pirelli", as the main protagonist.

The history of the TQSM began thanks to visionary sea lover André Langlois, who wanted to commemorate Saint-Malo navigator Jacques Cartier's first voyage to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1534. Together with his friend Gaston Truchon, Langlois opened the dances on the 450th anniversary of the French explorer's first voyage, creating the first edition of this iconic regatta, an emblem of a special link between the New and Old Worlds.

The value of this race, however, goes far beyond the sporting dimension. It is an international maritime adventure in which the native people of the place of departure become in some way protagonists, with the collaboration of Tourisme Wendake. Learning and sharing the culture, tradition and customs of the local populations become part of the journey, with the involvement of artists and artisans representing the First Nations, who will testify to their resilience and whose stories and knowledge transcend generations. "The Transat Québec-St-Malo offers a unique opportunity to learn how to sail together, respecting and promoting the ancestral traditions and knowledge of native people," said Richard Samson, general manager of the Transat Québec-St-Malo 2024 and Alain Authier, general manager of Wendake Tourism.

Alongside the promotion of cultural diversity, another distinctive aspect of this regatta is its focus on the environment. The organisers promote sustainable practices and encourage participants to minimise their environmental impact. This includes the use of environmentally friendly materials, responsible waste management and raising awareness of the importance of marine conservation.

It is therefore an example of how sport, even when it is extreme, at the highest level of professionalism, can become a vehicle for learning and culture. It is an opportunity to learn, share and celebrate cultural diversity, offering participants, organisers, partners and spectators a unique experience that goes beyond mere sporting competition.