Sailboats prepare to compete in the Transat Québec Saint-Malo

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Photo: Steve Deschenes (courtesy of Transat Québec-Saint Malo

Sailboats prepare for the departure of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo in Louise Basin.

"There is excitement in the air! Just a few days to go before over two dozen ocean-going sailboats depart from Quebec City in the competition to reach Saint-Malo, France. From July 2 to July 13, the cities of Quebec and Lévis are hosting festivities that will show thousands of visitors the fascinating world of racing on the high seas.

Twenty-six sailboats from six countries as exotic as Japan and the Sultanate of Oman are ready to set sail for the trans-Atlantic race. The 9th Transat Québec Saint-Malo will include famous ocean-racing skippers Gilles Lamiré and Thibault Vauchel-Camus, winners of the last Transat Bakerly, a solo race from Plymouth, England, to New York City, and two Ultimate Class trimarans, one of which is the world's biggest, the eagerly anticipated 131-foot Spindrift 2.

Twenty-four of the sailboats will depart on July 10 at 1:00 p.m. A staggered start is planned for the two Ultimate Class trimarans on July 12 at 3:00 p.m. They will be attempting to beat the seven-day, 20-hour record set in 1996 by Loïck Peyron on Fujicolor II.

"With such an impressive list of participants, the 9th edition will without a doubt be memorable," said Sylvain Gagné, president of Voile internationale Québec. "We are once again very proud to share with the public the excitement of preparing for departure."

From July 2 to 13, spectators will be able to visit Transat Village in the Old Port of Quebec City, where they can rub shoulders with the crews preparing for the big event, feast their eyes on the impressive racing vessels and make the most of the on-site activities to learn about the wide world of sailing. Specialist nautical exhibitors, a family zone, and a floating bar are just some of the highlights. And let's not forget the Quai Paquet Village on the Lévis side of the river, which has events planned from July 8 to 10.

For the departure from Quebec City, the recommended observation points are the Parc de la Jetée with a view on the starting line, Transat Village in the Old Port, Dufferin Terrace, Saint-Denis Terrace and the south shore of Île d'Orléans.

Thanks to http://www.georacing.fr/sailing/ it will be possible to follow the progress of the sailboats across the Atlantic in real time. And that's not all: from July 11 to 25, on the Transat website, the teams will be sharing audio clips live, directly from sea, as well as their daily logs so people can immerse themselves in life at sea as if they were on the boats with the teams.

All the details of the program and information about the teams are available on the  transatquebecstmalo.com website.