This annual keelboat event is totally organized by students for students. It's also on a mission to help sailing. Here's a report by French student Nicolas Degroote:
“The EDHEC Sailing Cup in Les Sables d’Olonne, France is the leading student sporting event in Europe. Year after year, the aim of the event remained the same: broaden the sport of sailing.
For a long time, sailing and especially keelboat sailing, has been associated with elitism. Several reasons can explain it. First of all, sailing is associated with elitism because it is a sport hard to understand and especially how a regatta works. Sailing is not attractive for non-sailors; even just for watch.
Then, sailing can be associated with elitism because the sailing world is a closed world. It is a world composed of passionate people and professional sailors, with a technical jargon. In short, it is not always a welcoming world at first sight. Finally, sailing is also a sport with many techniques and know how. Technical skills can reject beginners or non-sailors that may have been interested.
However, some organizations are trying to break this image of elitism and broaden the sport of sailing. Among them is the EDHEC Sailing Cup - the leading student sporting event in Europe. Now celebrating its 46th year anniversary, the event in part as it has always pursued the same goal: broaden the sport of sailing. To achieve that goal, the EDHEC Sailing Cup is trying to limit the reasons of the elitism vision of sailing.
First, the organization authorizes student crews to compete with the help of professional skippers to help beginners to take part in the regatta. Every year, a lot of students coming from all around the world sail for the first time in this international competition, thus discovering the world of sailing.
For instance, last year a Belarussian crew got on a boat just before the regatta for the first time of their life, and successfully competed in the event. During the event, total beginners can live the same experience as professional sailors and have a first glimpse of the sailing world from the inside, and make a breakthrough in this “closed” world.
To enable as many persons as possible to discover the sailing world, the EDHEC Sailing Cup also organizes other sporting competitions such as the Land Trophy (a multi-sport raid) and the Air Trophy (a windsurf and Kitesurf contest). All the competitors are gathered on the same village of 12,000 square meters. During the week of competition they share unforgettable moments with the participants of the Sea Trophy (the regatta) and can get a foothold in the sailing world.” The International J/80 One-design class is supporting this event with twenty-seven boats— available for charter for 3,450 Euros! Check it out here- http://www.ccedhec.com