Marseille – City and Port
Radiant in the sunshine the Notre Dame de la Garde church sits nearly 200 metres above the historic cityscape, an iconic basilica which overlooks the majestic, huge Vieux Port harbour where the Audi MedCup Circuit is based only metres from the front door of the Town Hall, but which is the most recognizable feature from the famous Rade Sud and Rade Nord race.
All Venues of the Audi MedCup 2011:
It is the fourth year that the Circuit has been to Marseille, returning year on year because of the almost unique combination of a reliable range of breezes, desirable location in the beating heart of the city, the city’s passion for all things sailing and watersports as well as the ease of access and sense of history and tradition which surrounds the Vieux Port.
Marseille has always looked to the sea and earned from the sea. It is a busy international port as well as a tourism centre, where cultures from all points of the compass meet.
The reliable winds are split between sea breeze and the regular visits of the Mistral.
Since 2008, when USA-17 won the Marseille Trophy in fulsome Mistral conditions, the legendary northerly wind has always presented spectacular sailing conditions.
Marseille is synonymous with the Mistral, it often blows for a couple of days at a time and it is not felt in other areas of Mediterranean Europe.
The sea breeze is usually in the region of 12 to 15 knots, or very strong Mistral often 20 knots.
Classical Mistral situation is with a low pressure going through over the top of Europe, an anticyclonic area over Spain and SE France, and small low pressure building in the Gulf of Genoa. The venturi effect of the Rhone valley in particular accelerates the force of the northerly wind, which can blow from the N and NW. The sea breeze is very reliable unless there is cloud cover or rain which does not happen often in June on Marseille.