We are delighted with this second place. We’ve often given up positions every place counts in every race. It’s a battle that can be turned around at any time. We are especially happy with our result at the Bol d&Or where we led the race four times and finished on the podium, but it came down to very little. To finish first in the last Grand Prix of the season and for the first time is a source of great satisfaction!
The team is very well broken in, and the roles are well defined. I’m at the helm, and I have Pierre Pennec as number 2, who looks after the mainsail. Pierre plays the role of performer, he makes the boat move forward and ensures that everyone is well coordinated. As project manager, he leads the team. Bruno Barbarin is our new tactician. Thierry Briend is the fore sail trimmer, so he also has a key role in regulating the boat’s speed. Téva Plichart and Alexis Rochat steer and manage the front of the boat.
Steadiness is the key to success. Regular training sessions allow us to develop automatisms and have a good team spirit. We always have to make sure we keep it going. Finally, winning is also about setting up a project, building a team, knowing how to motivate and lead it.
Every year we refurbish the boat pretty much. This year we renewed the mainsail and the jib. Many other works have been done on the boat, but I prefer not to go into details so as not to give away our game, as the preparation of the boat also enters a lot into the challenge.
It’s been a really nice long race, as it’s been 14 hours non-stop. We constantly had to race, we took the lead several times, but the wind was systematically coming back from behind, a rather rare phenomenon. We fell into the poles, and all the competitors had a chance to catch up with the leaders. It was “match racing” throughout the race, or we passed Alinghi four times, for example, and they came back from the race each time, even to the finish line where we were one meter ahead of them having taken a priority on starboard.
In the beginning I preferred the big races, which are always beautiful events. But nowadays the grand prix are competitions that I appreciate more because of their dynamism. They are races in twelve heats, real competitions more intense with more contact phases where you can really measure yourself against the other competitors.
2019 is going to be a pivotal year, we have a project for a new boat: the TF35, which is a prototype that we decided to launch with ten other competing people. It’s the successor to the D35, which will fly on foils and reach much higher speeds – up to 40 knots. It’s a bit of a crazy project, but a project for the future that will bring together several crews to innovate together. On the other hand, 2019 will be the last edition of the D35 challenge as we know it in classic archimedean racing.