Why did you decide to sponsor a Vendée Globe skipper?
Everything started when we met Samantha and Romain Attanasi. We discovered sailing with them on the Figaro. Then, we made the decision to support Sam on this crazy project. Step by step, along with other partners, we’ve made this project possible. It matches Savéol’s core values. Our roots are in Brittany, a region where people share the love for boats, sea and nature. The weather is part of our everyday life. We can draw a parallel with life at sea, being connected to nature, and our market gardener job, also very connected with nature.
Besides your core values, do you think sailing is an interesting sport in terms of sponsorship?
We could measure it through our experience in Figaro. We had very interesting feedback in terms of communication because people tend to link professional athletes and their sponsors. Especially now, with the new communication tools. We use video on the boat, which enables people to live what happens at sea. It’s very important for us to communicate like that. We even decided to replace TV commercials with sailing sponsorship.
You’ve worked with Sam for three years. Why did you pick her instead of another skipper?
Our story is a simple one, it started with Sam choosing our products in the last Vendée Globe. Many of the farmers we work with noticed it and after the end of the race, they realised she could be a great ambassador for our products. That’s one of the reasons why we chose her. Besides, at the end of the 2011 Figaro season, Sam didn’t have enough money and in September, we met with her and Romain Attanasio. He suggested we continue with Sam. Back then, many skippers were looking for partners, even some who had more efficient boats and more experience. But we thought Sam was the ideal person to represent our company’s value.
« A breath of fresh air for our group »
Sam is the only woman in this seventh edition of the Vendée Globe. Does that give a different dimension to your project?
When we picked Sam, there were several women who wanted to participate in the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe. Only one will actually do it and I think she would have loved to have other female competitors in the race. But they just couldn’t find the money and the partners. So obviously, we didn’t choose Sam because she was the only woman, we’ve worked together, she spent several days visiting our farmers, the staff and our organic vegetables farms. She loved it, and it created a strong bond between us.
What is your relationship with Samantha like?
She’s very close to our staff, she knows everybody. She’s like home with us, she’s family.
Have you talked about objectives?
No, we don’t want her to feel pressured, we just want to support Sam throughout her three-month adventure. What we’re asking her is to sail around the world as fast as she can but, most of all, we want her to stay safe. We have chosen to work hard on making the boat as safe as possible, we’ve spent a lot of money on that, as well as on the new keel. We chose to go for a very solid hull, too, so the boat is as safe as she can be.
Do you feel support for Sam from the Savéol staff, do they feel involved in the project, especially so close to the start?
It’s like a breath of fresh air for our group, our farmers, our staff and our clients. We can already see how interested everybody is. And Sam’s being English, it gives our project a real European dimension.
What would you like to add as a conclusion?
We have an outstanding Ambassador and we wish her all the best for the upcoming race, which is going to be a difficult one. But we also hope she’ll enjoy it all. Beyond the race in itself, I know she can appreciate the kind of magic only the Vendée Globe can bring. It means a lot to us, too.