The skipper of SMA, Paul Meilhat, will be taking Michel Desjoyeaux aboard with him for the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre between Le Havre and Itajai. After working together for several months, the most recent trips together confirmed that the two sailors worked well together. Interview with the two sailors, who gave us their opinions about the battle they expect with the boats with and without foils.
Q: Was it simply the logical choice for the two of you to come together for the Transat Jacques Vabre?
© JM LiotPaul Meilhat: “It wasn’t something that was pre-determined. We worked and sailed together and all of these experiences brought us to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do. Michel is someone, who enjoys passing on his knowledge about technology which makes him an excellent partner for me. Michel’s expertise in the areas of boat design, technology and boat building is recognised by everyone and I can take full advantage of that.”
Michel Desjoyeaux: “To start with, we had to ensure that we could work well together. You have to find a balance. I have to allow Paul to progress and not take over.”
Q: So how exactly do you find that balance?
PM: “Above all, it’s a question of trust. We saw that we work in perfect harmony. Gradually, I’m settling in and Michel lets me take care of things more and more often.”
MD: “Trust is something that doesn’t come with a click of your fingers. It’s a mysterious mixture of elements. The combination worked out for us, so it’s perfect. The goal is after all for us both to enjoy ourselves on the boat.”
Q: SMA will be competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre against new generation boats fitted with foils. How do you feel about that?
PM: “We have to look into that possibility. For the time being the boats with foils are in the discovery phase and it’s too early to know whether the gains will be as great as people hope. But in the long term, it is likely that foils will change the way we sail.”
MD: “For the moment, we need to remain cautious, as the boats are still being developed. In principle, we can’t ignore what is going to be a major technological step forward in the coming years.”
Paul Meilhat's SMA leavs the yard via VendeeGlobeTV