Jean-Pierre, you have just qualified for The Transat and the Vendée Globe, how do you feel?
“It’s fantastic with more than eight months to go to the start of the Vendée Globe. These winter training sessions have enabled me to get back into the swing of what it is really like when racing alone and having to face various problems. It’s taught me a lot. I know how far I can push the boat, how to make regular checks and deal with the little technical problems, as they arise. I’ve learnt how to sleep in an infernal racket, etc... I’m pleased with this session. I have been hard at it and kept up good average speeds with days clocking up more than 400 miles.”
How do you feel about your StMichel-Virbac?
“I’m beginning to get to know my boat better and judging how to use the right sails. All these details add up and in the end, I have managed to keep up better speeds on my StMichel-Virbac than on my previous boat. Today, I feel more confident. I have sailed in winds going up to 35 knots. StMichel-Virbac accelerates and slows down very quickly too. She slams a lot and these flying IMOCAs feel different. The fact that the boat rises up thanks to the foils puts a lot of pressure on the hull and the sailor!”
Have you any stories to tell us about your training?
“When I climbed up the mast, I went through those painful moments in the Vendée Globe: preparation, calling ashore to tell them I was going up and the climb itself is always stressful. Except this time, it was for training purposes. Apart from that, this trip around the various islands in the North Atlantic, the Canaries, Cape Verde and the Azores was magical: you can really smell the air coming off the Cape Verde islands, sail close to Horta and then there was the return to Lorient after two months of sailing…”
You can watch footage of Jean-Pierre here filmed during his training off Portugal (in French).