Dauris, the Master Of Maitre Coq

Jean-Marie Dauris
© Christophe Breschi

It's a lot of responsibility being captain?
Jean-Marie Dauris: "It’s not that hard depending on how you view these things. It's harder for the real boss who is the skipper, Yannick. I am here to make it all work, to make the boat work and to make his life as easy and straightforward as possible, and to ensure the boat is in perfect working order. And so, like that, Yannick can devote himself entirely to preparing for the races and making sure of a good performance. 

What is the structure of the operation just now?
J.-M. D.: We are currently relying on a number of different characters right now, some from Bilou’s team (Roland Jourdain) and the experience and expertise of his company, Kairos. Stan Delbarre is with us and he was the boat-captain when it still belonged to Kairos and he is a great support and is full of knowledge. When Yannick bought the boat it came with a support package to ensure the best transmission of knowledge and experience.  And on our side we are still building our own team still looking for a couple of specialists, electronics and rigging. In due course we should be four or maybe five. 

What is the recruitment procedure, who is looking after what?
J.-M. D.: Well really we do it together. We read CVs and draw a short list.  As a team Maitre-CoQ's technicians need to be real experts: I'm not a specialist in any one thing, what I do as boat captain is know a little bit about everything.

And you can’t tell Yannick about energy sources when he is the designer of the Watt & Sea hydrogenerators, which are on so many of the boats of the Vendée Globe fleet ...
J.-M. D.: Yes, it’s impossible! That is Yannick’s thing, he obviously brings a whole raft of knowledge.

What’s your current schedule?
J.-M. D.: Like everyone else, we are in the yard prepping for races, bu we have different things happening at the same time. The priority if to get as much sailing as possible. We spend a lot of time on the water. With Yannick we agreed that before even thinking of changing anything on the boat, it is necessary to know how to use it and then improve on it. In general a solo racer can make about 80% of the performance of an IMOCA60. If we manage to get to say 83 or 85%, the performance increase will be important for a transatlantic or a Vendée Globe.

What is your typical day just now?
J.-M. D.: We are at the boat at 8:30 am at the boat, preparing so we can leave the dock as soon as possible, We optimize the sailing time to ensure we acquire as much performance data as we can. Then back to shore clean up and prep the boat and is it is not too late in the day Yannick and all of us on the team will do some sports, because he has to be good and fit. To be fair life is relatively simple these days.

What does your job list look like?
J.-M. D.: It evolves. First priority are the main alerts, things needing fixed or changed. From there I break the list into different phases, so needing to be done in the next two weeks, to be done in the  medium term and in the long term. As big changes to the boat are not on the agenda, it remains pretty simple. But I know from experience that does not last. 

You have been in the America's Cup and you have also sailed on ORMA trimarans. Is it easier to manage an IMOCA?
J.-M. D.: It's certainly more complex than in the Cup because an IMOCA60 team is inherently smaller and more restricted. In essence we are the same people who sail and who do the boat work. The Cup teams have a shore team and within that team there is a specialist dedicated to every area of the boat. For example a keel system is something I did not have to work on or be responsible for in the Cup. But of course there are still a lot of similarities, there are carbon composites and there are sails. But now look at the Cup boats and the levels of technology now and all their systems. It must be much less fun.

With the purchase of an IMOCA60 there is usually a whole encyclopaedia  of information, technical road-books ...
J.-M. D.: Listen, Kairos did us proud. And we have inherited a lot of information from the former Safran team. We have books and guides to all the procedures, all the settings and methodology, the outlines of what to do in the case of breakages, all the possible break downs and and the answers. This alone saves us a lot of time especially as the boat is well prepared and already well developed. It And really because we have all this done and in hand then we can afford for Yannick to go sailing so much. The hard work before and informational package that has come to us gives us the freedom to do what we need to now. 

What is the boat-captain’s nightmare? 
J.-M. D.: Of course it is when things happen and we are there at hand to manage it. Imagine that the skipper is racing solo and something develops, a breakage he cannot deal with directly. That is  the nightmare. So we try to second guess and predict problems. But there you are, we all know that sailing is a mechanical sport, and that things break. "

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Jean-Marie Dauris
Boat-captain of Maitre-CoQ
46 years old, born in Nouméa
Pro in sailing since 1992

Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in soling (with Philippe Presti and Pascal Rambaud).
Trimmer aboard the ORMA Banque-Populaire trimaran (2000-2004)
Bowman of the Areva Challenge on the 2001-2002 Cup
Bowman China Team and boat-captain on the 2004-2005 Cup
Bowman Internet Team Germany on the 2005-2007 and 2007-2008 Cups
Bowman andin charge of mast and rigging at K-Challenge then ALL4One (2009-2012)
Responsible for the nautical base in New Caledonia 2014 to 2018

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