Charlie Dalin, Sébastien Simon and Nicolas Troussel all tasted high levels of succss on the Figaro circuit before graduating to their respective new IMOCA projects. All are hard driving solo skippers, whose raw talent has been proven. Now in the quest for perfection and tro return a potentially Vendée Globe winning performance they have each aligned themselves with past champions .
François Gabart, the collaborative way
One Ultim, two Figaro, one IMOCA. That is the MACIF insurance group's fleet which is managed by François Gabart who became the youngest winner of the Vendée Globe in 2012.
"When it came to 'integrating Apivia, Charlie Dalin's project, we wondered about the best possible support strategy. After discussion with Charlie, we decided that the most effective plan was to mobilise the team that had worked on our winning programme for the Vendée Globe 2012. But we wanted to go further. Charlie and his team are involved in all the decisions of Mer Concept. We are more of a collaborative, interactive management than to a simple vertical, top down transmission of ideas and planning. The idea here is that everyone can contribute to the development of the various projects as they progress all the way through. That is on the project management side but there is the ongoing advice and ideas that François Gabart brings to Charlie Dalin all the time on an informal basis. "It is things like Charlie has never been to the Southern Ocean and so I try to help with the ideas and questions he might be asking himself.
It is important for Southampton trained naval architect Dalin that his strengths and background are part of the mix. "It was important for me to be on a lateral, collaborative project. I think this is the best way to get the best from everyone. There are differences in the way you manage and build an IMOCA now and an Ultim. We talk about electronics, energy management, pilots, the problems that may happen and try to circumvent them. . And here with Mer Concept, one can develop dedicated design office roles which could not exist in a typical single project IMOCA team. And my training as an architect is integrated and key in this team. It is very stimulating to work in this environment. "
Michel Desjoyeaux: one track
Between Michel Desjoyeaux and Nicolas Troussel the relationship is based on he design and build of his boat. "For now, Nicolas just asked us to build his monohull for the Vendée Globe. Knowing that he is on a particularly tight schedule, we try to put all we have learned into refining the project and keeping it on schedule. We are at the beginning of our collaboration; the idea is to find a mix of our different ideas and opinions. It is the same for Nicolas Troussel: "For the moment, the contract with Mer Agitée is limited to the construction of the boat. It will give us time to get to know each other better, to see if we still want to go on together once the boat is on the water. Our shared desire is to build a high-performance boat working closely with Juan K. The three cornered team formed by Corum, the Mer Agitée and the architect share the objective to win, and together and individually we can't hope for anything better than that."
Vincent Riou, input at all levels.
Current La Solitaire du Figaro champion Sébastien Simon and his mentor/project manager Vincent Riou have just crossed the Atlantic in pursuit of the the Route of Discovery monohull record. The reference time escaped them by a few hours.
"The goal is that Sébastien learns to work the boat safely and efficiently with good processes and techniques. And I enjoy seeing him learn and improve with the current boat which in itself is quite technical. After this Seb will sail 'solo' back to Brittany before participating in the Bermuda 1000 Race.
"I think I will be one of those who will have sailed the most miles at the start of that race. And I want to be there with a chance to perform, nor just to be there to learn. "
From the design office to sailing together, the relationship between them strengthens.
Simon says, " I am so pleased at the way things are going. One of the initial things I went to Vincent for was that I felt that the technical and financial aspects of a project like this were such that I absolutely had to rely on someone with experience. Vincent had the right profile. In addition, I respected and liked him as a person. That's how the story started. And in fact as he was on board that actually secured my project with my partners."
In July, Sébastien Simon take charge of his new machine. Vincent's IMOCA will be in the hands of Kevin Escoffier who will race in the colours of PRB in the next Vendée Globe. So a new technological adventure for Arkéa-Paprec looking to be on the podium and the PRB story goes on.