With a programme which was always designed to be late but carefully managed at a high level Nicolas Troussel still finds himself in at the deep end. But despite the tight timings to prepare for his first Vendée Globe aboard the latest to be launched new generation IMOCA, nothing seems to phase the double winner of the Solitaire du Figaro.
Do you have any particular fears for your first Vendée Globe?
I suppose a bit like everyone else, big storms, floating objects… We are going to experience difficult times on our boats which are a bit extreme for a solo sailor. Bu we have prepared as best we possibly can with the Corum Sailing team to face all these possibilities. We are up to our schedule, our timing. We made some big choices such as not participating in the other pre-season races to really focus on this round the world race so I hope we made the right decisions. We put everything in place to get here. We tested the boat to the max. We had some problems, but that is just like everyone else. The whole team reacted very well. I believe these things make us stronger! I'm pretty calm, but for all that these are still racing boats, prototypes So we are still all keeping our fingers crossed.
How do you see yourself in the race? Do you visualise racing like a skier on a downhill or slalom course?
Yes it is really very similar. The skier will imagine his track for a quarter of a second. Us, it will be more like: "the first six hours are going to unfold like that, we will change sails, gybe here, get wind there...". We do that a lot, with a firm idea of timing because this race is really long, so you plan to the equator after so many days, then getting to the Southern Ocean in so many days, the Kerguelens and so on. We don't do it all the way of course, but just visualise the first bit. I think it's important to understand fully the whole race course and what happens where.
Spending so much time alone on a boat is also a new personal challenge for you?
I have spent a maximum of 23 days alone on a boat, crossing the Atlantic in Figaro. I have prepared for this by making sure I feel good in my boat. So that I can "escape" a bit too sometimes, because it's going to be long!
How do you escape?
I have lots of podcasts, some music. Mostly podcasts. Really very diverse stuff, it allows me to think of something else. What's great is that you can stay and listen, while being in front of the navigation screen, ready to intervene on deck. In this way, we put ourselves in a bubble.
Tell us about your dream team?
The project was put together by Greg Evrard and myself. Greg left North Sail to become a project manager at Corum Sailing. Together, we have built a team. I wanted to surround myself with good sailors to fast track our progress (including Nicolas Lunven, Sébastien Josse,). The boats are so complex! You need sailors who know foiling and at the same time, we understand each other well, we speak the same language, it is easier to go fast forwards. We also have a technical team that comes to sail with us. The emphasis was on long passages to spend as much time as possible on the water.
Can we talk about this cockpit, it is, shall we say, BIG!
It is because of the choice we made to design a deck that includes the roof of the boat. This choice allowed us to make a very large cockpit, very spacious and also very safe because it feels like a cocoon. You can close the back or open it. When the boat is going very fast you really feel safe in here which you kind of appreciate.
If you had a magic wand that let you grant a wish instantly, what would it be?
This very moment? Well to be already on November 8th and skip the three weeks of waiting when the pressure is only mounting! It's okay for now, but I know the pressure will go up and up. If we could skip the last week we will say, that would be good!