Published on 27 September 2021
Skippers’ pre-start sentiments
Jean-Marie Jezequel (951 – FondApro): “I feel in great shape. I’m really looking forward to setting sail, as is the case for everyone I think. The boat is ready and so am I. We’re going to get scooped up by a fairly bracing weather system for the first two or three days of racing, with the passage of a small transition at Cape Finisterre and then, if all goes to plan, we’ll schuss down to La Palma. I’m happy to have some breeze at the start and upwind conditions. That means we’ll all start out on a level playing field. The weather won’t play too many dirty tricks at the start and there’s not too much risk of time dragging. I like conditions which are a bit bracing so I’m very happy. It suits me down to the ground”.
Tanguy Aulanier (896 – La Chaîne de l’Espoir): “We’re setting sail later than planned because we’re having to wait for the front to roll through, but it won’t change much. However, what is worrying is the situation at the finish. Other than that, conditions are good. In principle, it’s going to be bracing and lively as we’re going to cop two low pressure systems, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t go smoothly”.
Franck Lauvray (346 – Alice): “Like everyone else, I’m feeling a little bit stressed by the first leg because we’re going to get pummelled by a big storm from the start. I’ll be wearing my drysuit. Luck’s not on my side as I’m the first to leave the dock. I’ll have two hours more rain in the face than them, but at least that way I’ll be psychologically prepared (laughs). My goal is to reach the finish of the first leg because if I don’t do that, I won’t be doing the second. We’re just going to go for it and try to get the boat making headway. I’ll do my best to get to the Canaries with a boat intact. The first few days will sort out the hierarchy, but as they say in Italy: chi va piano va sano e va lontano. Performance is one thing, but finishing is important too”.
Victor Eonnet (525 – Fondation Arthritis – Amiens Naturellement): “I feel really good, I’m ready. I think it’s a very good thing that the start was pushed back 24 hours so that we can all exit the Bay of Biscay with confidence. In principle, the first leg’s going to be intriguing from a strategic viewpoint. We’ll see how the weather develops over the next three to four days, but I’m keen to get down to business. I was told that we could be called upon to set sail from the Thursday before the start, so I was ready by Wednesday evening. Since then, I’ve just gone down to the boat to load my food, fill my water containers and stow everything one last time before setting sail. My primary goal is to reach the other side, with confidence and without breaking everything, so I can make the most of the second leg, even though we’re obviously always eager to finish ahead of all our mates”
Benjamin Doyen (618 – On The Road Again II): “We have to get going! Our only wish is to set sail! We’ve been here for ten days. We’re up for the challenge and this is what we’re here for. We’ve been waiting two years and now here we are just a few hours before the starting gun. We’re relieved that the start was delayed because otherwise, the first night out, we’d have had worse conditions than those we’ve encountered over the past two years so it wouldn’t have been easy on an emotional level. A small front will roll in 24 hours after the start. Fortunately, we’ll have time to get our sea legs. The boat knows the way, the sailor too, so we’re eager to be slipping along the coast of Portugal. My aim in the first leg is not to break and to finish. It’s not a very comfortable feeling not knowing where we’ll finish, but that’s also a peculiar feature of sailing that you know when you’re setting off but never when you’re getting there, so we’ll adapt. I think it’s stressing us all out on land, but once we’re at sea and we’re given the finish point, things will work out. We’re used to it”.
Benjamin Costa (796 – Mini Malist): “Inevitably there’s an element of apprehension. The start will be a bit difficult given the conditions we’re going to encounter, but it’s going to be fun from Lisbon onwards. I’m keen to be in amongst it. I’d really like to place well given the boat I have, but I know it’s important not to break everything at the start”.
Marc Claramunt (657 – Abicena): “I’m a bit nervous because it’s the first long race I’ve done, but I’m really looking forward to taking the start of the race. I think delaying the start was the right decision when you see the cold front rolling in. It would have made for a complicated first night otherwise. My boat is old, but I always try to do my best with the boat I have”.