Indeed, Sébastien Josse has not forgotten that he owes a great deal to this famous round the world race with stopovers. In 2005-2006, he was the youngest skipper in history to have been entrusted with a Volvo boat and above all he was once again paving the way for French sailors in the event, the last such skipper being a certain Eric Tabarly! The Volvo was a key stage in his life as a sailor, as it was for Thomas Rouxel, his co-skipper and training partner in this year coloured by singlehanded sailing. Originally from Erquy in Brittany, the latter finished third in the 2014-2015 edition with Dongfeng Race Team and more recently has sailed aboard Brunel. It was during the leg across the Southern Ocean between Auckland and Itajai that the Dutch VOR masterfully took the win...
Tomorrow, the Volvo fleet will set sail on the last 700 miles of its 2017-2018 edition. A very short leg, but one where the atmosphere promises to be electric. Prior to this final leg to The Hague, three of the seven competitors are still in with a chance of outright victory, virtually tied on points at the top of the leaderboard... As such, the suspense is tangible and the tension will be at its peak on 24 June, the date the one-designs are expected to reach Holland. Sébastien Josse and Thomas Rouxel, enlightened observers of this perfect scenario, have kindly got embroiled in the game of predictions for us: “It’s kind of like the perfect goal this story! I have been thinking about all the teams, as it promises to be a really intense finish. The next days will be very intense for them, but that will make outright victory all the finer… Brunel is the crew to beat at the moment and they’ve racked up a massive amount of confidence over the past four legs. They’re solid and I greatly admire the way they’ve sailed at the end of this race. Mapfre, after dominating play at the start of this round the world, seems in contrast to be performing less well now… but they’re still in the game. Xabi Fernandez is a great sailor. Dongfeng has displayed impressive consistency for months and is always at the top of the table. All three clearly deserve to win, but my favourite has to be our ‘frenchies’ led by Charles! They’re honouring French expertise”, admits Sébastien Josse.
“It’s a very tough question! There is very little separating the teams at the finish of the long legs so imagine what it will be like for this one… There will be a massive number of moves to be played with a lot of localised effects and tides to negotiate... Anything is possible among the three and the fact that they’re virtually tied on points shows that they all deserve it. However things play out, the winner of this edition will be a very fine victor! Personally, Brunel seems to have the psychological advantage for the end of this race and has been very successful since their victory in Itajai. They’re sailing very well and confidently. But inevitably I have a lot of very good friends aboard Dongfeng and I’d like to see them win this Volvo,” explains Thomas Rouxel.