Given the late receipt of their steed – on 25 October 2011 –, the men from Gitana Team were duty bound to make the very best of every one of the remaining months leading up to the first event of 2012, the start of which will take place on 7 July in New York. As such it’s impossible to overlook the winter months, which are traditionally dedicated to refits or haul outs. Sébastien Josse discusses the decision to relocate the team a few miles further South of their port of registry: “Our decision to come and train in Agadir for a few weeks in the depths of winter is being backed up day after day. This is especially true when you look at the wave of cold weather sweeping across Europe, as it would have been impossible for us to get in some serious training in such conditions. Here though, we have all the necessary ingredients to link together days and hours of sailing: sunshine, summery climes and a thermal breeze which kicks in on a daily basis. Since our arrival, we’ve had some very varied conditions of between 5 and 30 knots of breeze. However, the sporting aspect wasn’t our only driver. We were also keen to make the most of this experience to unite the group and gain the cohesion which is essential for high performance. We’re learning to work with each other, as much aboard the boat as on shore with the shore crew”, admitted the satisfied skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group.
The crew of Véolia Environnement, which has the second one-design of the series, made her entrance into Agadir’s marina at the end of last week, Friday to be precise. Since then, the Gitana Team and their sparring partner have been racking up a good number of friendly confrontations off the capital of the Souss region. “Sharing everything with the competition” may surprise some, but it was a natural step forward for Sébastien Josse. “I’m among those who believe that we’re stronger together than alone. By sailing on our own around Agadir Bay for the first ten days, we’ve learnt a great deal about our onboard organisation and we’ve notably worked on communication and the coordination of manœuvres. However, without competition or references, the game isn’t complete. Confrontation is healthy and it enables you to make progress as we’re going to be pushing our limits. I’m delighted that Veolia Environnement was able to accept our offer”, assured the skipper of the latest Gitana craft.
To hone their preparation, the two crews are being supported by coach, Tanguy Leglatin. This 33-year old from Lorient, who has numerous feats of arms to his credit, notably in the last edition of the Mini Transat (podium place in the prototype and series), is creating daily exercises for them during the working sessions and he debriefs both crews every evening with the help of videos. A wise head and a fresh pair of eyes on the situation then, which perfectly complements the training programme set up in Agadir. Though the time on the water takes up the bulk of the working days, physical preparation isn’t something Sébastien Josse’s men are leaving to one side. As such, every morning, the crew makes the most of the beach and the promenade in this Moroccan seaside resort, to treat themselves to a few exercises: jogging, muscle strengthening of the torso and stretching punctuate the start of the day.
After a full week of coastal races, Edmond de Rothschild Group will head offshore from next Tuesday in order to test its oceanic configuration. At that point, there will be six rather than eight of Sébastien Josse’s men driving the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild.
The crew of the MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group in Agadir
- Sébastien Josse – skipper / helmsman
- Christophe Espagnon – tactician (inshore) – helmsman / trimmer (offshore)
- Antoine Koch – trimmer (inshore) – Navigator / helmsman / trimmer (offshore)
- Olivier Douillard – trimmer (inshore and offshore) – in charge of electronics and performance
- Thomas Rouxel – Midbow (inshore) – helmsman / trimmer (offshore)
- David Boileau – Pitman / mainsail trimmer (inshore) – helmsman / trimmer (offshore) – in charge of deck fittings and mechanics
- Florent Chastel – Bowman (inshore) – helmsman / trimmer (offshore) – in charge of the running and standing rigging at sea
- Cyril Dardashti – Grinder (inshore) – helmsman / trimmer (offshore)
The 2012 programme for the MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group
- Winter training in Agadir: from January to March
- Grand Prix de Douarnenez Guyader: From 3 to 6 May
- ArMen Race: From 18 to 21 May
- SNSM Trophy: From 1 to 3 June
- Krys Ocean Race (Crewed transatlantic race): start on 7 July from New York – ETA in Brest on 13 July
- European Tour (Crewed configuration): start from Kiel (Germany) on 2 September