Sailing double-handed on a racing yacht is no small matter, especially when the course stretches some 5,400 theoretical miles (or 10,000km) and the weather conditions, are forecast to be difficult.
For these sailors, the majority of whom are widely experienced in solo sailing, deciding on their travelling companion can be tendentious and is sure to have considerable ramifications. How do you decide on a co-skipper? How are the skills and roles structured aboard? Imoca.org meets up with the Transat Jacques Vabre co-skippers, with a strong sense of foreboding that each duo is unique!
Guillaume Le Brec (Bureau Vallée): "I’d say that what enables us to complement each other, what gives us a strong bond, is first and foremost the intense desire to take the start of this race. The idea of sailing together in this Transat Jacques Vabre has gradually taken shape since the damage suffered by Louis (Burton) in the Vendée Globe. I helped him out a fair bit at the time. He didn’t have any immediate plans after his round the world, but both of us are keen to be at the start in 2016 and this transatlantic race was a good opportunity to continue training on a 60-foot IMOCA. We’ve never sailed against each other, we’re from the same generation… we don’t have any scores to settle, just a fine story to write!”
Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée): “I chose Guillaume because he already boasts a vast amount of professional experience. He’s participated in some very structured projects, particularly that of Virbac Paprec 3. He has a very professional approach to this type of project. We complement each other well in that regard. I know how to get the boat making headway while he’s very at ease with the navigation tools… He’s going to polish up the navigating massively, though the final decisions will be down to me. Added to that we’re paying a great deal of attention to communicating well with each other because for two solo sailors sailing double-handed, who go about things in a natural way, there’s always the risk that the same thing will get done twice. Aside from the energy aspect, you have to be as sparing of your time as you can so as to optimise the general level of efficiency aboard".