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Variable-geometry duos (2nd part)

Sailing double-handed on a racing yacht is no small matter, especially when the course stretches some 5,400 theoretical miles. Today Bernard Stamm & Philippe Legros.

Copyright : Christophe Favreau
Copyright : Christophe Favreau

Philippe Legros: “Bernard and I have known each other for a long time. We’ve been sailing against or with each other since 1999. I do a lot of ‘little’ races, over pretty short courses. I specialise in assessing a boat’s performance and I worked on Bernard’s latest IMOCA project just as it started taking shape, during the very design of the boat, in collaboration with the architects and then during a number of training sessions. I have a very technical approach, particularly in terms of the sail trimming. As such, that’s pretty much the area where I have a specific part to play. Bernard has passed on his vast practical experience aboard Poujoulat to me. He’s taught me some highly effective preparation and manoeuvring techniques.”

Bernard Stamm: “Racing double-handed is an advantage for me as someone who does a lot of solo sailing. In fact, during our training sessions, it’s good having a crewman observing what I do and seeing where I can improve and optimise my boat handling. On the other hand, having two people aboard can complicate the decision-making. We each have our own approach to the weather and our own techniques for preparing the navigation. We’ve training ourselves to compare our approaches and, in the event that we disagree, we make a detailed analysis of the reasoning behind our respective thoughts to find the exact point at which our thought processes differ and then reconsider the situation, even though it’s me who makes the final decision. In that instance, you need a co-skipper who is prepared to give his all to following the chosen option, even if it’s not the one he’d have gone with. We’re very clear about that. I know that I can count on Philippe 100%. I’m also in charge of the whole safety aspect. Here too, whatever decisions are made, they have to be quickly followed through on as the clock is ticking in a crisis situation.”


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