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!
Vincent Riou (PRB): "Things are done in a very natural way aboard the boat. Each of us knows what needs to be done. Both of us have a great deal of experience on these types of boats. It’s a professional sport, which we’ve been professionally training for since the start of August for two or three days a week. Each of us knows our place during the manœuvres, how to go about things to get them done and the effective actions that need to be carried out to ensure everything goes smoothly… In short, I’d say that both of us have a very practical approach to things. Sometimes though, in solo configuration, this highly pragmatic approach isn’t always enough to be sure you’re making the right decision. At that point the fact that there are two of us becomes an advantage, because you reflect on things better and the decision-making is fuelled by this confrontation, which is reassuring given that I fully trust in Jean’s ability to make the right choices, whether technical or strategic… it’s a prerequisite in any case. Despite the deep-rooted friendship between Jean and I, despite the seafarer’s journey we have both been on since the Vendée Globe, I would never have chosen Jean if I had any doubt whatsoever about his ability to get the best out of the boat. Furthermore, even though we complement each other, it’s also essential that we are interchangeable".