Amélie Grassi, a member of the Biotherm crew, tells us about the start of the race from on board.

You have been leading this stage for a long time, and now Guyot environnement - Team Europe has taken the lead. Was the strategy to stay in the lead as you approached the Doldrums, and then slow down as you came in?

"It's always a challenge to get to the Doldrums first because you're the first to go, which was the case for us, so you have to choose your approach, more East, more West... We decided to go more West but reasonably, and it's true that Guyot environnement - Team Europe, who was coming back from a little further behind, chose to cut the cheese and go more East, which often makes you want to do it, but which may seem a little risky but it went really well for them.

It was hard to slow down in the Doldrums, especially since it was a bit long, but there were no real squalls, but it was thick and the light wind lasted a long time.

We still have a long way to go, so we are quite happy with our negotiation of the Doldrums, which allows us to come out second, and with a position that suits us well. We still have 3,000 miles of playground left, so that still leaves plenty of room for a bit of fun, it's not over!"  

© Anne Beauge / Biotherm

What do you miss the most after a little over a week at sea?

"I would say that at sea what I miss the most is the food. I like to eat, it's always complicated to stick to freeze-dried food. We have done a fairly light provisioning for this double leg Alicante Cape Verde then Cape Verde Cape Town, so we do not have many small pleasures on board, it is rather an effective provisioning. That's what I miss the most. I can't wait to get back to the little culinary pleasures."  

What is your source of motivation on a daily basis?

"We've only done a very small piece of a very big race so we could tell ourselves that there's still a mountain to climb, but that's not my mindset at all. At sea, I tend to take the challenges and live from day to day. On the other hand, when it comes to the strategy, we plan ahead, but when it comes to life on board, for the daily challenges, it's important not to think about the end, otherwise the race is never-ending.

For the moment, I'm not thinking about the end at all, I'm enjoying each day to the full, they are all very different! It's not boring at all, there's no repetition, in any case there are always hazards, small repairs, changes of wind or course... The days go by, I don't see the time passing and I'm enjoying it!"

© Anne Beauge / Biotherm

The first leg was difficult, partly because of the strong wind conditions after the start. How is this leg going? Is it as difficult because of the light winds and increasing heat?

"For now this second leg is less difficult than the first one where we really suffered in terms of living conditions on board. This time, the conditions on board were very pleasant at the beginning of the race. The new difficulty now is the heat. 
We have little means of ventilation on board, so it's a challenge. We have to be careful to drink well, to continue to want to eat and to stay focused on the trajectories.

I think we're in for another two days of high heat and the fan has come back on a bit so it's nice to have some cooler air!"

© Anne Beauge / Biotherm

Today the IMOCA's are racing as crews, do you think we will be seeing more of this?

"We feel that we still need to get our bearings to sail with a crew on this boat, which was not designed for that at the outset. We're a bit cramped, but we're getting used to the idea on board Biotherm. Paving the way and exploring this new concept is always exceptional, and I must admit I'm quite taken with the idea at the moment.

It's great, it mixes both the habits of solo sailing that we have on this type of boat, but with all the richness and precision that sailing with a crew brings, because we necessarily push the boats more than we do solo or double-handed." 


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Une publication partagée par Amélie Grassi (@ameliegrassi)