Between now and the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre, the IMOCA class has decided to share with you some portraits of the duos getting together for the double-handed transatlantic race. Today, we look at the duo made up of Romain Attanasio and Sébastien Marsset (Pure). A pairing made fairly late in the game, but which has already managed to find its feet.

The world of ocean racing is a small one. Romain Attanasio and Sébastien Marsset regularly bumped into each other now and again, but did not really know each other before they came together in August to pair up for the Transat Jacques Vabre.

“A pairing that has worked out well”

I had a very busy schedule early in the year and it took me a while to get around to thinking about who would accompany me as my co-skipper in the Transat Jacques Vabre,” explained Romain Attanasio. “I wanted someone who could perform well, as I plan ahead for the 2020 Vendée Globe. I have been spending a lot of time meeting up with my partners and I needed someone who could take care of things while I was absent and work on things that I simply didn’t have time for, but which are nevertheless important.” He came into contact with Sébastien Marsset via Team Vendée Formation. “Sébastien has done a lot of sailing with Franck Cammas. I called Franck, who told me that Sébastien was always ready to give it his all and work hard. I got him to come out sailing with me and it all fell into place very quickly. That’s how it all began,” said Romain.

Obviously, when Romain invited me to go out sailing with him, I was really keen. We soon understood that in general we both have the same way of sailing and that on a personal level, things would work out well. There’s a good atmosphere aboard and so I think the pairing has worked out incredibly well,” explained Sébastien, who thus has the opportunity to discover what IMOCAs are like after a wealth of experience in ocean racing (having in particular taken part in the Volvo Ocean Race, the Jules Verne Trophy, the Route du Rhum, the Solitaire du Figaro and the Mini-Transat…).

A little bit me, a little bit you

For Sébastien Marsset, this is an ideal way to get to know about IMOCAs, as he is sailing with someone who completed the last Vendée Globe and now has a more modern IMOCA, Pure, which was launched back in 2008 (ex Gitana Eighty, Synerciel, Newrest-Matmut). “Romain knows his boat like the back of his hand and it is of course a fantastic opportunity for me to learn alongside him. As for me, I can offer him my experience of other boats, in particular from crewed sailing and a slightly different way of doing things. I have also done quite a lot of work on the performance of boats, polars, routing and navigational software,” added Sébastien Marsset.
When Sébastien arrived, not only did he understand quickly how the boat worked, but he also came up with some solutions. That is exactly what I was looking for,” said a delighted Romain, who cannot praise his co-skipper enough. “Seb is a great chap, very open and easy to live with. He is always ready to work and is committed. You just have to mention something to him and he sets about doing it. Thanks to his crewed experience on big boats, he knows his priorities. He does have one huge problem…he spends all his time eating and gobbles up huge quantities of food,” joked Romain.
Aboard Pure, Romain Attanasio and Sébastien Marsset quickly settled in and decision-making is something that they do together. “There is no one in charge. Sébastien comes up with ideas. We talk about them and together we decide what the best thing to do is,” stressed Romain.

Hoping to see a few foilers behind them

Since completing the Vendée Globe in 15th place aboard an IMOCA launched in 1998, Romain Attanasio has moved up and acquired a boat that is ten years newer. Consequently he has raised his sights. “We have made some simple improvements, which didn’t cost too much in order to fit in with my budget,” he said. “We have gained 600 kg. We are competing in the Transat Jaques Vabre to perform well. We shall be trying to finish ahead of IMOCAs from the same generation as ours, like Groupe Apicil (Seguin/Richomme), Corum L’Epargne (Troussel/Le Cam) and Time For Oceans (Stéphane Le Diraison/François Guiffant). Banque Populaire (Clarisse Crémer/Armel Le Cléac’h) seems to be a notch above us, but we could beat some of the foilers…