Lalou Roucayrol, the 54 year old Aquitaine-born skipper, will set off on 4 November on board his Multi50 Arkema trimaran, in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe.
Following three consecutive podium places in three participations, the skipper’s ambitions are clear: to claim victory in this supreme event in solo ocean racing. With this performance in mind, as well as the importance of managing body and mind in this extreme race between Saint-Malo and Guadeloupe, the Arkema skipper has put in place a tough and thorough program of physical and mental preparation, in close collaboration with experts.
One month away from the start of the season’s main event for Lalou Roucayrol, the skipper is busy with plenty of outings on the Multi50 in Verdon-sur-Mer, the home port of the trimaran.
Lalou is calm and collected ahead of this looming date, with his boat ready to the optimum degree, and the support of a highly skilled technical team behind him, so he now makes the most of these outings to make the last adjustments to his machine: “It’s all going splendidly” says Lalou. “We take the boat out about three times a week to check the calibration of the autopilot, adjust the rigging or the sails, etc. We are also planning a few outings in ‘false-solo’ mode before the boat is ferried on 20 October. This enables me to go over the manoeuvers on board again and again, so they become even more slick during the race.”
The boat’s preparation is indeed perfectly fine-tuned. Determined not to leave anything to chance, Lalou also focuses on his physical and mental preparation ahead of this solo Transatlantic crossing.
Heart rate and the control of effort
Throwback to four years ago, the last edition of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. After being contacted by cardiologist Alice Horovitz as part of a study on heart rates for top athletes, Lalou agreed to set off on this transatlantic race fitted with electrodes to record his heartbeat over the first few days of the race.
“We recorded my heart rate for the first three days; it was around 160 beats per minute then”, recounts Lalou Roucayrol. “This is very fast, which can be explained by the stress but in particular by the lack of sleep. It’s difficult in the first few days of the race to fall into a deep sleep, coupled with the strenuous physical efforts involved in sailing a trimaran. For this 2018 edition, this has prompted us to plan for suitable physical training on land, which we put in place with my coach Jean Lenoir.” Alternating running, muscle training and cycling, with three outings a week, clearly Lalou Roucayrol will be in great shape when he sets off from Saint-Malo!
Essential mental preparation
Meanwhile, since January the Arkema skipper has been following a sophrology program involving 3 sessions per month, to help him cope with stress better, as a guarantee to boost his performance. Lalou Roucayrol: “I was already familiar with the basics of sophrology, and, with Julien Quesnoy, we wanted to work on a smoother harmony between my body and my mind. In particular we put in place gestures that trigger a signal, for example to fall asleep or to wake up. The idea is to condition a gesture that influences the mind and induces the body to a specific physical state, connected to the gesture in question. For example, the “wake up” gesture takes me more quickly to a good awareness level, and enables me to take a conscious and reasoned decision more rapidly. It’s not the same as a conditioned reflex!”
With a few more weeks of preparation at this pace, coupled with a balanced and healthy diet, the Arkema skipper will be totally ready to sail onto a new podium place!
2018 Results of the Multi50 Arkema:
1st Grand Prix Guyader
2nd Grand Prix de l’École Navale
2nd of the Drheam Cup
2nd Trophée des Multicoques Baie de Saint-Brieuc
1st Grand Prix Valdys