With 75 days until the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre, which will leave Le Havre on October 25, Morgan Lagravière and Nicolas Lunven’s training sessions are building momentum. The young Safran duo will participate in the Artemis Challenge and the Rolex Fastnet Race in England from August 13 to 16. These two events, combining both regatta and offshore racing, will allow the Safran crew to measure themselves against their future opponents. Time to focus on competition!
Legendary and charitable
After a month in the boatyard optimising the new IMOCA 60, Safran, Morgan Lagravière and Nicolas Lunven will race double-handed the now legendary Rolex Fastnet Race. The 605-nautical mile course goes from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet lighthouse in the Irish Sea, and the Isles of Scilly. Founded in 1925, the event has become a bi-annual benchmark, welcoming over 300 competitors.
“We know the route well thanks to La Solitaire du Figaro,” Lagravière said. “It’s an interesting sail in a variety of weather conditions, with a coastal stretch along Cornwall and a return home in the Irish Sea.” But before heading offshore, the Safran tandem will participate in the Artemis Challenge on August 13 with a crew including some of its technical team and also Gwénolé Gahinet, skipper of the Figaro Safran-Guy Cotten. The winner of the 50-mile circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight will receive a prize of £7,000, donated to a charity of their choice. Lagravière has chosen to fly the colours of Aviation Sans Frontières*. “I chose Aviation Sans Frontières because it serves many humanitarian causes around the world, and has an aerial connection that is in line with Safran,” the skipper of the IMOCA 60 said.
The preparation intensifies for the Transat Jacques Vabre
Lagravière and Lunven have been training intensely since the launch of Safran but there is nothing like competing in a race to continue improving. With almost two months of the Transat Jacques Vabre, the duo is looking forward to racing again. The Rolex Fastnet Race, the first event of the IMOCA Ocean Masters 2015-2016 Championship, welcomes ten IMOCA 60: SMA, Banque Populaire, PRB, and many of the competitors that will be in the double-handed transat this autumn.
“We need to make the boat our own after the summer re-fit and perfect our double-handed reactions,” Lagravière said. “Up until now, we’ve only been able to measure ourselves against our future opponents in one race, the Record SNSM. These next two events will allow us to assess the potential of the boat and experience some new sensations. With the foils, we realise that we don’t have the same tool as the others. This is a live training session that we have to do in order to be competitive. Competition is addictive. Whatever the result, I need and want the challenge.” After finishing the Rolex Fastnet Race, Lagravière and Lunven will head directly to la Trinité-sur-Mer, still double-handed, in order to confirm their qualification for the Transat Jacques Vabre.
*ASF (Aviation Without Borders) provide air support to NGOs, helping with sick children or with more medical cargo, thanks to the substantial material resources and aviation skills of its members. The Aviation Sans Frontières charity has led missions to the poorest countries in the developing world.
Sports Schedule 2015 – 2016
– 13th of August 2015: Artemis Challenge (team)
– 16th of August 2015: Rolex Fastnet Race (double handed)
– 25th of October 2015: Transat Jacques Vabre (double handed)
– December 2015: Transat B to B (solo)
– May 2016: The Transat (solo)
– sixth of November 2016: Vendée Globe (solo)