With a professional career which now stretches to nearly 15 years Christopher Pratt has known the highs and the lows. But Pratt, whose mother is from London, now feels life is on the ‘up’. He has worked with long time friend Jérémie Beyou on the IMOCA Charal since the first testing and training now with successive wins in the Défi Azimut and the Rolex Fastnet Race, Pratt is one half of a partnership which is considered favourites to win the upcoming Transat Jacques Vabre. Tip & Shaft caught up with him.
Yves Auvinet who is the president of SAEM Vendée which organizes the Vendée Globe, announced last Wednesday that the list of skippers who can register for the next edition of the famous solo round the world race is to increase to 34 skippers (30 and 4 wild cards). Tip & Shaft tells you how this decision was made.
The new Hugo Boss that everyone was so keen to see was launched in early August in Gosport before being officially presented and christened in London last Thursday. It was an opportunity for Tip & Shaft to talk to Quentin Lucet, who is in charge of the project at VPLP. For this interview, he was accompanied by Vincent Lauriot-Prévost.
Now at just on one year after the launching of Charal, the first of the new-generation IMOCA to be built, in early August Jérémie Beyou won the Fastnet Race sailing with Christopher Pratt. This was his first win on the VPLP design. So, now at a little more than a month and a half before the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre, the pinnacle event of the season, we meet up and take stock of past and future developments of his 60 footer, we talk about the newer boats and the development of his company BeYou Racing.
The ninth edition of the Vendée Globe will start November 8, 2020 from Les Sables d’Olonne. As of now there are approximately 35 active skippers all planning to start the race in 19 months time, some of whom are already building qualification miles to have the best chance of being selected. The Notice of Race limits the number of entries to 30. Tip & Shaft makes a round up of the projects that are vying for selection.
Kojiro Shiraishi made tens of thousands of friends and fans all around the world during his Vendee Globe. Dignified, passionate with a thousand megawatt smile, the Japanese solo racer was really starting to show his potential and his ability just before the mast of his Spirit of Yuko broke and he was forced in to South Africa. When he pledged to come back and finish the job in 2020, few would have bet on Koji returning armed with a brand new generation foiling IMOCA built from the moulds of Charal. But with the backing of DMG Mori, a global leader in machine tools and their applications, Shiraishi has a top level project.
After more than ten years competing in Class40, French based English skipper Miranda Merron took the plunge this spring and established a Vendée Globe project. She has the Owen-Clarke designed IMOCA which started life as Dominique Wavre’s Mirabaud and raced the last Vendée Globe as Great American IV Rich Wilson. The boat is renamed Campagne de France after her long time sponsors, a large French dairy products cooperative. Now Merron is preparing for her first solo IMOCA race on her new boat, Bermudes 1000 Race which starts on May 9th. The 49-year-old Briton, who works closely with her partner Halvard Mabire, who joins the discussion, tells Tip & Shaft the reasons for her new life pinnacle challenge.
The Vendée Globe’s organisers preference was to call the 2016-17 solo non stop round the world race the most international, when eight nations were represented. Regardless, as the 2020-21 edition wrestles to taper down a bumper entry. There are 13 non French skippers with active projects. Tip & Shaft takes a quick tour round the houses a couple of weeks before the first IMOCA Globe Series race of the season, the Bermudes 1000 Race, the 2000 miles season opener from Douarnenez to Brest via the Fastnet and the Azores which starts May 8th.
From the fateful day, November 6th, when their Ultime Banque Populaire IX capsized on the Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe it took just over one month, until December 12th before the green light was given for an ambitious new three cornered project. Such is the success story which links sailing and Banque Populaire and which now sees the seemingly unwavering relationship extend past the 30 year anniversary now into 2024.
Australian Chris Nicholson is not one to let grass grow under his feet. Even after just completing his sixth Volvo Ocean Race, this time as watch captain with Team AkzoNobel his thoughts are already focused on the next edition of the fully crewed around the world race. He has teamed up with Denmark’s Nicolai Sehsted to form a programme looking to 2021 when the…