What I really like about sailing is its diversity and within that diversity there are some common themes – this has been driven home to me during this past year quite dramatically.
I started back in june with a transatlantic delivery followed by a transatlantic race on the Oman Sail MOD 70. Both went very well, and I learned a lot about getting the best out of these big multihulls. I had a great time with Sidney, Brian, Moshin, Fahad, and Jeff; it was a pleasure to sail with such a varied and interesting group.
Straight away I had the opportunity to sail with another excellent, varied crew, Jorg, Sam and Remy on the Mare Class 40. Same exact thoughts after finishing a very close second in the Quebec-St. Malo, I learned quite a bit about getting the best out of the Class 40 and took great pleasure in the camaraderie on board.
An interlude between ocean passages saw me in the Mediterranean, doing some buoy regattas onboard the Wally J1. JC Decaux has one of the nicest, most skilled groups of people on the Wally circuit, and I was honored they let me be a part of the fun for a season. Not surprisingly, I learned a lot again, mostly in terms of big group dynamics onboard.
To be put directly to use in October, sailing the Open 70 Maserati to the US in preparation for the NY-SF record. We had a big group onboard for the delivery, in order to decide who would be onboard for the record. I am happy to have had the opportunity to learn what made the boat tick in light air, as we had plenty of it during our record passage a couple months later.
Fortunately that passage started out with some sailing I have already learned plenty about offshore, heavy downwind conditions! I took immense pleasure in sailing with a handpicked group of guys who all shared the same goal (getting to SF as fast as possible), and the skillset to make it happen.
Soon after finishing in SF, I headed back to France to deliver the new Class 40 Le Coq Cuisine to the USA. Yann and J-B made the sail a pleasure, and as we had very little sea trialling before we left, there were plenty of small technical issues, giving me a great opportunity for some on the job training, which was actually a great learning experience. I will be much better prepared next time I am having balance issues or electronics gremlins onboard!
Most recently, I had ample opportunity to put much of my learning to good use, picking up charge of the Lending Club trimaran project to break the Transpacific record! From a boat totally in pieces to a 5 ½ day passage to Honolulu, only 4 months passed, and I was certainly forced to make use of all that I have learned in the last 14 years of doing this in order to make it all happen, both before the start, and on the water.
As I sit here now, taking a breather and reflecting on what has come during the last year and 190 days on the water, I am reminded of why I love sailing, and am so fortunate to have been able to make it my vocation.
What else can you do where you learn something new every day, bet to work with constantly changing, interesting groups of people, and spend every day outdoors?
The diversity that all the different boats, teams and people bring to my life certainly make me happy to keep this going for the next 25 years!