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Sailing: “This boat is crazy, it’s a legend!”, relishes Charles Caudrelier

Special envoy to Brest.

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Sailing: “This boat is crazy, it’s a legend!”, relishes Charles Caudrelier

Special envoy to Brest

“It’s happiness. It was very special because I have the impression that it was both very long and very fast. I remember this dazzling start... We all started in contact in this first part of the race which was super lively with Tom Laperche in particular. We both had a great race. I thank him because it allowed us to make a big gap which was then useful to me. Afterwards, it changed universe and it became a real adventure. I had to manage the boat, deal with bad weather and problems. And there have been a few even though everyone thinks it went well for me. I came looking for an adventure and that's what I found. It's obviously a great emotion and even if the race is solo, there is all teamwork behind me and without them we can't do anything. Perhaps that’s what has made the difference on this boat since 2019 and I know this boat by heart.”

“I felt great on the boat, very comfortable. I didn't find it particularly hard even if there were difficult moments, more psychologically than physically. I was in good shape. I had energy, probably because I was in front too.”

“We knew it would be difficult for these boats to go around the world. We know this at Team Gitana because we made two record attempts and we broke it before anyone else. This allowed us to come back stronger today with a boat which has some damage but which is still in fairly good condition. This boat is a legend and its track record is legendary.”

“My record took a little time to take off. I quickly won the Solitaire du Figaro but afterward I did not manage to realize my dream which was to do a Vendée Globe or the Route du rhum. There was a bit of frustration. But I continued to sail and improved through contact with the best. At 40 I had this first project to do the Volvo Ocean Race which I won twice. In 2019, I no longer had too many projects despite these two victories and my phone rang. It was Team Gitana who called me to be the skipper. You know the rest.”

“Participating in this world tour was obvious and I threw myself 200% into the adventure. I had crazy energy at the start because 15 days before, I had a problem which meant that I could no longer line up. Everything worked out, everyone supported me. I left with an incredible desire to fight.”

“What I missed the most were my loved ones, obviously the children but I was in my bubble. My two children are also used to it because since they were born I have been racing. And I miss good food too because I like to eat well. But I was happy during this world tour.”

“It was the descent of the Atlantic with Tom Laperche. Passing Cape Horn also because, like the arrival, I had a bit of crazy weather. And there was also a strong moment when I tore the mainsail, after passing Cape Horn. I feel guilty because I made a mistake. There was a bit of work to avoid having to stop. There were lots of small problems, the furling systems which broke, water problems too, foils and rudders. But I was lucky to get through the big damage with which nothing can be done.”

“This boat is crazy. I think everyone finds him beautiful. I have had the chance to lead it since 2019. You have to see confidence in your trimaran because when the front arm broke, it managed to bring me back but I had to take it easy because if I had done anything which I may not be there today. We had to find the right rhythm. It's a boat that has marked my life and which has marked the team. It’s an exceptional boat.”

“All victories are beautiful but my greatest emotion was my victory in the Figaro because I was young (25 years old, Editor’s note). I couldn't tell you which one was the most beautiful. He also has the Route du Rhum and we don't react in the same way at 50 as at 20. And I don’t forget the Volvo Ocean Race, the hardest race of my life.”

“When I lost Tom (Laperche, Editor’s note), there was obviously a form of relief, I must admit. But I got a little bored afterwards (smile). He was putting so much pressure on me and I could see that his boat was in the game. He didn't give up and I said to myself: 'But how are we going to do it at this speed in the South Seas?'"

“I watched a few sports documentaries and listened to podcasts for a bit. I also read a book but I couldn't disconnect from the race. I had the feeling that I could lose concentration and have problems, so I was on constant alert. In the end, I had a lot of fun when there were crafts!”

“I’m not surprised by the reception. I chose my day well too (laughs). We waited a long time to make a nice arrival. Brest is a city that knows how to celebrate the history of these boats, with record attempts. Thank you to them and thank you to you because a great arrival is an arrival with an audience.”

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