Nicolas will be taking part in the 2nd edition of the Globe40, and talks about his offshore career and his plans for the round-the-world voyage on his new boat, Class40 no. 141.

Originally from Saint-Nazaire, how did you discover sailing and your passion for ocean racing?

I discovered sailing as a child with my parents. I joined the Nantes sailing club and, like everyone else, I started with the Optimist and then the 420. I also did a lot of cruising with my parents and that’s where my passion for sailing was born.

What is your background and past experience?

After my years in dinghies and then after numerous cruises, I decided to take on the Mini Transat in 2018. I bought a Mini 6.50 and that’s when I really got into ocean racing. I did two Mini Transat campaigns.

You took part in the Mini Transat 2021. What did you take away from the experience, both in terms of preparing the project and the race itself?

Crossing the Atlantic solo in the Mini Transat was a childhood dream.

I’ve learnt a lot during these Mini 6.50 seasons; I’ve been able to discover single-handed sailing with a lot of humility on this small boat. They’re great boats, but it’s true that we’re not much compared to the immensity of the ocean, even though they’re very seaworthy boats. These are projects that I’ve been able to manage alongside my job, even though they require a lot of investment. I had an old boat that was about ten years old, so I wasn’t necessarily at the top of my game in terms of performance, but I had some great years; I really enjoy single-handed sailing. From qualifying to the race, I really enjoyed my time at sea. Sailing offshore was a revelation. That’s why, when I first read the notice of race for the Globe40, I didn’t hesitate to take on this project and include it in my Class40 programme. The Mini Transat was a great adventure and I hope that the Globe40 will be just as great.

 It’s often said that the Mini Transat is the best school for becoming a great sailor. Do you agree with that?

I don’t know, I’m not necessarily a great sailor yet… but yes, I think it’s a good school for starting out in ocean racing. They allow you to do some great races with budgets that are still limited. A lot of great sailors come from the Mini Class.

Let’s talk about the Globe40, you’re entered in the 2nd edition. How did you come up with the idea of taking part in this round-the-world race?

Racing around the world is a dream for many people, at least for me. The duration of the 1st edition didn’t allow us to do the Route du Rhum, which complicated things a bit in terms of finding partners. This 2nd edition, which is shorter, allows you to do these two major races. The Globe40 offers the opportunity to race around the world, but also to enjoy some magnificent stages. I’ve discussed this with Arnaud Boissière (Imoca Vendée Globe skipper), who has sailed around the world many times without ever stopping (all the better for him, in fact!) and it’s in this spirit that the Globe40 is a great race. Like The Ocean Race, you stop off in some superb places while racing around the planet.

You recently acquired Class40 n°141, a Pogo S3 launched in 2014. Why did you opt for this boat?

Buying the boat was a big decision! I didn’t necessarily have the means to buy a boat of the latest generation. What you have to realise is that I sold my house to buy this boat and see this project through to the end. The Pogo S3 is a robust boat, which will be important for this round-the-world trip, but it’s also fast and relatively comfortable. I’m buying her from CG Marine in La Trinité sur mer, and Gonzague is an expert in preparing Class40s, so I can buy the boat with complete confidence. The boat will be launched on 30 April, and I’m really looking forward to my first races!

How far have you got in preparing for this project?  What is your sporting programme up to the start of the Globe40 in 2025? 

I’m in the process of finalising the final details with the association whose colours I’ll be wearing. Partners will be signing up soon. I’m in the middle of the search for partners, but the acquisition of the boat, which I’m due to receive at the end of April, will enable me to speed up that search. The 1st step was to find a boat, and now the rest will follow naturally. I’m confident that I’ll have a great project, both in human and sporting terms.

From a sporting point of view, this year I’ll be taking part in the Armen Race, the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, the Dhream Cup and finally finishing in September with the CIC Normandy Channel Race in Caen. I’ve got a busy programme to get some experience on the boat.

I imagine that you followed the 1st edition of the race very closely. What do you remember about it and what was the most memorable moment for you?

That’s a bit of a complicated question from the outside. What I can say is that it’s a long race that demands a lot of commitment. I loved watching the videos and images from the 1st edition at sea and on the stages. The sporting battle was great to watch, with an even level of competition between the boats and very little difference in performance in the end. The course of the 1st edition was really nice.

What are your goals and ambitions for the Globe40?

Insofar as there is a ‘sharp’ and ‘scow’ ranking, unlike in other races, I’m looking ahead with sporting ambition. It’s a bit of an early question at the moment, because I’ve got to get to grips with the boat first, but I intend to give it my best shot and hope to make it onto the podium in my category.

What can we wish you for the future?

I’d like to say that I’d like to find as many partners as possible to make the project more reliable and then enjoy myself on the water. My project remains linked to my partners and I want to write a great story together. I hope I can have a good preparatory season without breaking too many things on the boat!

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