These two great personalities from the Vendée Globe are joining forces for the upcoming circumnavigation of the globe, the Barcelona World Race. Supported by his partner Cheminées Poujoulat, Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm is taking over the helm of the monohull 'Mare', previously skippered by German sailor Jorg Riechers. And it’s alongside a certain Jean Le Cam that he’ll set sail from Barcelona on 31 December 2014.
Stamm and Le Cam together around the world - Barcelona World Race 2014-15
Between them, Bernard Stamm (50) and Jean Le Cam (55) have accumulated no less than six participations in the Vendée Globe. Suffice to say that it’s an experienced duo, who will take the start of the third edition of the Barcelona World Race, a double-handed round the world race, without stopovers and without assistance. Since December, Bernard Stamm has been putting every effort into getting going again and creating a new project. 'After losing my boat, inevitably things went a bit pear-shaped, which wasn’t helped by the fact that there were few solutions open to me as there weren’t any 60-foot IMOCAs available. Then I learnt that one IMOCA was finally on the market and I leapt at the chance,' explains Bernard Stamm, who has just signed a charter contract with an option to purchase Jorg Riechers’ former Mare.
This Farr design launched back in 2007 is the boat with which Michel Desjoyeaux won the Vendée Globe 2008-2009. The boat then finished second in the Barcelona World Race 2010-2011 in the hands of the Spanish duo Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, before lining up for the start of the Vendée Globe 2012-2013 with Jérémie Beyou, in the colours of Maître Coq. 'This monohull has gone through a series of transformations to follow the evolution of the class measurement', says Stamm, who will be delivering his new steed from Lorient to Brest this week. 'The 60-footer will go in for a refit at our base. We’re going to finish off the work started by her former owner, then we’ll adapt her to the way we work', adds the Swiss sailor.
The other piece of good news for the skipper of Cheminées Poujoulat is the unique opportunity to team up with Jean Le Cam. 'Early this year, Jean was in a similar situation to my own. He was looking for solutions to mount his own project. We received the same info at the same time and things were decided fairly simply in the end. We’ve come together pretty much automatically. Up till this point, we’ve never sailed together, always against one another. Right now the focus will be on learning how the other works but I don’t have the slightest concern about that. Jean is someone who is highly technical so we’re quite similar in that respect.
He’s a monument to ocean racing...' The two men aren’t taking this on just to make up the numbers though; they’re very much in it to win it. In the upcoming months, they’re going to do all they can to make that happen. From the end of August, the boat should be relaunched. 'From that point, we will have to make it our own' Bernard Stamm says defiantly. 'We’re going to have to rack up as many training sessions, sea trials and calibrations as possible… the idea being to ensure we’re performing well as quickly as possible. In fact I’m going to have to get down to my physical preparation because, since my accident in December, though my thorax injuries have healed, I’m still suffering the after-effects with regards to my cervical vertebrae. My physio is treating them so the aim is to be fully fit again for the end of the summer holidays'.