On Sunday, June 1, Safran will cross the startline for the inaugural New York - Barcelona two-handed race. Guillemot and Lagravière are raring to race after the delivery to Newport allowed them, in a relaxed atmosphere, to work things out and to discuss how to run the boat.
With 3,700 miles from the Statue of Liberty to the Catalan capital, the New York - Barcelona racecourse is a very open one for the five teams entered (Gaes Centros Auditivos, Hugo Boss, Neutrogena, Spirit of Hungary and Safran). It will undoubtedly be a high-speed chase across the Atlantic chessboard until the Straits of Gibraltar and the entrance to the Mediterranean.
Then, there will be tactical moves to play on the 525 miles along the Spanish coast. It will be two weeks of racing for which the crew of Safran had the opportunity to prepare during the delivery to Newport. 'It was a delight, I learned a lot, I'm sure we are the ideal partnership for this double-handed race,' Lagravière, the future skipper of the new Safran, said. A baptism of fire for Morgan Lagravière.
Never before has the young Lagravière, who came from the Olympic and the Figaro circuit, spent so many days at sea before embarking on an IMOCA for the first time for this delivery of Safran: 'I learned a lot during the delivery, because I had remarkable crew mates,' Lagravière said. 'It was a way for me to discover the Open 60 and to cross the Atlantic at the same time. Once we arrived in Newport, I felt ready to handle an IMOCA alone, it is a question of adapting, of getting new bearings.'
On the New York - Barcelona, Lagravière will have the opportunity to further discuss things with Guillemot, the skipper of Safran and an exceptional coach, but this time in a race situation. The complementary partnership could shine. 'Marc and I are different,' Lagravière said. 'I'm fussy about fine-tuning and sometimes won’t let go, a bit like a dog with a bone, while the other hand he’s a really experienced old wolf and is very conservative on his boat.'