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Youngest competing skipper to start the Transat New York – Vendée

by Safran Sailing Team on 24 May 2016
Morgan Lagraviere (Fra) onboard IMOCA Safran training before Vendee Globe, start 6 november 2016 in Les Sables d'Olonne, off Groix, south brittany, on april 15th, 2016 Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Safran
Morgan Lagravière will be on the starting line of the Transat New York – Vendée on Sunday, May 29. For the youngest competing skipper, this race is not only his first solo on the monohull, Safran, but also his last opportunity for a contest before the Vendée Globe - and he is up against the best in the world. He will need all his passion and confidence.

At just 29 years old, the skipper of Safran will be the youngest of the 17 sailors participating in the Transat New York – Vendée, the final prelude to the Vendée Globe. On Sunday, May 29, Lagravière will pass under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the foot of the towers on the Brooklyn side, and take his place on the starting line of his first race of the season on Safran. He has just made the delivery to New York with Roland Jourdain, his coach.

Although Lagravière has increased the number of his training outings alone, notably during his recent qualification voyage for the Vendée Globe, the Transat New York - New York will be his first solo race on Safran, which was launched over a year ago.

“I’ve been through all the stages of getting to know this boat and now it’s race time,” the young sailor said. “It’s massively exciting to be here. I’m really looking forward to competing. Inevitably, there’s a bit of apprehension because our boats are demanding, but I have great confidence in the work done this year. I’m very inspired by the team working with me, especially Bilou (Jourdain).”

“Consistency pays dividends”
This solo transatlantic race will be the last opportunity for all the contenders for victory in the 2016 Vendée Globe to face each other in race conditions. The six foilers (IMOCA equipped with foils) will be present, most of which have now achieved a good level of reliability. The recent winner of The Transat, Banque Populaire (Armel Le Cléac'h), whose hull is the sister ship of Safran, and Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse), will be followed closely.

PRB (Vincent Riou), without foils, but meticulously optimised, is also among the favourites for this race. It proved itself by finishing second in The Transat. But Lagravière is unfazed: “My goal is to do things my way, not to focus too much on the others,” he said. “We’re going for ten days and I’m just going to have to hold on until the finish, I won’t let myself get drawn into racing too hard at the start. Consistency pays dividends.”

Lagravière has put himself through an intensive physical training programme all winter and has been sailing non-stop with Roland Jourdain on Safran. Besides his youth, the determination of the young skipper and the speed with which he learns are his main assets. He has great mental strength, probably acquired during his Olympic years. Although he is not the most experienced in the field, he can hold his own: “In all aspects of performance - physical, mental, and my ability to get the boat going - I know I’m competitive,” the skipper of Safran said. “But perhaps the thing I have that can make the difference is that I’m fresh and very hungry, and that produces performance. I know that I will need that hunger all the way to the finish.”

The Transat New York – Vendée
Start: May 29 at 11:00 (17:00 French time)
3,100 miles non-stop and solo
Finish: Les Sables d'Olonne from June 5
Webasto AUS 2020 FOOTER 1Cyclops 2022 - Sailmon Bundle - FOOTERBoat Books Australia FOOTER

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