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Meet the Vendée Globe skippers: Alan Roura

by Vendee Globe 6 Oct 2020 03:02 PDT
La Fabrique skippers Alan Roura and Sebastien Audigane take 21st place of the IMOCA category of the Transat Jacques Vabre on November 12, in Bahia, Brazil. Transat Jacques Vabre is a duo sailing race from Le Havre, France, to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. © Jean-Marie Liot / Alea

The youngest skipper on the Vendée Globe 2016 has grown up, even if he is, again, the youngest skipper on the 2020-2021 race. He remains a free spirit, a breath of fresh air and authentic and he carries on the history of Swiss skippers on the race. Meet Alan Roura.

My Background

Date of birth: February 26, 1993
Place of birth: Onex, Switzerland
Lives: Lorient
Studies and professional background: "I didn't go to school, but I trained as a tinsmith"

My beginnings in sailing: "When I was two, I was on a boat with my family. My first tacks I suppose I made in an Optimist on Lake Geneva, I was 6 years old. Then the family left Switzerland when I was 8 years old. We got on board our boat and crossed the Atlantic for what was supposed to be a short odyssey which lasted... eleven years. I maybe have a Swiss passport but I am a child of the World."

My desire to go ocean racing? "The stems from our first family transatlantic race. We left Gibraltar to go to the Canaries and, as we approached Lanzarote, we came across the guys and girls on the Mini-Transat, it must have been in 2001. I found it incredible they crossed the ocean on these tiny boats. But on the dock I noticed that there was something about the faces of these sailors: they were happy, glad to be there. And so I wanted some of that particular happiness, it is what I wanted to do later."

How and when did this become your career? "It was never supposed to take over my life and really things moved in stages. I bought my first Mini in the Caribbean in 2008, and I was training solo there on my own, among the islands. I must have been 15. The open oceans became more serious when we returned to Europe, with my first Mini race on a prototype that I had bought. I did the races one after the other and each time I went a little further and did a little better than I had expected."

The result or experience of which I am most proud: "I am quite proud of my career: I am 300% self-taught. Being at the start of the Vendée Globe is the benchmark of a life project, but what I'm most proud of is the North Atlantic record, which I improved, both solo and in an Imoca (last July, in xx 12h 25min). It was an extraordinary adventure with the boat's team and partners, and some magical moments. I also showed that although I was always placed in the "adventurer" box, I was able to go fast and compete to move forward."

Short Tacks

Your main quality in life? "Kindness"
What is your main flaw in life? "Naivety"
If you were an animal? "An albatross"
If you were a plant? "A traveling palm tree!"
If you were a movie? "The big Blue"
If you were a colour? "Black"
Your dream of happiness? "I would like to win this # & ù% $ Vendée Globe one day"
Your hero in life? "Francis Joyon. He gives off a particular air, something that I admire"
An aphorism? "When we want we can"
If you weren't an ocean racer you'd be... "I don't think I ever wondered about my future. But maybe a marine carpenter."

My Vendee Globe

My ambitions: "First, do well and go well. Then complete the race in 80 days. I don't think about the standings, it's way too hard to imagine. Aiming for a time seems more interesting to me, the placing will follow."

Weak points (except breakage): "Luck, or bad luck. Ocean racing is the story of a woman or a man on a mechanical device. If you don't break, and position the boats well in the right places and find the right weather there, you've been lucky. I would like my lucky stars to be with me a little longer."

My lethal weapon: "I am a very good sailor. I'm not saying I'm a very top performer, but I'm a sailor. I know how to accelerate, to manage myself and the boat and to slow down when necessary; I feel good at sea, and I form a partnership with my boat. If you look closely at the results of the Vendée Globe, you will see that it is most often the good sailors who are in the best places. The management of the project, the navigation and the boat is the most important. On the other hand, I am learning to race step by step."

What would a successful Vendée Globe be? "I want to make good trajectories, to sail cleanly and be in the game. I'm no longer just motivated by the idea of finishing it. That was the ambition four years ago. Now I want to compete, to have the feeling of having given my everything towards a performance ".

What I would like to share: "Everything that so many don't: laughter, tears, stories. The life of a sailor around the world, in summary. Why is the sailor not telling everything out there, Why are they waiting to be back in port? Too bad."

In three words, the Vendée Globe is... "Ecstasy. Chilling. Happiness."

Three images of the Vendée Globe: "The start. Mine, since I'd never seen it before. And I have no idea what it looks like from the outside. Cape Horn, which is a pretty crazy place."

"The day before you arrive, when you know that coastline is just over the horizon, you start to realize that what you've been doing is huge, you've been around the world on your own on a boat. I have to admit (he laughs) that I really enjoyed the rum that was on board the day before I arrived, four years ago..."

The skippers who inspire me: "Ellen MacArthur has always made me want to go and play in an Imoca. In all these years, I have met all the famous sailors and, the only person I have ever inspired me... is her."

I wouldn't go around the world without... "Without grigri. (good luck charm) It's not impossible that I'll get a new one this year."

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