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Holcim-PRB sailing crew for the first The Ocean Race legs revealed

by Team HOLCIM - PRB 28 Dec 2022 01:58 PST
The IMOCA Holcim-PRB is set for The Ocean Race © Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE / Holcim-PRB

For this around-the-world race, the skipper Kevin Escoffier, reigning winner of the Volvo Ocean Race (2017-18), has chosen to be accompanied by both experienced skippers and younger talents. A crew with varied and very complementary skills that will set off on January 15 for seven intense months of racing around the world.

Kevin Escoffier, skipper of Holcim-PRB: " The choice of the sailing crew is a very important moment. Three criteria have guided my choice: experience, humanity and determination of each. Depending on the legs, the sailing crew will vary. I will do a few rotations because my role as skipper is also to allow everyone to have a progression curve throughout this race."

The Ocean Race spans 32 000 nautical miles, 4 oceans, 4 continents and 8 stopovers. This edition marks the 50th anniversary of sailing's greatest round-the-world team challenge.

The Holcim-PRB Team

Sam Goodchild, from Great Britain, is an expert in both offshore racing on monohull and multihull, and is the current skipper of Leyton Sailing Team. Sam has been performing over the past 4 years on great sailing races such as the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2019 and 2021, on Class40 and Ocean Fifty. He also twice joined Ultims crews, on Sodebo Maxi and Spindrift Maxi. His leadership, determination and expertise will make him a trump card for the world's roughest seas the crew will sail on.

The same is true for Abby Ehler, from the United Kingdom, who already has a great deal of experience in this race, having previously competed in three editions. From her first participation in 2001 with Amer Sports Too, Abby went on to win many offshore races, and sailed in another two editions of The Ocean Race in 2015 and 2018, both as a sailor and boat captain for Team SCA and Team Brunel. Ashore, Abby has worked for renowned international races like the America's Cup and SailGP, and has been a strong advocate for promoting diversity onboard racing yachts. She is a key part of Team Holcim-PRB thanks to her technical skills and her mastery of the course.

With many years of experience in renowned races alongside experienced sailors in offshore racing, Fabien Delahaye has a strong expertise on monohulls ranging from Figaro, Class40 to IMOCA. His experience in solo-sailing and crew-racing and his knowledge of the boat will be particularly valuable for the team. He will be in charge of performance and will be a spare team member.

Two young up and comers will complete the team: Tom Laperche and Susann Beucke. Very early identified as a talent within the Bretagne CMB sector of excellence, Tom became the partner of François Gabart aboard the Ultim SVR Lazartigue on the Transat Jacques Vabre 2021. In 2022, at only 25 years old, he won the one of the most difficult solo races, Solitaire du Figaro.

Susann Beucke, also known as Sanni, is one of the rare Olympic talents to have taken up ocean racing after an exemplary international career. Double European champion on a 49er FX dinghy in 2017 then 2020, she particularly distinguished herself at the Tokyo Olympic Games by winning a silver medal in 2020. She is now racing in the Figaro class on DB Schenker.

On each boat, an Onboard Reporter (OBR) will be in charge of creating multimedia content each day from offshore. Julien Champolion, from France, and Georgia Schofield from New-Zealand will take turns aboard the IMOCA Holcim-PRB. They both have technical experience in filming in the world of offshore racing and will provide a keen eye from ashore.

The sailing team will officially get together on December 27th in Alicante. During two weeks, they will have sport sessions, resting times and briefings. A precise program in order to allow them to take the start in the best conditions.

The Team Holcim-PRB will carry the message GO CIRCULAR throughout the race all around the world to accelerate the shift to circular living and to inspire action to preserve nature's ecosystems from ocean to land. With circularity at the core of its business, Holcim continually innovates to build better with less following the principles of reduce, recycle and regenerate. Holcim is at the forefront of reducing the footprint of building across its entire lifecycle, from low carbon construction to more energy-efficient buildings in use, all the way to green retrofitting. As a world-leader in recycling Holcim recycles over 50 million tons of materials across its business today on its way to doubling this to reach 100 million tons by 2030, with applications ranging from the world's first cement with 20% construction & demolition waste inside, to roofing shingles with upcycled plastic inside.

Interview of Kevin Escoffier:

How did you choose your sailing team?

"I made the choice to optimize the crew with different profiles, complementary skills and great human qualities. The human side is particularly important in an intense race like this. It's a fine balance to find with performance. The motivation is crucial. The crew must remain motivated and determined regardless of the outcome and despite the tough physical conditions. "

What role will each have?

"For the start, Tom and I will take car of the navigation, Sam will manage the electronics and Abby the technical aspect and spare equipment. Fabien will be in charge of the performance ashore. For this world tour, I also picked Susann Beucke, who is new to offshore sailing, talented and motivated. She is particularly familiar with sailing with a reduced crew or single-handed, which will also be an advantage for our crew because we are often alone on deck while sailing. "

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