Second youngest skipper


We speak to Areva Challenge's helmsman and former Melges 24 World Champion, Sebastien Col
Youngest skipper in this America's Cup is of course the incredible James Spithill, skipper of Luna Rossa Challenge, who is 27 and yet now is helming for third America's Cup campaign after Young Australia and OneWorld. However close behind is his French nemesis. Sebastien Col, helmsman of the Areva Challenge (formerly K-Challenge) yacht FRA 93 is 29. This is also his third Cup campaign, although this is his first as the main man behind the wheel, having taken over from Thierry Peponnet last autumn, Peponnet moving into the tactician's role and most recently off the boat completely. Spithill and Col in fact have been racing each other since their teens when they came head to head in the handful of international youth match racing events around the world in Australia and New Zealand and in Antibes. While Spithill is Australian, Col was born in Lyon but heralds from Sete in the south of France. And why is Sete famous (or at least slightly known) in America's Cup circles? It was from here, during the 1990s, that Marc Pajot ran his Cup campaigns. It is also where some of France's top match racers live, such as Thierry Peponnet and Bertrand Pace. "I got the virus of match racing quite early because my mother was working for the French America's Cup syndicate in the 1992 and 1995 campaigns," says Col. With his mother handling the logistics of the campaign, living and breathing the Cup for eight years, it is easy to imagine how this may have rubbed off on a teenage Col. "Until 2000 it was the only base camp of the America’s Cup in France." Sete was also at this time (1995-6) a venue on the international match racing tour then sponsored by Brut de Faberge. From his youth, Col was

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