Let the contest begin!

Trials begin in the Challenge Espoir Région Bretagne to determine who will get a Figaro campaign for two years

Monday March 3rd 2008, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
30 to 35 knots of wind, gusting more... The first day was tough for the young hopefuls taking part in the Challenge Espoir Région Bretagne, where the prize is to win a two year fully funded campaign on the Figaro circuit. The Challenge has already wittled down potential candidates to 15 and of these only five to seven of them will be selected for the finals, scheduled for 28 March -3 April.

At 9.30 the 15 gathered at the Pôle France Finistère Course au Large Figaro training centre in Port La Forêt, for a briefing by the Director there, Christian Le Pape, where the rules were explained.

The program, includes a series of tests at sea and on land the purpose of which is to assess the skills shown by the 15 that the selectors have deemed necessary for each candidate in order for them to become a professional skipper. These qualities include: athleticism, strong motivation, no holes in their technique, being a good sailor and - not necessarily the easiest - knowledge of how to manage a project.

Split up into crews of five spread across three Beneteau Figaro 32s, the contestants are rotated between the positions on board - helmsman becoming trimmer, becoming tactician, becoming bowman, etc. Meanwhile the selectors are looking out for the fluidity of manoeuvres, crew management, the ability to communicate, self-discipline, adaptability, etc.

"I advise you to concentrate on what you're doing, rather than on the outcome of the trail," warned Christian Le Pape before sending young sailors off to rig their Figaros.

Throughout this week, big names will be joining the crew to judge the 15 contestants. Sebastien Josse, Gildas Morvan and Marc Bouvet of the FFVoile were on board the Figaros today, while later in the week they will be swapped with Vincent Riou, Michel Desjoyeaux, Jean Le Cam, Thierry Chabagny, Gildas Mahe, etc

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