King of the Open 60


James Boyd spoke to Sill skipper Roland Jourdain about why he's so fast and what its like racing under IMS...
At the Giraglia Rolex Cup in St Tropez last week there was the somewhat incongruous sight amid the heavily buffed Mediterranean IMS fleet of a bright red yacht with trawler-style deck spreaders, a heavily raked wingmast and covered in sponsorship stickers. While the tanned crews of the neighbouring boats sport the latest sunglasses, her crew seemed to be an altogether more pasty, down to earth bunch. For those in the know this was Sill Plein Fruit, which with victories in the two handed Transat Jacques Vabre last year and more recently the Regate de Rubicon, is the boat which is proving itself to be the fastest on the Open 60 circuit at the moment. For her skipper Roland Jourdain, know globally as 'Bilou', he is enjoying being 'on holiday', away from his home in the Vallees des Fous, the Figaro class' Breton stronghold of Port la Foret. "The Pen Duick society [the organisers of the Regate de Rubicon] said we were invited here [to the Giraglia], so we said 'why not?'" Bilou told madfor sailing. "We didn't think about it before, but with the program of the boat - the Regate de Rubicon [ending in Italy] and the Trophy de Marseilles - it was a good opportunity to come and for my sponsor to bring clients. It's what we've been doing here since last Saturday." Looking around him at the multi-million dollar IMS hardware also parked alonside him stern to the quay in St Tropez he added. "It's a pleasure to compare the boat to the maxi boats, because we are on two different planets. We have a lot of things to learn from them and maybe we give some ideas to some owners to make an Open 60?" At the Giraglia Rolex Cup, Sill Plein Fruit and fellow Open 60

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