MichDes' two new pupils
Following the news that Foncia are to back double Vendee Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux for both a new VPLP-Verdier designed IMOCA 60 as well as an MOD70 one design trimaran, so Desjoyeaux' Farr-designed 2008-9 Vendee Globe winning IMOCA 60 is now in the hands of none other than Spanish 49er Olympic medallist and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez.
The dynamic duo’s objective is the Barcelona World Race later this year and it will be up to them to maintain the boat’s impressive track – race wins in the Record SNSM 2007, Transat Jacques Vabre 2007, Vendée Globe 2008/2009, Istanbul Europa Race 2009…
To help them on their way Michel Desjoyeaux is helping train Fernandez and Martinez in the subtleties of his old boat.
“The handover will be done carefully,” says Desjoyeaux. “I will sail with them as coach since, even if they are very good sailors and are experienced offshore, they are less accustomed to sailing shorthanded. That will also allow me to continue to sail occasionally on this beautiful boat on which I’ve had so much pleasure over these three last seasons.
"Iker and Xabi are known for their success in the Olympics. They are very talented sailors, but there is nonetheless a huge leap from this to sailing around the world doublehanded. In fact, it is this that is concerning them in setting out on this adventure. Even if they have sailed a lot together, on the 49er there isn’t all the technology on a 60 footer. They took part in the last Volvo Ocean Race on Telefonica Blue [and before that on movistar]. They have experience offshore, but they haven’t had to learn all about strategy, weather, electronics, communications - tools which are an integral part of what shorthanded sailors must know about. So I am there to help them learn about this and to reassure them.
"Also, when I announced that I was starting the construction of a new IMOCA 60 with FONCIA to compete in the Barcelona World Race, Iker said: ‘Great! We won’t need to do anymore work on the weather – we’ll only have to follow you! "