New boat for Bilou
Veolia Environnement is to continue its support of IMOCA 60 skipper Roland Jourdain this year in the build-up to the Route du Rhum - La Banque Postale at the end of October.
Jourdain was the winner of the Route du Rhum in the IMOCA 60 division in 2006 when he set a new monohull record for the crossing between St Malo and Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe of 12 days, 11 hours, 58 minutes and 58 seconds. He arrived just 27 minutes and 55 seconds, ahead of his friend and life long on-the-water sparring partner, Jean le Cam.
Bilou, as Jourdain is known, is to return to defend his Route du Rhum title this autumn, the third occasion he has taken part in France’s oldest solo transatlantic race. However to do this he will race a new boat (for him) in the form of the Farr-designed former BT/Estrella Damm which Seb Josse skippered in the last Vendee Globe. Rented off OC for the 2010 season, The boat has been repainted red in the corporate colours of Veolia Environnement and from tomorrow midday will be moored alongside Jourdain’s previous IMOCA 60 in Concarneau.
Xavier Carette, Director of Image and Multimédia at Veolia Environnement commented: “The sea is the playing field of many of our trades. We began our partnership with Roland Jourdain with his victory in the 2006 Route du Rhum. The next race therefore has for us both a special sporting and an emotional significance.”
Jourdain added: “I am doubly content. On the one hand to take on the Route du Rhum again, because it is a race which I like and it also allows me to race again singlehanded. Also, I am very happy to have the opportunity to be on a different boat and to able to learn more. I am in a hurry to get sailing again now. The old Veolia Environnement was starting to show her age against newer generation of boats. With the ex-BT, we now have a boat much more interesting since it is more competitive with the new boats due to be launched soon. Looking at this boat, it always aggravated us on water. It was difficult to compete with in a race.”
Now Jourdain’s new steed is launched, he will train on her with a crew over the remainder of April and into May. Joining him will be boat captain Pierre-Emmanuel Hérissé, Olivier Douillard who is looking after the sails and Jean-François Cuzon.
“As for Jojo (Sebastien Josse), he will also certainly come to join some training sessions and it will be a pleasure to have him on board. I hope that he will teach us his small secrets! I do not yet know all the quirks of the boat in the same I know those of my old boat, but we will discover this new machine.”
Veolia Environement’s program for 2010:
29 April - 2 May: Grand Prix Petit Navire, Douarnenez
17-22 June: Record SNSM, Saint-Nazaire
3 August: Artemis Challenge, Cowes
31 October: Start of the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale, Saint-Malo