Photo: Alexis Courcoux

Class 40 favourite en route to St Malo

Nicolas Troussel and Credit Mutuel de Bretagne head for Route du Rhum start

Thursday October 21st 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

This week marks the end of a long phase of preparation for Nicolas Troussel and his Class 40 Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne. His Pogo 40, launched this year at Structures, is from now in top shape to take on the Route du Rhum.

Credit Mutuel de Bretagne set sail from Port la Foret on Wednesday afternoon bound for Saint-Malo where the 86 competitors must all arrive before midday this Friday.

While since the launch of his new boat Troussel has little opportunity to compete against other Class 40s, but over the last three weeks the double Solitaire du Figaro winner has been training out of the Pole Finistere Course au Large in Port la Foret either on his own or alongside double Velux 5 Oceans winner Bernard Stamm. The majority of the training out for the famous Figaro school this autumn has been for the IMOCA 60s where BritAir, DCNS 1000, Foncia, PRB, Veolia Environnement and Virbac Paprec 3 have all been put through their paces these last weeks.

The last weeks have also been spent eeking out the last bugs on board and at this stage with 10 days to go until the start, Troussel is heading for the bottom of his job list, configuring his spare computer and taking a tentative look at the routing for the start. Jobs remain such as stocking the boat with freeze-dried food before spending the last days resting a little and spending time with his family before dealing with the crowds and well-wishers that are due to swarm around the docks in St Malo next week and particularly the weekend of the start – 30-31 October.

Among the four crew on board Credit Mutuel de Bretagne for her delivery to St Malo is Thomas Rouxel, who has taken over the helm of the Credit Mutuel de Bretagne Figaro and Greg Evrard of North Sails France. The boat is due to reach St Malo tonight, the last time she will be at sea until the 31 October start of the Route du Rhum.

“I first remember coming to see the Route du Rhum boats back in in 1986 – it was brilliant,” recalls Troussel for whom competing in the Route du Rhum has been a dream since childhood. “I had so much admiration for the competitiors.” He watched the start that year on television. “To see on the starting line maxi-catamarans like Royale and ‘the small’ Fleury Michon VII, that image really made an impression."

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