On October 25th in Le Havre, Morgan Lagravière will be at the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre on board the new Safran. For his first big race on the IMOCA circuit, the 28-year-old skipper will be joined by a sailor he knows well: the 32-year-old Nicolas Lunven.
A complementary duo
Morgan Lagravière made the choice. For the Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre to Itajaí (Brazil), the skipper of Safran will race double-handed with Nicolas Lunven. “With Nico, we’ve known each other for ten years,” Lagravière says. “At that time, we were part of the same crew on the Tour de France Sailing Race, we were the two young guys on board. We carried on rubbing shoulders on the Figaro circuit.” Beyond their obviously good relationship, Lagravière chose Lunven because he brings real added value to the project. Experienced offshore, an expert in weather and strategy, Lunven also has a profile that is complementary to Lagravière’s. “We have different ways of doing things and different characters,” Lagravière says. “I rely a lot on feeling while Nicolas is more logical; I’m wild, he’s cool, calm and collected.”
Lagravière and Lunven will use their respective skills to try and go across the Atlantic faster than their competitors. “But we’ll both be focused and won’t just rely on what the other does best,” Lagravière says. “For future solo races and especially the Vendée Globe, I need to acquire or develop new skills. We’re both novices on the IMOCA circuit, but this won’t stop us from doing well. We have a new perspective, no preconceptions, and a big desire to compete. We’ll play the role of the outsider, and battle with the best of them.”
“The Safran Sailing Team, a well-oiled machine.”
A talented Figaro sailor, winner of the prestigious Solitaire in 2009 and 3rd in 2012, Lunven has crossed the Atlantic several times in a Figaro. Good at everything, he has much experience on many boats, including internationally (Sydney-Hobart, Volvo Ocean Race). Therefore, this new challenge in the IMOCA was met only with enthusiasm. “I didn’t hesitate for second in accepting Morgan’s proposal,” Lunven says. “This is a wonderful opportunity to race the Transat Jacques Vabre by his side in an IMOCA. Morgan excels in the art of making the boat go faster. He’s always on the lookout for what he’s feeling, he adapts. Sailing with him will be an interesting chance for me to reassess myself.” Lunven has been involved in the project since the launch of the new Safran, and is actively engaged in the current phase of discovery and optimisation of the boat, which suits him fine. “I have also found a great team, the Safran Sailing Team, which is a well-oiled machine,” he adds. “With the experience of the first Safran, this new 60-footer is already a success. The technical team work with a calm and serenity. Everyone knows what he has to do, it’s good.”