Morgan Lagravière and Nicolas Lunven gearing up with two months to the Transat Jacques Vabre


After competing in the Artemis Challenge and especially by making it onto the podium in the Rolex Fastnet Race, Morgan Lagravière and Nicolas Lunven stepped up their preparation for the Transat Jacques Vabre. And with the return delivery between Plymouth and Trinité-sur-Mer, the Safran duo also confirmed their qualification for the major event of the 2015 season. With just two months until the start from Le Havre on October 25, the countdown has begun…

For Morgan Lagravière and Nicolas Lunven it is all systems go after completing a British week full of lessons. Safran measured itself against future opponents during the Artemis Challenge, a 50-mile crewed race, with members of the technical team and also Gwénolé Gahinet, skipper of the Figaro Safran-Guy Cotten, on board. “It was an interesting experience because everyone contributed their vision and expertise,” Lagravière said. “We stayed in contact with the leading boats for a long time but finally finished 6th because of a halyard problem.”

A podium finish and valuable lessons
The main objective of this summer was the prestigious Rolex Fastnet Race, a 600-mile race between Cowes and Plymouth via the Fastnet lighthouse in the Irish Sea, which started on August 16. It was excellent training for the Transat Jacques Vabre, and, sailing double-handed, the skippers of the latest generation boats equipped with foils (Safran and Banque Populaire) were measuring themselves for the first time against the duos in the old IMOCA (PRB, Quéguiner- Leucémie Espoir and SMA). “The start of the race in light winds was difficult for us,” Lagravière said. “But we gradually caught up. After the Fastnet (lighthouse), it was a downwind race fought out in an increasingly strong wind. There was a radical change of mood and we really pushed the boat.” Lagravière and Lunven finally clinched third place behind PRB and Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir. Beyond just a satisfying result, they identified areas for progress (particularly for the foil settings) and confirmed the harmony of the duo. “We found our roles on board and gave each other a lot,” Lagravière said. “I’m totally confident when I sail with Nico.”

Time speeds up ahead of the Transat Jacques Vabre
After crossing the finish line of the Fastnet Race, Lagravière and Lunven did not disembark and headed straight back to La Trinité-sur-Mer. The straightforward delivery allowed them to confirm their qualification for the Transat Jacques Vabre. Between boat maintenance, technical optimisation, training sails and fitness work the two sailors and the Safran Sailing Team will not be unemployed in the coming weeks. “The programme is packed but we love that,” Lagravière said. “The excitement levels are going to rise bit by bit – that will give us plenty of energy.” With around 20 boats at the start, the Transat Jacques Vabre looks like being exceptional, something that excites the skipper of Safran: “With Nicolas, we’re both rookies of the event,” Lagravière said. “We’re like two kids and realise our luck in being able to take on the Atlantic with a 60-foot boat!”

– 13th of August 2015: Artemis Challenge (team)
– 16th of August 2015: Rolex Fastnet Race (double handed)
– 25th of October 2015: Transat Jacques Vabre (double handed)
– December 2015: Transat B to B (solo)
– May 2016: The Transat (solo)
– 6th of November 2016: Vendée Globe (solo)

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