In early August in San Francisco, he will be in the very demanding position of bowman on board the Next World Energy AC45 competing in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. We take a look today at a young man, who is as relaxed ashore as he is serious at sea.
Paul Dagault has always been in this universe, but it was relatively late that he really got started. His father Xavier sailed a lot with Loïck Peyron on the 60-foot Orma trimarans, then took part in The Race, the ‘No limits’ race around the world. But it was in fact rowing that Paul worked hardest at to begin with at least… At the age of 15, he took up sailing in earnest by joining the sailing group in his school in Vannes. He competed aboard a 45-foot boat, already as bowman, then on a TP 52. Having moved to St-Nazaire for his studies, he met the skipper Corentin Douguet and joined the crew of Nantes Saint-Nazaire with whom he competed in the Tour de France Sailing Race in 2011 and 2012. He lined up again for this even this summer, but this time aboard Thomas Coville’s Sodebo. Paul also competed in match racing events alongside Mathieu Richard, one of the leading experts in the field. He took part in two French Championshiup events and one leg of the World Tour in Marseille.
So, clearly the lad has learnt a lot. “And he has some impressive natural ability, which he is able to get the most out of by training a lot,” explained Antoine Mermod, team manager for Energy Team. “My father was a grinder on bord the 60-foot Orma boats working the main winch. I am built like him. And six years of rowing and seven of judo helps a lot,” added the bowman for Next World Energy. Antoine Mermod continued: “Paul has very good technical ability and knows all about preparing boats. He’s a great guy. Always in a good mood, he makes everyone feel good ashore. But once out on the water, he takes his job very seriously and you can always rely on him.”
At the age of 22, Paul Dagault has just finished a technical diploma in boat building. But his goal is to become a professional skipper and to make his living from sailing. With that in mind, entering the closed world of the Cup represents a huge opportunity and means he has another impressive line to add to his CV. There is a lot at stake in the Youth America’s Cup, but as we have come to expect from him, Paul feels relaxed as he looks ahead: “We have done a lot of training and we shall continue with that in August to improve still further. The crew works well together, both on land and out at sea. We’re a group of lads, who enjoy being together. You can really sense that. On a multihull, I am discovering different things, but it’s very enjoyable. The AC45 is a relatively simple boat, but is physically demanding, particularly for the bowman. I’m getting to like it.”
- His hobbies: Films, but above all sports, partcularly jogging and judo. “But also weight training: it’s not as much fun, but really helps.”
- His musical tastes: “No real preferences, as I like everything from classical to electro including rock.”
- Reading: magazines and some books. “I’ve just finished Stéphane’s Jougla’s Portrait d’une absente.”
- Born in Vannes on 8th July 1991 (Age 22). Lives in Vannes.