At the age of 21, the youngest member of the Next World Energy crew will be up on the bow in the Youth America’s Cup in early September in San Francisco. We look at a born competitor, who gives it his all.
“I love taking up a challenge. When I have a goal ahead of me, I do my utmost to achieve it! And I like to give a better performance than the others.” That just about sums it up really. Romain Bellet shows determination and is a born competitor. “He works hard from morning to night and sometimes you have to help him focus his determination,” confirmed Antoine Mermod, team manager for Energy Team. “But he is someone you can count on. For the final gybe on the final day, he will be out there.”
Romain Bellet was born near Grenoble, so some distance from the sea. But he was only three, when his parents moved to La Rochelle. He began sailing on an Optimist at the age of eight at Châtelaillon-Plage, the club where he is still a member. “My father did a bit of windsurfing and was a sail instructor in the summer. But it was a friend, who really got me going. I wanted to do better than him. My competitive spirit won through and ithat was it,” he joked.
Romain competed in his first Optimist races then moved up to a catamaran. He got a fine set of results with his brother, Valentin – who is also in the Next World Energy crew – and on an SL16, Hobie Cat 16 and F18. Among other successes, after winning the title of European Junior Champion in the F18 class in 2011, the two brothers ended up as Vice Champions in the Worlds that summer. “We are very complementary. Valentin is calmer and thinks more before he acts, whereas I’m still young but try to hide it.”
Although top class sailing takes up a lot of his time, Romain Bellet is also following a course in CAD (computer assisted design). Specializing in boat designing of course. And is he looking forward to making his living from sailing? He would certainly like to do that. “But it all depends on the conditions. I know a lot of people, who earn hardly anything. My training is my plan B… which could become my main line of work” He certainly has a good head on his shoulders and is aware that the results in San Francisco could affect the rest of his career. Ambitious, he is aiming for “at least the podium” in San Francisco. And he hopes that the Youth America’s Cup will be the start of something big with his frends in Next World Energy. “Whatever happens, I will have something to tell my grandchildren when I’m old. Sailing on an AC45 is unheard of at my age. A lot of more experienced sailors would like to be in my place. It is a unique experience, which is a bit like being on an 18-footer, but many times over. The AC45s require the utmost physical effort and that is something I like.”
“Romain is physically very impressive,” stresses Antoine Mermod. “He is very skilled and moves around showing power and finesse on board. As for his character, he is not really a leader, but rather a hard-working crewman, who does his job well.” Romain confirms that. “Even if my competitive characteristics reveal themselves at times,” he quickly added.
His hobbies: a lot of sport: cycling, climbing, roller-blading and extreme sports out on the water or the snow: kitesurfing, wakeboarding, ski-ing… “I also enjoy doing DIY work on my boards, so that they suit me.”
His musical tastes: “I listen to the radio a lot, as you get to hear all sorts of things.”
Reading: Sailing, board and extreme sports magazines. “But I never have the time to read much else.”
Born on 17th October 1992 (21). Lives in Thairé, near La Rochelle