Training to become a physio, the elder of the Bellet brothers is an important moderating influence in the Next World Energy Youth Team. A successful amateur cyclist, Valentin has already reached the world top spot in the ISAF World championship with his younger brother, Romain… to whom he owes his decision to become a sailor.
“How did I start out? That’s simple: it was late on. One day when I must have been about eleven or twelve, I went to watch my younger brother compete in an Optimist regatta… and it looked like he was really enjoying himself.” That is when the competition bug got to him. Now, ten years on, Valentin Bellet is still out there on the water with his brother, Romain, who is eighteen months younger than him. On Youtube, the videos of their speed runs on a racing cat have been widely viewed. You can see straight away their huge potential: Physically, these lads are monsters and they certainly sail very quickly indeed.
But above all over the past ten years, the brothers from La Rochelle have come a long way, via the multihull training programme run by the French Sailing Federation, including F18 racing. They went and grabbed the ultimate title in 2008 in Denmark to become ISAF junior world champions… and runners-up the following year in Brazil: they had become the best in the world with nowhere higher to aim as a youngster.
So it hardly surprising that the Peyron brothers took on the Bellet brothers in a quest for another Holy Grail: the Youth America’s Cup. Valentin (22): “It’s really crazy for someone our age to find ourselves in this professional structure and to be able to sail on these boats. It’s not something that everyone gets to do, so we are extremely lucky! I naturally took part in all the training sessions and sailed on the AC45 in Naples. It was incredible! When you take off, it’s quite something… “
A strong all-rounder, who has moved through all the different roles on board the AC45 with the exception of being at the helm, Valentin is not merely a top class sportsman. He does of course have the muscles in his legs after cycling so many miles and taking part in so many sailing events… but he also has the brains to train to become a physio at college in Rennes, in spite of a packed schedule. “Since February, apart from three days, when I had some exams, I have been out on the water every day,” he added without any hint of boasting.
Fascinated by all the preparation methods and everything to do with the search for performance and self-improvement, Valentin goes for the thoughtful approach to performance. Antoine Mermod, Director of Energy Team, confirmed that adding, “Valentin has a more reasoned approach than his brother. They complement each other well. He is more the brains and thinks things through. He is also someone, who listens to what others have to say and always tries to find a way to please everyone. He is a moderating influence on the group. His role is vital, as he sets the pace. He is able to stand back. Fairly self-effacing when ashore, Valentin is not one to leap in with useless comments. Physically, he is very well prepared, knows a lot about sailing and his all-round ability is a real asset.” The boy himself beams hearing that. “I think I’m someone, who keeps calm. In the crew, there are some strong personalities, so sometimes it is well worth calming things down. Often, that just means helping everyone understand what the others are saying. That too is a way to step up our performance.”
- His hobbies: “I do a lot of cycling, at least 60 miles a week and I only travel around like that.”
- His musical tastes: “Whatever is on. I have wide tastes and listen to everything.”
- Reading: “I read technical manuals and scientific works in particular. Everything to do with the human body and the quest for performance fascinates me.”
- Born on 10th March 1991 (22 years old)
- Lives in La Rochelle and in Rennes, where is studying to become a physio with the special dispensation that comes from being a top class sportsman.