The seven young Next World Energy sailors , who will be competing in early September in the Red Bull America’s Cup aboard the AC45, have just finished five days of training at the French National Sailing School (ENVSN) in Quiberon. Organised jointly with the French Sailing Federation, this final preparation course enabled the crew to check over everything they have already learnt before flying off to San Francisco on 7th August.
After sailing aboard the Energy Team AC45 in Naples, on the Groupama Sailing Team Extreme 40 in Lorient, on a Formula 18 and an Open 7.50 at the Quiberon French Sailing School, the seven Next World Energy youngsters have been back training again in Quiberon, on a Sailing One 25. Arthur Ponroy, Antoine Lauriot-Prévost, Hubert Savatier, Romain Bellet, Valentin Bellet, Paul Dagault and Edouard-Marie Alikiagaléléi had not trained together for a month. They found some rough conditions when they got back together: 18 to 28 knots of wind on the first two days. The breeze eased off for the rest of the sixth week of training they have had since the announcement that the French team would be competing in the Youth America’s Cup.
Some top class sparring partners were invited to this final rehearsal before they set off for San Francisco: Sébastien Col and Fred Le Peutrec took it in turns on one of the two multihulls made available to them – the other one was in the hands of Antoine Lauriot-Prévost. “Doing battle with these experienced skippers meant the crew had to give it their all,” explained Antoine Mermod, team manager for Energy Team. “We are pleased, as our youngsters did well up against these famous sailors. There was another reason for us to be pleased: the atmosphere is still just as good in the group.”
End of the detailed preparation work
This sixth week of training brings to an end the preparation phase, during which the youngsters went through all sorts of situations that they will experience in early September in San Francisco: “As we’re not lucky enough to be able to sail on the AC45, we went through various types of boat. The idea was to work on the aspects that will be useful for the Youth America’s Cup: making sure the crew works well together, that there is good communication, learning how to deal with speed, manoeuvres, America’s Cup type race courses, race rules, the start phase, tactics… Everything was included, and we did a lot of good work. I feel they have made a lot of progress, and that they have reached the level to be able to go out and work on the AC45 in San Francisco and then achieve a good performance in the competition. But a word of caution. We don’t know what the standard of the other crew that are taking part is…”
A busy summer will come to an end in San Francisco
This summer, all of the crewmen on the AC45 sporting the colours of Next World Group have sailed a lot. Four of them were in the Tour de France Sailing Race: Arthur Ponroy and Edouard-Marie Alikiagaléléi aboard Courrier Dunkerque (2nd in the event), Paul Dagault on Sodebo (4th) and Hubert Savatier with the crew of Normandie (winner of the amateur rankings). Arthur Ponroy also achieved a great result by grabbing sixth placein the J80 Worlds in Marseille. As for Romain and Valentin Bellet, they ended up becoming vice world Formula 18 champions in Italy. Finally, Antoine Lauriot-Prevost sailed a lot on an M2 on Lake Geneva – a good way to train before taking over the AC45. The crew of Next World Energy will be flying off to California on Wednesday 7th August, then will train for three weeks before the start of the Youth America’s Cup on 1st September.
The crew of Next World Energy
Arthur Ponroy – Skipper
Antoine Lauriot-Prévost – Helmsman
Hubert Savatier – Tactician
Romain Bellet – Bowman / wing trimmer
Valentin Bellet – Trimmer
Paul Dagault – Main Bowman
Edouard-Marie Alikiagaléléi – Bowman / trimmer