The day before any racing event can be stressful—at least it is for this writer—but completing last-minute preparations during the pre-start of one of the world’s biggest long-distance races is something else altogether. Yet, between checking equipment and finishing other odds and ends the day before the start of the Barcelona World Race, Loick Peyron took a few minutes to speak with Sailing World. Peyron, along with 2007 BWR winner Jean Pierre Dick as his teammate, is one of the race’s favorites.
Peyron’s long-distance accolades include winning the ORMA Championship four times over and placing second in the Vendée Globe in 1990. He has also put to use his in-shore racing skills as the helmsman on Alinghi that raced against BMW Oracle in the last America’s Cup in February.
Somehow, Peyron will also continue to manage the design team of the America’s Cup boat he and his brother Bruno hope to design while competing during the next couple of months in the BWR onboard Virbac-Paprec 3.
Peyron shared his thoughts about how he will prepare for the America’s Cup remotely while competing in one of the world’s most demanding long-distance races at the same time.
The race begins in less than 24 hours. Do you have any particular concerns?
No, we are just doing the usual last-minute things, which is hard to do in the pre-race commotion. The challenge now is to focus on what has to be done, which is not easy. There are people everywhere and we are constantly interrupted. The boat is still a little cluttered and it is not easy putting everything where it belongs for two people. We are rechecking our lists to make sure nothing has been forgotten.
Fortunately, the weather looks good with relatively easy sailing conditions expected. There are no storms on the horizon for the time being–in fact, far from it. Nice conditions are expected during the coming days.
There will likely not be much wind in the beginning, which is not a bad thing. This also means the sailing in the beginning will be pretty calm.
Compared to the Vendée Globe, what are some of the special challenges that the BWR poses?
There are two of us, which means, of course, that one of us can be on watch at all times, which is not possible in the Vendée Globe. A two-person crew sailing team is interesting and I look forward to the possibilities, especially since I have never sailed such a long distance non-stop with just one other sailor before. The fact that Jean Pierre won the race before makes it that much more exciting.
What is interesting about it specifically?
The overall course itself, the high-level competition, seas that are challenging to sail on, how the boats in this class are very fast and demanding, and keeping up with the pace as we constantly strive to motivate each other. The pace is especially important, because one of us will be better at different things, so that can be a challenge to manage.
This race also rounds out my experience. I have had the chance to compete in just about every racing category, including multi- and monohull, in-shore and long-distance, as well as team and solo races. I have been lucky in this respect.
**What conditions will favor the different boat designs over the others among the 14-boat fleet in the race? **
All of the boats in this race are of a newer generation, which means that they do not excel in any particular conditions. However, none of them are ever the slowest boat in certain conditions, either.
I wasn’t involved in the design of Virbac-Paprec 3, of course, but I do no think it will ever be the slowest boat, regardless of conditions. To have the fastest boat [for certain isolated] conditions is not advantageous because you rarely experience the right conditions when your boat is able to go the fastest possible anyway. Having said that, the new boats of this generation sail better in light winds compared to the previous generation. There is a lot less disparity [than in years past] between the boats’ speeds.
Will your participation in this race affect your preparation for the America’s Cup?
No, not at all. I have and will continue to work with the design team.
How will you work with the America’s Cup team while you are at sea?
I will continue to take part in all of the meetings, either by phone or video. Today, you do not always have to be physically present to work with people. Of course, I am not going to interact with the America’s Cup team the entire time during the race and my near-term goal will be to win the BWR race. But since there will be two of us, I can alternate between sailing and working on the America’s Cup project.