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Corsica, specifically the breathtaking setting of Bonifacio, is where the Ocean Fifty competition kicks off again on Thursday 12 May for the Pro Sailing Tour. At the helm of his trimaran Arkema, accompanied by a high-flying crew and building on what he learned last year, Quentin Vlamynck begins this second season eagerly and single-mindedly. Following his 2nd ranking in 2021, the skipper's objectives are clear: to continue pushing his trimaran forward by engaging in a close race and making the most of the varied experiences of his crew. All outings at sea are important and formative in the run-up of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, the solo race he will be taking part in at the end of the year.

After setting off from Verdon-sur-Mer at the end of April, Quentin Vlamynck headed for the Mediterranean Sea in a “false solo” mode, i.e. accompanied by Etienne Carra, a permanent member of the Lalou Multi team.

I have to admit that I was a little stressed before the start”, Quentin says. “It was my first outing in false solo mode, which means that I sail the boat on my own, Etienne’s role  being simply to observe and help me out in case of a problem. I wanted to take advantage of this long 1,800 nautical mile course to size up the boat, sailing alone.

Even though Quentin has already sailed across the Atlantic alone twice in a Mini 6.50, the Route du Rhum will be a major first for the young 29 year old skipper sailing solo in a multihull.

I really feel at ease on board! The technical and electronic adjustments have been carried out, and the alterations to the roof and the cockpit we made last winter have made the boat significantly more comfortable. I have also worked on my sleep to better manage my sleep pattern in the transat race. It has been a constructive experience.

Ibiza-Dénia: new record time

When it sailed into Dénia, a city on Spain’s east coast between Valencia and Alicante, the trimaran Arkema took Alex Pella on board, a sailor well known to the Team.

Already the holder of the record time between Dénia and Ibiza in a Mini 6.50, the Spanish sailor suggested to the team to set him up in an Ocean Fifty by way of training in the run-up to the Pro Sailing Tour.

Thanks to perfect conditions throughout the 55 mile course, we did it in the same time as the ferry (!!), which is 2 hours 14 minutes. We took the opportunity to fine-tune the settings in sustained winds. It was perfect!” our skipper comments. From there, Quentin and his crew then set sail for Corsica where they arrived at the end of last week.

Arkema sailing

An experienced crew in Bonifacio

For this 1st episode of the Pro Sailing Tour, Quentin will be accompanied by Alex Pella and boat captain Raphaël Lutard, who will also be joined by Pierre-Antoine Morvan, from sailmakers Incidence, and Antoine Gautier, technical director of François Gabart’s trimaran SVR – Lazartigue.

I am delighted with this crew”, Quentin says. “Pierre-Antoine Morvan, who has already sailed with us in the past, is a pro in match racing and therefore an excellent tactician. His analysis will be very important, especially in Bonifacio where there are plenty of local effects on the water. Alex Pella and Antoine Gautier are both multihull experts, especially in the Ultim class. I am delighted to welcome them on board and be able to exchange with them as much as possible and, so, benefit from their experience.

Alex’s presence is particularly important, as he will be acting as the Arkema onshore router in the Route du Rhum. “It is necessary for him to be able to analyze the boat’s behavior based on the weather conditions and to take in my way of sailing.

For this second season, the skipper's objectives are clear: to do better than the second place he earned in 2021 behind his competitor Leyton.

“Last year, we were in uncharted waters sailing a new boat whose behavior we were not familiar with in certain wind and sea conditions. We now know that Arkema is capable of doing very well!”

Click here to follow the 1st episode of the Pro Sailing Tour in Bonifacio.

The Arkema crew in the 1st episode of the Pro Sailing Tour

  • Quentin Vlamynck: skipper-helmsman
  • Raphaël Lutard: piano operator
  • Pierre-Antoine Morvan: tactician
  • Antoine Gautier: winchman
  • Alex Pella: winchman

Check out Season 1 of the Pro Sailing Tour on Canal+

A truly original feature of this circuit, each episode is entirely filmed as part of a docuseries. Season 1, shot in 2021, is now available! The first episode titled “Brest : Tout commence en Finistère” [Brest: it all starts in Finistère] was broadcast at 7:12 pm on Sunday 8 May on Canal+ Sport.

The other episodes are scheduled for the same time on the next three Sundays, on the same channel. A replay is available on the myCANAL platform.