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I feel good on my own on this boat”

Quentin’s words when he tied up to the La Trinité-sur-Mer pontoon this Thursday 21 July were nice to hear, as he completed his very first solo race in a 50-foot trimaran. After setting off from Cherbourg on Sunday 17 July, ready to take on a 1,200 nautical mile course to La Trinité-sur-Mer via the Irish coast and off the Gironde coastline, the Arkema young skipper had his mind set on learning more above all else.

“I didn't set off at the same pace as the three leaders,” he explains. “I hadn't done any solo racing since 2017, in a Mini 6.50, and my goal was clearly to learn about my boat in the open sea, alone, and to find out more about the tempo I should adopt on board. And both these points were validated. I feel good on board Arkema. The boat is reliable and sturdy, and it returned to port in excellent conditions.

In terms of routine, I managed to sleep between 2 and 3 hours a day despite uncomfortable conditions. The second night in particular, after passing the Fastnet lighthouse, was quite dangerous, with highly unstable winds shifting from 4 to 30 knots in no time. I was careful and coped without any trouble. Even though the first three boats did take the lead, this was still a hard race with Éric (Peron) and Thibaut (Vauchel-Camus). I’m pleased to have taken part in this event as it validated plenty of parameters.”

Looking ahead to the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe race

This 4th place in the Drheam Cup above all means Arkema’s and Quentin’s qualification for the Route du Rhum this autumn, between Saint-Malo and Pointe-à-Pitre, in the Ocean Fifty class. “I'm happy to have qualified for the race. This enabled me to sail in the same configuration as in the Route du Rhum.”

Regarding pace and routine on board, sleep and food, maneuvers..., the skipper indeed took the measure of what is ahead of him in a few months’ time when he sails across the Atlantic in a multihull solo for the first time.

“In particular, this race has given me the opportunity to work closely with Alex Pella and Éric Mas, my routing cell on land. We’re all in sync, and I’m happy with the exchanges we had during the race. Communication between us is very smooth, and both are fully dedicated to the job. This is vital ahead of the Route du Rhum.”

Brief summer respite

Following over 70 days at sea since May, with the Pro Sailing Tour events and the various ferrying voyages, the Arkema trimaran and Quentin Vlamynck have covered no less than 8,000 nautical miles in three months, which is one and a half times the distance from France to Guadeloupe this autumn.

“We’re going to bring the boat back to Port-Médoc for a small maintenance session, but there won’t be any major overhaul to speak of. The boat is in excellent condition and doesn’t need being completely taken apart. This means I’ll be able to sail again at the end of August to resume my training. In the meantime, I’m going to grab some rest and prepare for another challenge: the Pyrénées triathlon in Saint-Lary at the beginning of September. And for this challenge, I’ve got my work cut out.”