Last week we took the guys at Pole Vendee up on their kind offer to come and join in with their training in St Gille Groix de Vie. This training center on the west coast is home to two very accomplished Figaro sailors, Morgan Lagraviere (top rookie int he Soliatire last year and 7th Overall) and Gildas Mahe (funny guy and wise old Figaro hand). They are both high level sailors and have a really nice, chilled setup with a preparatuer and team manager and guest coach Dimitri Deruelle as well as two visiting sail designers on one of the days. So although we, or more me than Sam whose french is quite good now, made hard work of the French discussions and forced a little English on them at times we were certainly honored to be asked to come and make up the numbers.
Over the three days we got a full range of conditions from 30 knots and waves to 6 knots and flat water with the sessions involving a lot of straight line speed testing and usually ending with some small races. I was particularly impressed with the discipline and intensity of these days and it reminded me of the time I spent tuning with the Yngling girls before Bejing in 2008. Training in a group of four is a lot easier than eight or ten boats, even if it makes the racing a little demoralizing at times with the standard other boats ensuring any mistakes were punished.
On the Friday night after another long and mostly incomprehensible debrief we headed back out and made the 15 mile trip down to Les Sables where all five Artemis boats are now sitting ready for the start of the Solo Duo Massif Marine. Between now and then things should hopefully be quite relaxed with measurement check to complete, a couple of last minute boat tickles and plenty of time looking at race strategy.