On stand-by for an imminent start from Brest, Francis Joyon was determined during the preparation phase to ensure that he had the right people around him to win the Jules Verne Trophy. Consequently, the five sailors he selected all have a wealth of solo experience and know all about offshore racing. This is a very international crew of five including two Frenchmen, one from Switzerland, a Spaniard and a German. Three of them have already completed round the world voyages and know the Southern Ocean well (Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Boris Herrmann). As for the other two (Clément Surtel and Gwénolé Gahinet), this will be their first time.
Presentation of the five men in the crew of the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran
Bernard Stamm: A round the world specialist
Age: 51 (born in Geneva on 29th November 1963)
Bernard Stamm knows what he is letting himself in for. Crewman for Bruno Peyron on the Orange 2 maxi catamaran, he improved on the Jules Verne trophy record in 2005, completing the course in 50 days and 16 hours, a performance, which still remains the third best time ever. Aboard IDEC SPORT, the Swiss skipper will be attempting to repeat that feat. He has had three other round the world successes, two sailing solo (Around Alone in 2003, Velux 5 Oceans in 2007) and one double-handed (Barcelona World Race 2014-2015 with Jean Le Cam). He has taken part three times in the Vendée Globe. Bernard has acquired an exceptional experience of round the world sailing. Although he has sailed on all the world’s oceans, it was on the sheltered waters of Lake Geneva that he first sailed. Looking for freedom and wishing to discover new horizons, Stamm soon went much further. It was in 1995 that he first raced out on the ocean. At the helm of a prototype built by himself, he finished third in the Mini Transat. Always looking for a challenge, Bernard wanted to move up and in early 1997 inn the Breton fishing port of Lesconil, he took up a huge challenge: he wanted to build a 60-foot IMOCA for the 2000-2001 Vendée Globe. He was successful in managing to set off from Les Sables d’Olonne, but was forced to retire a few days later. Bernard wouldn’t give up and we know what happened next, three round the world wins as well as other successes… As determined and charismatic as he is talented, Bernard Stamm will offer all his skill to Francis Joyon’s new challenge. A strong asset.
Gwénolé Gahinet: Success at an early age…
Age: 31 (born in Vannes on 1st January 1984)
The youngest crew member will bring along a breath of fresh air, as this is his first round the world voyage. The son of Gilles – twice winner of the Solitaire du Figaro and an epic double-handed transatlantic race finishing ahead of Tabarly in 1979, Gwénolé Gahinet has someone to emulate. He first sailed on an Optimist in la Trinité-sur-Mer, today the home port for IDEC SPORT. At the same time as studying to become a boat engineer, he raced in Class8 before competing three times in the Tour de France sailing race. Hired by the famous design team of VPLP, Gwénolé did a bit of everything and worked on some of ocean racing’s finest racers. The youngster got the opportunity to experience some great sailing trips within the framework of his job, but that wasn’t enough for him. So, in 2011 he competed on a series boat in the Mini Transat. At the end of a particularly closely fought contest, he came out on top in Salvador de Bahia ahead of 47 other boats. In 2013, he set sail again in this event, this time on a prototype, aiming for an unprecedented double win in a series boat and then on a prototype. But he was forced to retire with damage to his keel. After three years in the Mini circuit, Gwénolé moved up to the Figaro class. Once again, success came quickly. First rookie in the prestigious Solitaire du Figaro in 2014, he finished fifth overall the following year. Sailing double-handed with Paul Meilhat, Gwénolé Gahinet left his mark winning the 2014 Transat AG2R 2014, proving how at ease he was sailing offshore. A strength when you are about to tackle the Jules Verne Trophy.
Alex Pella: The Spanish Swiss army knife
Age: 42 (born in Barcelona on 2nd November 1972)
Alex Pella has a wide ranging CV. Firstly he prepared boats for others, like Team Adventure for The Race 2000, but then the Catalonian skipper took up racing himself with some amazing achievements from the outset. In 2003, he made it to the podium of the Mini Transat, and in so doing surprised everyone. His talent was confirmed two years later, when he finished second in the same race, with the best Atlantic crossing from Lanzarote to Salvador da Bahia. A strong all-rounder and skilled at preparing boats, Alex Pella has moved between various types of boat with one or more hulls and usually successfully. In the high class 60-foot IMOCA circuit in 2010, he set a new record time between New York and Barcelona before signing up for the 2010-2011 Barcelona World Race, the double-handed round the world race, which he finished in 4th place. Thanks to his results and skills, he became consultant during the filming of the French movie, En Solitaire, which was all about the Vendée Globe. An unusual experience, but one which didn’t stop him from attaining his sporting goals. As proof of that, there was his second place in Class40 in the 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre. Once agin in Class40, in 2014, he won the Route du Rhum on his first attempt, improving on the race record in this legendary race. Called up to strengthen the IDEC SPORT team by Francis Joyon, he is now going to tackle another equally legendary event, the Jules Verne Trophy. Another line to add to his list of achievements…
Boris Herrmann: The German pioneer
Age: 34 (born in Oldenburg on 28th May 1981)
Two round the world voyages, three times around the Horn: Boris Herrmann knows all about ocean racing and the tough stuff. Recently the German skipper sailed aboard Francis Joyon’s old IDEC and not just on any old course. A member of the crew of the Chinese sailor, Guo Chuan, Boris contributed to setting a new Arctic Ocean record via the North-East passage between Murmansk and the Bering Strait. Never before had a racing catamaran ventured into these hostile waters… This wasn’t the first time that Boris Herrmann was a pioneering figure. After starting on racing dinghies, he soon realised he was attracted to ocean racing and entered this world in the 2001 Mini Transat at the age of just 19, making him the youngest entrant. The experience would see him get a very honourable eleventh place. In 2009, Boris Herrmann became the first German to win an ocean racing event, the Global Ocean Race, the double-handed race around the world in Class40 with stopovers. Before this race, no Class40 had ever sailed in the Southern Ocean rounding Cape Horn. Boris went back to the deep south on a 60-foot IMOCA in the 2010-2011 Barcelona World Race, the double-handed round the world race that he finished in fifth place. A strong all rounder, he has also sailed a lot over the past few years in the TP52 circuit and aboard Giovanni Soldini’s VOR70, Maserati. For Boris Herrmann, the Jules Verne Trophy attempt will be his first. But that isn’t going to frighten such a pioneer. Quite the reverse.
Clément Surtel: An expert in giant trimarans
Age: 36 (born in Nantes on 14th November 1978)
A few years ago, when he was preparing Groupama, Clément Surtel, showed a certain Francis Joyon around the maxi trimaran. Clément could not have imagined a few years later, he would be part of the crew alongside Francis on this very same boat when she tackled the Jules Verne Trophy… A pinnacle of his career for Clément, who took up ocean racing at an early age, first of all on all sorts of charter boats. A member of the Escoffier family on his mother’s side, he entered the world of ocean racing, when he prepared his uncle’s boat (Franck-Yves Escoffier) for the 1998 Route du Rhum. Four years later, he was back in the Rhum, but this time as a skipper on a 50-foot monohull. In the very demanding 2002 race, he made it to Pointe-à-Pitre finishing fifth in his category. Clément then skippered Eric Tabarly’s famous Pen Duick VI, before moving to giant multihulls. He prepared Bruno Peyron’s maxi catamaran Orange 2, which grabbed the Jules Verne Trophy in 2005. He remained ashore for the round the world record, but Clément was aboard the following year, when Orange 2 took two other records: the North Atlantic crossing and the 24-Hour record. Excited by the speed and thrills of these incredible machines, and passionate about the possibilities of developing them, Clément Surtel then worked alongside Franck Cammas on Groupama 3. Once again preparing the boat, he contributed to Cammas’s successful attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy in 2009-2010. With Francis Joyon, Clément Surtel will be experiencing his third Jules Verne. But this time, he won’t remain ashore and will discover the Southern Ocean on a boat that he knows like the back of his hand.