The double for Edmond de Rothschild in Roscoff
The trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild crossed the finish line for the final leg between Plymouth and Roscoff this Saturday at 14h36’14’’ GMT. After a final sprint of nearly 250 nautical miles, Sébastien Josse and his crew took the win in Morlaix Bay ahead of Oman Air and Vibrac Paprec 70; a place which has secured the men of Gitana Team outright victory in this first edition of the Route des Princes. In so doing, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild has earned his first major win at the helm of an oceanic trimaran.

On leaving Plymouth shortly before nightfall yesterday, Sébastien Josse and his crew were making no secret of their determination and knew that outright victory was within their grasp after their faultless performance in the Plymouth inshore races moved them up to the top of the Route des Princes’ leaderboard. There was still everything to play for though and the final leg to Roscoff promised a merciless duel with the crew of Oman Air. The calculation was simple, with a four-point lead over their direct rival, the men of Gitana Team had to be at least second into Roscoff and they also had to pocket the bonus point awarded to the first MOD70 to pass the Roche Gautier cardinal mark to be assured of victory. At 1003 GMT this Sunday, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild was first to round the cardinal mark offshore of the island of Bréhat. From that point, Sébastien Josse’s crew dug deep at the head of the fleet of MOD70s and skilfully controlled the attacks from the Omani one-design to finally take the win with an 11-minute lead. On his arrival in the port of Le Bloscon, Sébastien Josse was more than happy to give up his time for interviews and review the previous 19 hours of the race: “We’ve pulled off the double: a win in the final leg and the event title… we couldn’t have hoped for better! This race didn’t kick off very well though as we got off to a poor start and exited Plymouth Sound in third place, whilst Oman was slipping along at the front of the pack. However, we remained calm and focused and managed to catch up with the others. The course to Wolf Rock was a close-contact gybing battle with the whole crew on deck. During our Channel crossing, we sailed well by opting for a more northerly option, which paid off ultimately. The bonus point at Roche Gautier was really important, but we wanted more, as we were yet to secure an offshore victory. The last few miles were pretty stressful as the wind had eased and our two adversaries were catching up. Added to that, we knew that anything could happen once the tide turned. We gave our all and our passage across the finish line was liberating. It’s great to finish on a high!”

Edmond de Rothschild’s victory in the Route des Princes is the result of over two years’ teamwork. In his initial reaction to this win, Sébastien Josse was keen to associate his crew and all the members of Gitana Team with this first place: “It’s hugely satisfying to win and present this first major victory to the owners of our boat – Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild – as well as all Edmond de Rothschild Group’s representatives. It is especially satisfying at the head of the crew that is accompanying me. This group was created two and a half years ago for the MOD70 project. Together we’ve had to find our bearings in multihull sailing because, on paper, it wasn’t the most experienced trimaran crew. However, through the team’s trust and a great deal of work, we’ve progressed together to reach the stage that we’re at today. When you spend long hours on the water training and the results don’t necessarily tie in with your expectations, there are moments of doubt. However, when it pays off, as it has with this victory, it’s very touching. Today the crew is at its best! I’d like to give my shore crew a mention. They do an outstanding job, albeit out of the spotlight… I’m lucky to have such a high performance team, which ensures that we always have a boat in perfect condition so we can show just what we’re made of on the water. Thank you to them.”

The crew reviews the match

Imperial during the three inshore races contested in Valencia, Lisbon and then Plymouth, the crew of Edmond de Rothschild continued to up their game in the offshore races throughout the month of racing in this Route des Princes. Third in Lisbon at the end of the first leg, Sébastien Josse and his crew secured second place in the next two races, before taking the win in the event’s fourth and final offshore race.

Charles Caudrelier, navigator on Edmond de Rothschild: “ We’ve had a month of complicated races. We weren’t terribly successful in the offshores and I didn’t perform as well as I’d have liked in terms of the navigation, particularly in the initial legs. Fortunately though, this last leg went a lot better than the previous ones… Again this final sprint wasn’t easy with regard the weather, but the crew got the boat making headway superbly well, which enabled us to get out of any tricky situations and take the win. Seb and I will be heading off together this autumn on the Transat Jacques Vabre. It’s the same boat, but a very different adventure! I’m very happy that Sébastien chose me to accompany him.”

Thomas Rouxel, helmsman - trimmer: “ It’s obviously a positive result as we achieved our goal, which was to win this race. Our victories in the inshore races, which counted towards 20% of the final score, enabled us to bag some very precious points; points which ultimately made the difference. However, more important than the scoring aspects, these results created a positive dynamic, which tipped the balance. The Route des Princes is a long race spanning over a month and you have to keep up with the pace. Within Gitana Team though, we have an amazingly honed shore crew, which enabled us to devote all our time to our sailing and performance. It’s a great luxury and a real asset.”  

Florent Chastel, bowman: “ This victory was something we built up step by step. The crew got off to a good start by winning the inshore races in Valencia. The second day of races in Spain really gave us a boost: we won three inshore races in a row in breezy conditions and we could sense that the group was bonding and that something was happening. From that point, we were on it. Even though the first leg was difficult and laborious, we felt that the group wouldn’t give up. Though the results weren’t yet reflecting this, the desire to perform well was very much in evidence. After that, things rose in a crescendo through until today, where we really felt the desire to win. For me, the key to success is the human, the group. Sailing is certainly a mechanical sport, but it’s also a team sport. And that is translated through the preparation, the technicians and the logisticians, as well as getting the machine making headway.”

Olivier Douillard, trimmer: “Sébastien has always wanted to create a team of people he could trust 100% and he was keen to have people around him with a variety of skills, who would all work as one. That’s what he’s managed to do and it’s worked. It took one year, last year, to settle into things. I think the team spirit had a lot to do with the end result. The group has worked better this year for no really apparent reason. When things are going well, sometimes the mindset, the structures in place and the energy, give the team its dynamic. From that point, things can easily go one way or another; it can be down to little triggers, feelings or slightly more assertion in terms of someone’s skills. I think we knew that victory was a possibility. In the offshore races, we had some slight issues at the start of the tour of Europe, though we were at a very high standard in the inshores from the outset. The group obviously pushed hard with that, believing that victory was possible each time.”

Antoine Koch, helmsman – trimmer: What made the difference was the past year of experience sailing this boat, which meant that we were very fluid. That enabled us to have a little more pace, more ease with the manoeuvres and simpler transition phases. This was particularly true given that we were able to continue training this year. The group has remained fairly stable too and so there’s a real sense of continuity in our apprenticeship, which means we could detect our strengths and drive those home. In the inshores we were relatively confident in the breezy conditions in particular. After that, the offshores were very close-run races right to the finish. However, it’s clear that we didn’t give up and that we battled all the way to the end for this victory.”

Jean-Christophe Mourniac, helmsman – trimmer: “ This victory is the result of a whole series of things to my mind: it’s the fruit of a year’s experience where the team did what it needed to erase its imperfections and has reached its best this year. Also and above all though, it’s about a team which get on particularly well together: a shore crew who are familiar with the boat and prepare her with meticulous detail, and a sailing team where there’s an excellent ambiance thanks to the trust and respect Sébastien has for everyone. The whole caboodle makes this a winning team.”

Cyril Dardashti, General Manager of the Gitana Team: “ This victory is the reward for two years of work and a whole team made up of technicians, sailors and a coach (Tanguy Leglatin)… Winning this race gives us great pride, especially given how hard it’s been to secure this first place. It shows that hard work is always rewarded. Until today, we had always secured a podium place in the offshores, but we’d never won. Today we finally have a leg win and we couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to round off this Tour of Europe. I am quite overcome for Sébastien as he has worked so hard to get himself up to the level of the multihull specialists and this victory is very much deserved.”

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild in the Route des Princes

Sébastien Josse (skipper)
Charles Caudrelier / Thomas Rouxel / Olivier Douillard / Florent Chastel / Antoine Koch / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Cyril Dardashti / David Boileau / Sébastien Col

Ranking for offshore 4 (Plymouth - Roscoff)
  1. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) / 30 + 1.5 * = 31.5 points
  2. Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) / 27 points
  3. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) / 24 points
  4. Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) / DNS - 21 points

* Bonus point with 1.5 points awarded to the first MOD70 to pass the Roche Gautier cardinal

Overall ranking for the Route des Princes (before the jury)
  1. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) / 167.5 points
  2. Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) / 159 points
  3. Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) / 147 points
  4. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) / 128 points
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