With the presentation of the Imoca skippers the countdown for The Ocean Race has started. In addition to the race favorites around Charlie Enright of 11th Hour Racing, Kevin Escoffier (Holcim), Paul Meilhat (Biotherm) and Boris Herrmann (Malizia) presented themselves on stage at the Ocean Live Park in Alicante – and of course GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, for which Benjamin Dutreux took a seat next to the competitors. The Frenchman, together with his co-skipper Robert Stanjek (Berlin), will start the seven-stage world race at 4 p.m. on January 15. To keep fans up to date, the French-German team has launched its website in addition to its social media channels with the skipper’s press conference. In keeping with the European campaign, it is called team-europe.eu and, like the yacht, it is in black.
After the intensive days of preparation in the past weeks, Benjamin Dutreux admitted that The Ocean Race will be a big task not only for him and the sailing crew, but for the entire team: “After all, it’s not just a question of sailing around the world with the yacht. It also involves a lot of logistics. This is a race for us sailors, for the tech team, the logistics and the communications team.”
The 32-year-old expects exciting stages, “The last race was extremely close. I hope we will see something similar this time.” Although for him, as for the other four crews, the third leg around the Southern Ocean will bring the greatest challenge physically and mentally, he sees the team being challenged right from the start. “The first two legs will be tough for us,” says Dutreux, referring to the fact that the competitors are all racing with new boats that will have advantages in the regions with supposedly moderate wind conditions. “But we have good quality on board, and we want to keep improving and using our skills.”
Reports from the stages will be posted regularly on the team’s own website. This will include information on all team members, the yacht and the race – including the race tracker, which will be embedded in the website with the starts.