French solo ocean racing skipper Sébastien Simon has joined GUYOT environnement – Team Europe as the French/German collaboration led by Benjamin Dutreux (FRA) and Robert Stanjek (GER) ramps up its preparations for The Ocean Race 2022-23. Simon will act as an alternate for Dutreux on certain legs as well as providing on shore strategic support around performance analysis, meteorology, and navigation.
Brought up in France’s Vendée region and first introduced to sailing by his father, Simon started racing in Optimists before graduating to the 420 dinghy in which he finished third at the 2013 world championship in Valencia crewed by Pierre Rhimbault.
After turning his attention to offshore racing – and the professional Figaro circuit in particular – Simon won the 2013 Challenge Espoir Région Bretagne – CMB selection process. That success secured him a boat and funding to compete on the Figaro circuit – an award he took full advantage of by five years later winning both the 2018 La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro and the French Elite Offshore Racing Championship title.
Those performances led to him taking on his first Vendée Globe in 2020-21 with PAPREC ARKÉA. Sadly, after 25 days of racing in the top group and shortly after diverting to help with the search for marooned fellow competitor Kevin Escoffier, Simon was forced out of the race with foil damage.
Simon said he jumped at the chance to compete in The Ocean Race – particularly as part of a team led by his close friend Dutreux with whom he shared university accommodation with in Nantes as well as racing against him on the Figaro circuit. Although best known as a solo sailor Simon is a long-time fan of The Ocean Race.
“It is a fantastic race and I’m delighted to be competing in the next edition. Benjamin is my best friend so I know him very well. We were students together and he started sailing on the Figaro at the same time as me.”
Stanjek said Simon’s experience and technical background made him a perfect addition to the team: “Aside from his invaluable experience on these new foiling IMOCAs he is very good on the technical side with data analysis and also with meteorology and routing. It is great to have him with us.”
Dutreux said he could not be happier to have Simon join the team and highlighted the importance of having people around you that you can rely on in a marathon event like The Ocean Race.
“The human aspect is very important on a campaign like this because it is so long and you live so closely with each other as a team. I know how intense Sébastien’s focus is and also how motivated he is to be part of a full crew taking part in The Ocean Race.”