Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team looks back on initial sailor trials ahead of Ocean Race campaign

The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team began its sailor trials programme last month to prepare for the next edition of The Ocean Race.

The first assessments took place in Lorient – the home of Team Skipper Yoann Richomme and the capital of French offshore sailing – as part of a year-long process to select the sailors who will crew the team’s Racing for the Planet boat when The Ocean Race commences next year. 

Skipper Yoann Richomme developed the assessment programme for hopeful sailors after taking the helm of the boat for the first time at the team base in Cascais, Portugal last month. The programme started with two weeks of trials, testing 12 sailors on board a 30 foot Figaro 3 – a boat with which Richomme is very familiar, as reigning two-time victor of the Solitaire du Figaro.

“Putting together a team for The Ocean Race isn’t a simple task. We need to make sure we have the right blend of experience and youth to comply with the organisers rules,” explained Richomme. “It is important not to lose sight of what we are trying to achieve, which is to build a cohesive team and make the boat go fast. A lot of people will say you need sailors who weigh a certain amount or can hit certain figures in the gym, but it’s really about identifying candidates with the right attitude and overall performance on the water.”

“We chose to hold the initial trials on a Figaro because it is a boat that exposes the strengths and weaknesses of a sailor. As part of a crew of ten on a VO65 you have your job and have to do it well, but on these smaller boats, each sailor has to do more and adapt to changing conditions so it provides a broader test.”

Further sailor tryouts are now on hold for the near future as the team implements recommended safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When it is safe to resume, approximately twenty further sailors will be assessed through sessions in the Figaro and in offshore trials and practice races on board the team’s Racing for the Planet VO65 boat.

“This was a very productive first trial and gives us a good baseline,” continued Richomme. “We aren’t necessarily looking for the finished product, we are looking for attitude, skill and desire. Once we are able to resume in a safe and responsible manner we will continue our schedule of trials and practice races to enable us to test candidates in difficult conditions, under real pressure and we look forward to welcoming new members to the team.”

The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team is still inviting sailors who wish to apply for trials to contact the team at: racingteam@mirpurifoundation.org


Photo Credits: Marc Bow