Many people gathered in Lorient for the launch of Isabelle Joschke's remodelled MACSF monohull. In addition to many representatives of the sponsors who came to share the moment, there in the thick of things was Morgan Lagravière who will be Joschke’s co-skipper on the upcoming Transat Jacques Vabre.
Also there was Quentin Lucet from the VPLP design office who designed the foils and who is very optimistic about the potential performance of the modified, updated monohull which was originally launched as Safran in 2007 and which marked the beginning of a prolific era for the VPLP – Verdier. Forty two year old, Munich, Germany born Joschke was understandably excited as the emotional moments arrived when her boat went back in the water.
Vendée Globe: I imagine that these moments are filled with so many mixed feelings?
Isabelle Joschke: Absolutely. In some ways this feels a bit like a race start, with that inner tension building up inside. But I am so really happy and proud to see the results of these eight months work. It has felt like a long wait during the building phase but here we are, ready to step up our pace, our intensity. The goal now is to sail enough with Morgan we are ready for the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre.
VG: The boat has undergone many changes?
IJ: The most important is obvious. The addition of foils radically transforms the look of MACSF. But along with our technical team we did not stop there: we changed the mast and the outriggers to make the rig easier to adjust. And a new coachroof will allow me to remain drier and more comfortable and that in turn will help our performance.
VG: Looking at the foils, you have not gone to the extreme ...
IJ: Yes that is the way we have chosen to go. We wanted to stay true to the philosophy of our project, we want a versatile, all round boat to maximise our chances of finishing the Vendée Globe. I feel that I still lack the experience on the IMOCAs that would allow me to go for the more radical options. So the goal is to get around the world, to finish. But that is with the sporting performance also as a priority. I want to be in the match so I need to have foils. The idea is to make a clean race, to tell the human story, to be able to share it. But if we had gone for something I could not really have exploited to its fullest extent, then I would have risked compromising or failing to achieve what I set out to do.
VG: To be sure to start, you'll have to earn some miles now on the Globe Series...
IJ: Yes, that means now I have to do everything to finish races. At the same time, I do not want to just be sailing in delivery mode to finish. I'll have to sail smart, to set the cursor in the right place. But I'm not putting more any more pressure on myself beyond that, that – I know – would be counterproductive.
VG: The latest IMOCA boats are setting a trend for almost completely enclosed living cells. How does that sit with you?
IJ: I understand the reasons why. The faster the boat goes then the more inhospitable the environment becomes. So from a performance point of logic, you need to protect yourself even more especially as you do tend to be inside the boat three-quarters of the time. We chose another route with this coachroof with big portholes. Personally I feel like I need to feel the wind. I think I would be anxious if I could not have a sense of the wind and weather. I understand the approach of sailors like Charlie Dalin or Alex Thomson, but I admit that I am quite happy right now where I am.
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