Mich Desj: 'I think I might be considered a soft manager'.......

MOD70 n°03 FONCIA - Michel Desjoyeaux 06.07.12

Michel Desjoyeaux is one of the earliest adopters in the MOD70 class, taking on boat number 3 which he launched late last year. For a sailor who is world renowned for making technological advances all the way through his career.

He may cherish such innovations but that is not to overlook the fact that he has also been a very successful one design sailor, three times winner of the Solitaire du Figaro. And he has won in multihulls of all sizes, from the 2002 Route du Rhum and 2004 Transat to the D35’s. So the MOD70, for him, embraces many areas of the sport of sailing about which he is passionate, not least expanding the global interest outside of France:

“ I am well used to One Design having competed for so long in the Figaro and so I pushed hard to help the MOD organisation to follow the way of One Design as much as possible with the boat and around the boat.” Desjoyeaux outlines, “ And I appreciate that just as I appreciate technology but now is not the time for that. The main advantage for me is not a question of money, but a question of interest for non multihull French culture, so we would appreciate it if teams from outside of France come to race with us, because of the one design concept then everyone should have the same boat as we do.”

“You cannot make changes to it you will be able to compete on equal terms from the start. There are no technological works to do, you just have to maintain it. You only have to understand what makes the boat go fast and how to do the sport part of the performance.

He believes that the MOD70 is accessible and will appeal to sailors, owners and sponsors from outside of the culture of French multihull sailing.

“ You can see in the AC45 that the non French multihull culture became very competitive very fast, because they worked hard and they are good sailors, so we hope that this will be an opportunity to race with us. And in this championship there is no single handed and double handed racing, so it as an opportunity for teams who do not have this culture to come and race with us and against us and everybody can be competitive.”

And though Desjoyeaux has gained considerable success racing solo, he enjoys racing with a  full crew:

“I have a very good crew so I do nothing....” he quips, “..I think I could be considered as a soft manager. If they are here with me then it is because they appreciate to work with me. They know me for long enough to know how I want to work and how I don’t want to work. So I am very demanding with them at the beginning but then they appreciate I won’t need to be demanding with them again because they are already involved.

The key to this race is to fight until the very end. Nothing’s done until the finish line is crossed so we can fight until the finish line, just as we saw on the prologue from Newport to New York, you can imagine there will be many opportunities on an Atlantic crossing.”

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