4 sailors

As representatives of four different nations, they are the best proof of Figaro Bénéteau class’ claims to be an international race. All four sailors have different sailing cultures and experiences. Though their goals are common: to discover the world of racing that has its own practices and regulations.

   Some of them have raced in Transat 6.50, olympic classes and even IMOCA 60…  What brings them together is their admiration of the level of difficulty and sporting values that Figaro Bénéteau represents.

A thinker and a boxer

Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) is an ultimately kind young man. Despite his kindness, he cannot help but complain about the results that don’t suit him. On his second solo experience after Mini Transat 6.50 class, the Italian sailor seems to have resolved the mystery.

“France is the capital of sailing and Figaro class is at the centre of this. Whenever you achieve something in the Figaro class, you can do anything anywhere else,” he says.

The sailor has a passion for the race that fits in with his belief that racing is a lifestyle. Giancarlo had been boxing before he came into the solo race. When things aren’t working on the boat, he remembers those long minutes where he had to fend off the relentless jabs of his rival.

The flying Portuguese

In his first year at the Figaro Bénéteau class, Francisco Lobato (Roff Tempo Team) has really  impressed everyone with his fighting energy.

This quiet and introverted young man is in fact very aggressive and competitive. For the last two legs he has generally been among the leading groups, but he needs to be a little more consistent to win at least one of the legs.

After gaining prominence in the mini class, Francisco gained some offshore experience at Transat 6.50. The young sailor is also a member of the Portuguese Olympic Sailing Team. He became a rising star of the Portuguese sailing world after his achievements in the French solo races. But he wasn’t carried away with his victories.

Francisco’s ideal is very clear: he wants to be the first Portuguese to achieve a remarkable success in the Figaro class.

He carries the hopes of Turkey on his shoulders

Selim Kakış (Türk Telekom) is carrying the hopes of Turkey on his shoulders on-route to Istanbul. For such a ‘stranger’ to this tough race in the Figaro Bénéteau class, his performance has impressed and surprised everyone.

Growing up as a sailor since Optimist class, despite his broad sailing experience and participation in the Olympics Games in Athens as part of the Turkish Sailing Team, he has never raced in an offshore sailing race at this magnitude. His experience is limited to his short preparation period with his trainer Gerald Veniard, who is one of the best in Figaro class.

He is trying to study the course on one hand and practicing his trainer’s advices on the other. By taking 14th place in the general ranking after the first two legs and leaving behind quite a few regulars of the race by doing so, he has proved to be “a good student.”

Jonny teaches sailing

Jonny Malbon (Artemis) has taken a bold step after his departure from Vendée Globe in 2008-2009. He could have easily used his bad luck at the world tour as an excuse and highlighted his previous successes, but he didn’t. Instead he went for one of the toughest sailing challenges in Europe – WOW Cap Istanbul.

By watching his rivals closely and not breaking away from the fleet, Jonny is doing his best to blend in. Well-calculated maneuvers, a firm control of the helm to avoid drifting off the course and coping with fatigue are among the issues that the sailor is taking great care of.

With his bright blue eyes hidden behind his large sunglasses, Jonny’s smile and “typically English stance” have been unblemished.

Also teaching sailing at the Artemis Training Centre in England, Jonny indicates that their training program is the same as in Port-la-Foret, Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie or La Grande Motte training centres in France. He says, “If English sailors always had the chance to train like this, I’m sure there would be many more English challengers in Vendée Globe.”

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