Vendée Arctique : “I had a real Eureka moment”


At the end of a Vendée Arctique with several plot twists, Alan Roura speaks about his experiences during his second race on board Hublot. The weather, the unexpected race instructions and the sensations at the helm of his new boat… the young sailor from Geneva tells us everything.

Alan, what a start back on June 12th! The first time you got off to a start like that in the front positions from the quay…

“I had my heart set on proving to my team and to myself that I was capable of making a good start and being well placed on the line. It was one of the areas that I was able to work on between the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race and the Vendée Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne, I’m really happy it paid off!

Getting a good start allows you to stick with the leading pack straightaway and to really bust a gut from the off. That really helped me to get into the match, it was quite a tight start to the race! I was then slowed down by several technical glitches during the first night, while the leaders were all still flying along, but I’m very happy with the start in general. It is the first time that I was with the frontrunners!”

Approaching the two ridges, you chose an option to the west which didn’t help your position in the race: mentally, how did you manage to continue with that route?

“I didn’t look at the positions on the board, I looked at my position in relation to the other boats, not the numbers. I knew I was miles off in terms of my place, but that option, I was totally convinced by it from the beginning! I just had to accept that I needed to stick to my idea, I knew that it would then only take one day to climb back up the places, and everything went as planned. A lot of careful consideration went into that strategy. I thought I might even have got a bit higher, but it didn’t work out too badly!” 

So you were never in any doubt?

“There are obviously transitional phases when you ask yourself questions… Benjamin Dutreux and I were the only two to have really pushed that option all the way, it was almost fun in the end. You always have that doubt in your mind of whether you’ve made the right choice or not, but basically, in for a penny, in for a pound. Better to see it through and have no regrets. You have to remember this is just a game at the end of the day!”

You end up climbing progressively up the places as the boats regroup and you eventually find yourself in seventh place, just as the race organisers decide to stop the race. What did you feel at that moment?

There’s the sensation of leaving something unfinished. This race is not over and it never will be for me deep down. I’m missing something. The plan I made for myself in my head was a long term plan, it was meant to last longer and suddenly the rug is pulled out from under me! It’s tough! (Laughs) It is also a situation you go through, where you know you could maybe have moved up a couple of places. But hey, it’s the same for everyone in the end!”

“Park my thoughts and press on with my head down”

What are you taking away from the Vendée Arctique ?

“I had a real Eureka moment in this race. The Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race signalled my return to the rest of the competition and, above all, it allowed me to get warmed up and to get to know Hublot. On the Vendée Arctique, I trusted myself and my boat a lot more, I was able to park my thoughts and press on with my head down. Because that’s what you have to do! Depending on the wind conditions, the boat’s only limit is the human sailing it: when it is really blowing, the boat is going to go! You just have to brace yourself and let her do her stuff. I had to prove to myself I was able to do that, and I am.”

It feels like you are finding your feet on board and finding the controls of your boat. Can you see yourself possibly competing in the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe?

“It’s hard to think that far ahead today… The top three are amazing, almost untouchable right now. They have the advantage of having had their boats for several seasons and knowing them by heart, as well as being excellent sailors with lots of experience. It is inspiring for me and for the next stage of my project.

There will also be quite a few new boats, so they will be on the same level in terms of knowledge, but I’m still learning about being at the helm of a high-performance boat at just 29 years old. For now, I prefer to concentrate on myself and making sure I give my very best before comparing myself to other people. That is the spirit I hope to carry into the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe: crossing that line and telling myself that I did everything in my power to perform as well as possible. Knowing that the level will be a notch higher. That makes me even more determined to continue what we’ve started and to keep learning and getting to know my incredible boat Hublot.”

Alan's reaction to his arrival at the dock - Thursday the 23rd of june


                                                                                                           @ Jean-Louis Carli / Alea / Vendée Arctique