Realteam is reaping the rewards of a structure put in place over the winter and has started the 2014 season strong. We invite you to relive the first two regattas of the year and step behind the scenes at Realteam through our monthly newsletter. We hope you enjoy it!

Act 1 and 2 review with Thierry Wasem

The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd ImagesPhoto credit: Act 2 Extreme Sailing Series ©Lloyd Images

What a superb start to the season for Realteam! The Swiss sailors have not for one moment been intimidated by the arrival on the Extreme Sailing Series of so many international stars such as Ben Ainslie, Dean Barker and Franck Cammas. “We don’t let it get to us, although it is nice to finish ahead of big names!” said Thierry Wasem.

The standard is high, but so is that of Realteam. Winning the first race of the new season and leading the ranking overnight on day 1 set the tone for the team who finished Act 1 in Singapore in third place and Act 2 in Muscat, in sixth place, to claim fourth overall going into Act 3 in China.

The key to their solid progress? “We gained a lot of experience on this circuit last year and have been able to put that to good use – we are able to approach the Series more calmly,” said the 31-year-old sailor from Vaud. “The new crew configuration is great, we have really improved our communication onboard and have an excellent shore crew supporting us this season.”

To mention just two, Jeff Kerleguer and Sebastien Stephant have brought considerable strength to the shore team and it is largely thanks to their hard work in Singapore after a collision with Oman Air that Realteam by Realstone, finished on the podium. “The team spirit is really good,” said Thierry. “The winter training sessions that we did at Grande Motte are helping a lot. Right from the start of the season our approach has been to take one regatta at a time and to make sure we apply exactly what is discussed during the post-race debriefs.”

Thierry is making the most of a quiet period at the Decision yard in Ecublens, where he has been working for the last five years, to support Jeff with preparing the boats and converting a container in Versoix.

Check out the highlights of Act 2 in Muscat, Oman here:

The Decision 35 warm up, by Denis Girardet

IMG_1587Photo credit: ©Realteam

Denis Girardet, Realteam tactician, takes a break between two work commitments that he has for the family business at La Filature Craft and Cultural Centre at La Sarraz, to discuss the first sailing session on the Decision 35 on Lake Geneva. “We could not have wished for a better warm-up to start the season on Lake Geneva – a day and a half of magnificent lake conditions and the whole team on site to check the boat over and make sure it is optimised for the season. Our coach Tanguy Leglatin was able to observe us sailing the D35 for the first time and gave us some precious advice. We have been sailing the catamaran for a long time and Tanguy is going to help us to break our habits! Thanks to his input we have asked ourselves questions that have never been discussed before.

“Everything went very well onboard, we ran a crew rotation so that all eight crew members could sail and practice boat handling. From a preparation point of view, the boat is perfect. With Jeff as our shore crew and Tanguy as the coach, we have a top-level professional structure. It is such a pleasure! There was a good rapport amongst the whole team – our physical trainer Sebastien Grossini was also present – and it was really great to see everyone again, we are all looking forward to working together!”

Insight on the Realteam sail package with Arnaud Psarofaghis

The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd ImagesPhoto credit: Arnaud Psarofaghis helming at Act 2 Extreme Sailing Series ©Lloyd Images

Arnaud Psarofaghis, having shown his ability at the helm of the Extreme 40 for the first time in Florianopolis last year, is steering this season. “Helming the Extreme 40 was my goal since I had a first taste of it in 2013,” said the 25-year-old just before Act 1 in Singapore. And he has achieved exactly that – the combination of Jerome Clerc as skipper/mainsail trimmer and Arnaud as helmsman is proving strong.

But let’s leave Arnaud’s helming duties to one side for a moment and discuss his work as a sail designer at North Sails. It goes without saying that he is responsible for the Realteam sail package. “The three Extreme one design sails are delivered to us ready made,” he explained. “I just need to make sure they are ready before each regatta and keep an eye on their condition.” The Decision 35 programme requires a bit more work, however. “The sails are designed and built here at North Sails Geneva. They are more or less the same for the whole fleet, although there are some peculiarities that I cannot reveal to you,” he joked. “On average we make two new sails per year for the boats and the 2014 sail packages have been ready since January.”

What is the difference between the two sets of sails? “The Extreme 40 sails are basic 3DL panel sails, they are very robust in order to withstand the hardcore racing on the circuit. The Decision 35 sails are much more refined and cutting edge, we push the envelope in terms of weight to maximise on performance.”

TeamWork, Realteam co-sponsor

140223_ESS_Singapore_095Photo credit: Act I Extreme Sailing Series Singapore ©Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

TeamWork, a regular supporter of sailing in the region, is teaming up with Realteam for 2014 as co-sponsor. “We were co-sponsor of the Extreme 40 programme in 2013 and for this year, Jerome Clerc proposed that we become co-sponsor of the whole project,” explained founder and president of TeamWork, Philippe Rey-Gorrez.

The move demonstrates Realteam’s efforts to unify the two projects and have the same partners for both sailing programmes. “We already have a presence on the Ventilo M2 multihull circuit on Lake Geneva, so it is a good opportunity for TeamWork to also gain a presence on the Vulcain Trophy circuit and to be able to organise events,” said Philippe.

TeamWork partners a number of different sailing projects, including the Swiss Sailing Team, Bertrand Delesne’s Class 40 and Antoine Thorens and his TeamWork M2 SpeedTour team, but is Philippe a sailor himself? “I have never sailed a Decision 35, but I have been lucky enough to experience the Extreme 40 as sixth man,” he said. “It is possible to follow and understand the racing as a spectator, but nothing compares to actually being onboard! Everything happens so quickly and the standard is so high. It was a very rewarding experience!”

TeamWork is present at all Realteam events through Etienne David, the team coach, who works in parallel with TeamWork. “With Etienne’s input, we aim to increase Realteam’s performance against the internationally renowned professional teams,” added Philippe Rey-Gorrez.

Team Building at Magny-Cours

DSC_8514Photo credit: ©Realteam

Realteam had a change of scenery for a day for a special team building session at the Magny-Cours circuit in France where Esteban Garcia, founder and president of Realteam, revealed his other passion to the eight sailors and their coach Etienne David.

“During one of the Decision 35 training sessions, I explained to the team that what I felt at the helm of the multihull was similar to what I feel in a Formula Renault,” said Esteban Garcia. “I wanted the team to have the same experience and their progress after each lap was excellent!”

For someone who is as passionate about sailing as Formula Renault, the parallels between the two sports are obvious. “The precision, the technology, the affect of the wind on the winglets, the carbon shell, reading the lines, these are all common factors to both sports and ultimately define them.”

The team was hugely enthusiastic about this new sport: “The feeling at 200km/h just five centimetres from the ground is absolutely amazing,” said Jerome Clerc. “We really enjoyed discovering Formula Renault with Esteban!”

Latest results and upcoming regattas

20-23 February: Act 1 Extreme Sailing Series, Singapore – 3rd
19-22 March: Act 2 Extreme Sailing Series, Muscat – 6th
1-4 May: Act 3 Extreme Sailing Series, Qingdao
9-11 May: Grand Prix des Ambassadeurs – Vulcain Trophy
24-25 May: Open de Crans – Vulcain Trophy