After making a name for himself among those in ClasseMini (2nd in the Mini Transat 2019, 4th in 2015), Axel Tréhin was eager to step up and have a go with the Class40 fleet. For his baptism, he chose the recent Normandy Channel Race (September 10, 2020). He wasn't disappointed. Racing double-handed with Jörg Riechers on Rockfall 6 (155), Axel took an emotional ride. A fantastic start, up with the very front of the fleet before entering the Solent; a slight altercation with a sandbank a few miles later; a comeback from the rear of the fleet in an English Channel of full of anger to finally arrive in Caen in 6th place with some disappointments but a lot of certainties. It had to be that for a baptism. “The game is open […]. It’s going to be racing and I’m looking forward to it! ". The tone is set. With a Crédit Mutuel (158) v.2 whose launch is scheduled for late December or early January, "Project Rescue Ocean"'s skipper has set the Route du Rhum 2022 as his first objective with The Race Around very much in the viewfinder. “Around the world has been part of the boat's specifications from the start. We will see what happens after the Route du Rhum," he explains. On the construction side, Axel has remained true to his convictions and those of his partner. “I am very sensitive to these [environmental] issues. The implementation of composite materials is my core business. I've got my hands on it enough to know the products I'm allergic to. Now that I am again building my own boat, the use of more environmentally friendly products particularly affects me. "A dynamic which goes in the direction of the CSR program" The Futures Program "of The Race Around.
The Race Around's resident frenchman Emmanuel Versace spent some time catching up with Axel:
TRA : If you had to sum up the Normandy Channel Race, your first Class40 race, in three highlights, which would they be? Axel Tréhin : The first two are not far from each other! The first is when we entered the Solent with a very short lead in front of the whole pack, ahead of boats newer and more powerful than ours. I realized that there is room to do things in this Class. Even with a boat that was perhaps less competitive, we managed to be in this position. The game is open and the speed differences will be smaller than in Mini6.50, especially in the Proto Class. It’s going to be real boat on boat racing and I’m looking forward to it! The second highlight was when we came out of the Solent - we landed on a sandbar… There, the regatta inevitably changed for us. When it started again, we were sailing behind the whole fleet, we were very much in last position. The game was frankly not the same. The third moment is the whole upwind in the English Channel. The conditions were tough and we found that part of the fleet preferred to take cover or seek refuge in a safe port, others continued. Personally, I have always felt confident and safe in the boats. I was not afraid to keep moving forward. The main lesson from this experience is that I feel able to manage a boat of this size, whether with a small crew, a duo or even solo. I can't wait to race!
You have a boat nearly that's near completion. Where are you in your search for partners with “Project Rescue Ocean”? We know that we will finish the construction of the sister ship of Ian Linpiski's boat (158) in v.2. We are still looking for partners to complete the operating budget. Notice to companies looking for a competitive project built hand in hand with the eco-citizen association "Project Rescue Ocean"! Technically, the entire interior structure has been done. The deck has been infused and the hull will be infused next week [interview was conducted Thursday October 1]. We will enter a fairly long phase with the assembly of the various composite elements at the end of November before moving, in the process, to the equipment for delivery at the end of December - beginning of January 2021.
It will happen quickly... Yes, we are lucky to have a very good build slot. The previous one was Antoine Carpentier ("Redman", 161) who went out 10 days before the Normandy Channel Race. The next one after us will be that of Jonas Gerckens (“Volvo Belgium”, 164) who will be in the rush before the first races of the season. Our launch date will be four months before the first races. We will have a finished boat out of the hangar and we will have the chance to take our time to get to know each other.
The Race Around organization has launched its CSR Futures Program which promotes, among other goals, the circular economy and the use of biodegradable or recyclable materials. Were you able to implement these goals in the construction of "Project Rescue Ocean". This program falls right in the middle of my current thinking. It is part of my values and those of my project. Today, I cannot imagine racing offshore and being so in touch with nature without making a commitment to it. My boat will carry the colors of “Project Rescue Ocean”, an association which carries out concrete decontamination and waste collection operations in France and abroad. As volunteers, we also raise awareness, especially in front of the school children, on the waste we produce and our way of consuming. Finally, we are working on the development of this waste and its reuse. At the scale of the construction of my boat, we have tracks we are working on. We realize that we have to do better and if we can, we will. For now, we are waiting to see if our tests are conclusive before communicating on it. On the equipment part and in particular the sails, we will also be working on alternative fibers.
Did Crédit Mutuel (158) v. 2 take into account in its design an around the world race like The Race Around? Yes, of course. Global racing has been in the specifications from the start for two reasons. First of all, because I am very excited by this journey. Traveling around the world on a road closest to a non-stop route has always attracted me. The other reason is more pragmatic and it is the investor who speaks. Our project goes all the way to the Route du Rhum 2022. We will do everything to continue and potentially participate in The Race Around. We have therefore done everything to make this boat compatible with a round the world trip while remaining efficient. If we do not manage to meet the budgets after the Rhum, the boat will be for sale with an exciting around-the-world race to come. It is a boat that will be particularly suited to this race and its rules.
Image 1: Christophe Breschi
Image 2/3: Sam Cade