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Brest Atlantiques: The media man, the third man

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson 3 Nov 2019 20:41 GMT 3 November 2019
The four on board reporters - Brest Atlantiques © Yvan Zedda / Brest Atlantiques

For the first time on a double handed race, a media man will be on board of each of the four maxi-trimarans setting off for the Brest Atlantiques race on Tuesday.

The four on board reporters, will be sharing the day to day life on board whilst allowing all eight skippers to concentrate on the smooth sailing and running of the boats.

Is it double-handed or triple? The addition of a third person on board has been the talk of those visiting the race village this week in Brest. The sailing instructions are clear: "The media man must not under any circumstances participate in the performance of the boat or in its repair or maintenance". This means that Brest Atlantiques is a double-handed race, with the media man playing no role in the smooth running of the boat.

While having a photo and video specialist on board is not a new feature in ocean racing, having been a success in the past three editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, it has been one of the key factors for the Brest Atlantiques race organisers: "We were really keen to bring the race to life from the inside and highlight just how extraordinary the "Ultim" boats are as well as the talented sailors on board," confirms Emmanuel Bachellerie, Managing Director of Brest Ultim Sailing. Considering how tough it is to sail these maxi-trimarans, the length of the race and, in particular, the constantly changing weather, we thought that they would not really have time to send footage back. " Maxi Edmond de Rothschild's co skipper Charles Caudrelier continues: "It's a very good thing to have a media man on board, because the intensity on these boats means we are just not able to do this kind of work."

Once decided, each team set out to find the best man for the job. On the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, 45-year-old Yann Riou quickly became the obvious choice: he is one of the most experienced in the game, having made it his profession since the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race, where he was on board with no other than... Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier. Yann has been working with the Gitana Team for many years.

"Yann went around the world with Franck and I, he has done the Volvo three times, he's a friend, one of the best in this field, it was an obvious choice," continues Charles Caudrelier.

On Sodebo Ultim 3, Thomas Coville called on 30-year-old Martin Keruzoré, who has worked for several offshore racing teams and participated in the latest edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

"Martin has a graphic style that really impressed me," commented the skipper. "On top of this, he is an athlete, very physically committed, and a guy who is always humble and very kind in the way he treats his work and people, I have total confidence in him."

François Gabart has the same confidence in Jérémie Eloy, 41 years old and the media man on board, who also happens to be a former professional kite-surfer.

"Jérémie has been working very closely with us for a year and a half, I love what he does. Firstly it is a real pleasure from an artistic point of view to work with him and secondly, he is a former elite athlete, so he has an understanding of competing and of our performance challenges."

On board Actual Leader, Yves Le Blévec called on a specialist in snowboarding, in this case 36 year old Ronan Gladu:

"My first criteria was to have someone who can take good photos and who is up for the challenge of living on such a beast for 30 days, whether he can sail or not was not an issue.

Ronan has adapted really well; he is enthusiastic, and I really like everything he is doing."

The four on-board reporters, who will have to send a two-minute daily video, photos and texts to document every day, have had to clock up 2000 miles to qualify and get their chance to be on board and gel with the crew. Having a third person on board obviously will change the atmosphere.

"On the Volvo Ocean Race, the media man is one of eleven, now there are only three of us, so it does have an impact and it particularly changes a lot in terms of social relations on board," confirms Franck Cammas. "When you're on double handed races, you're often alone, so the presence of the media man will mean that things change, we'll talk a lot more than usual," adds Yves Le Blévec. Thomas Coville concludes: "Martin will be the privileged witness of our complicity. This new feature of off-shore racing will allow us to introduce a new perspective and reach wider audiences. I am curious and can't wait to see the results." He is not the only one.

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