In the past, these two sailors have only sailed together once in the 2002 for the Grand Prix de Marseille, where Sill won. Apart from that, they have always been rivals on the water (although great friends on shore) and the bow of one boat has never been far from the stern of the other! On many occasions, MACARTHUR and JOURDAIN shared the winners the podium - in the 2000/2001 Vendée Globe, JOURDAIN finished just behind MACARTHUR in third place.
JOURDAIN and MACARTHUR will leave northern France on Saturday 4 June on board Sill et Veolia to begin their 1,000 mile qualifier for the Transat Jacques Vabre - a compulsory qualification process for all competing skippers.
JOURDAIN is looking forward to the challenge, 'I am very happy to have time to do a transatlantic race with Ellen. She is the ideal co-skipper and a great sailor. We've got a lot to share about the way we do things, from a sport point of view but also from a human point of view. Her and I come from a different culture. I think we will learn a lot after 15 days together onboard Sill et Veolia. And with Ellen, it's also a long story from a human point of view. In 2000 during the Vendée Globe, I was in front of her and when I suffered gear failure, she sent me an email straight away and then she called me and the same in 2002 during the Route du Rhum. In our class of 60 foot monohulls, we had a few debriefings after the Vendée Globe 2001 about the sport and I liked the speeches that Ellen did. We have the same vision about life, despite our age difference.'
For JOURDAIN the Transat Jacques Vabre is a favourite race, 'This is my fetish race! I love this race. It gave me a lot of happiness with two victories and many podiums. And the destination is not bad at all! We start with rough conditions to finish with the intense heat. This race has become a real event with some faithful sponsors. I am happy to come back every time. Just happy to participate.'
MACARTHUR is equally enthusiastic about the event, 'This is fantastic to do the Jacques Vabre with Bilou ! We only raced together once, for a leg of an onshore race. This opportunity to sail together on a long race is really motivating. We are good friends and Bilou is a great sailor who knows the Open60 monohull very well. We will give everything to make a beautiful race… It's great to be doing the Transat Jacque Vabre race with Bilou. We have only raced together once before in a short inshore race and the chance to do a long offshore two-up is very motivating. We are great friends and Bilou is a great sailor who knows Open 60 monohull racing inside out and I know we will give give everything to be competitive and to race a good race.'
Speaking of her decision to race once again in the Open 60 class MACARTHUR said, 'After racing the trimaran B&Q for the last year or so, I am looking forward to racing with someone else and to be back racing amongst a fleet which brings its own range of demands compared to solo record attempts. For a sailor it is good to have as much variety as possible from racing solo, with a crew or two-handed on monohulls or trimarans - every experience can teach you something and to learn something that can help you perform better and improve your racing skills. For me, to step back on board an Open 60 monohull will be a great experience but it is B&Q and, importantly, our next attempt on the solo transatlantic record later this year.'
Today B&Q crossed the start line in Plymouth, Great Britain on another record attempt. They departed between Penlee Point and Brittany Ferries' Pont Avon at 13.39.52 BST. Brittany Ferries' flagship ferry, Pont Avon came to a standstill at the transit line between themselves and Penlee Point. The crew of three on board, MACARTHUR, GALLON and JOURDAIN, crossed the line, sailing with one reef and a small headsail. Current conditions are wet with south westerly winds of 20 knots with winds looking to increase later.
Following B&Q's passage today the 'Brittany Ferries 100 Mile Trophy' will be awarded to any sailing vessel that breaks the record for a crewed Plymouth to Roscoff passage, which the trimaran should establish today.
For all the news on the Transat Jacques Vabre CLICK HERE.