2020 will be a change of course for Skipper Cecile Laguette. She has spent 4 years on the Figaro circuit alongside her sponsor Eclisse. She will now set sail back towards fully crewed offshore racing and is very much looking forward for what is to come next.
- TO CONTEXTUALISE, EXPLAIN US HOW YOU GOT INTO THE FIGARO CIRCUIT?
The Figaro circuit is something that I’ve always seen as an opportunity to expand my skill set. For me, it was a logical consequence after an initial experience in The Ocean Race 2014-2015 (formerly the Volvo Ocean Race).
I started out in the Figaro circuit in 2016 .
In early 2017, I met Eclisse and over the past 4 years we’ve grown together on the circuit.
In the latter part of that same year, I was contacted by Team Akzo Nobel to sail in The Ocean Race. I was just beginning to put together the project alongside Eclisse so I couldn’t make myself fully available for the rest of the round the world race. I completed two legs with the team, including a victory in Auckland, then I got back to my Figaro and the circuit midway through 2018.
- HAS LOCKDOWN LED TO NEW PROJECTS FOR YOU?
Actually, my latest ambitions date back to late 2019. I was keen to go back to my beginnings, to sail in crewed configuration internationally.
Early this year, I shared with Eclisse my desire to call a halt to the Figaro project after this last season. During lockdown, another project came to light. Eclisse and I worked on this project, which was supposed to begin in August, however given the evolution of the health crisis, we had to stop the project in early July.
At the same time, Eclisse and I were in discussions about the season we had originally planned and the more progress we made with the other project, the less the Figaro circuit seemed to be the way to go for us. As such, we were keen to switch to something else.
“In early 2020, I shared with Eclisse my desire to call a halt to the Figaro project”
- HOW HAVE THESE PAST 4 YEARS BEEN FOR YOU AS A PARTNERSHIP? WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BENEFITS?
Cécile: It’s been fantastic meeting Eclisse. Our partnership has primarily been based on the human aspect. I’ve really enjoyed getting involved with the team in-house. I am so grateful for their ability to share and their wealth of support. In addition to forming a partnership, we have forged a lasting friendship and a mutual respect for one another.
“It’s been fantastic meeting Eclisse. In addition to forming a partnership, we have forged a lasting friendship and a mutual respect for one another.”
Laurence Renévot (President of Eclisse): There’s a great correlation between what are in principle two very different environments, industry and top-level sport. Beyond a professional partnership, it’s an exchange between these two environments. Eclisse has discovered the world of offshore racing thanks to Cécile’s interventions and by following her races of course.
We’re delighted to have been able to support Cécile in this episode of her career. It’s the end of this particular episode but not the end of a story. A friendship has been created and I am absolutely certain that we will remain in contact and we look forward to following the evolution of her professional career.
“We’re delighted to have been able to support Cécile in this episode of her career. It’s the end of this particular episode but not the end of a story”
- HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO GET TO GRIPS WITH THIS INCREDIBLY INTENSE CIRCUIT? WHAT IS THE TAKEAWAY MESSAGE?
“I view the Figaro circuit as the Olympics of offshore racing, a sentiment that can summarize the commitment required for this type of project, the intensity and high level of racing on the circuit.
These past 4 years have been a positive experience and I have learnt a great deal on a sporting level and in terms of project management. This partnership with Eclisse has always had a very professional image and it has been very meaningful to me.
“I view the Figaro circuit as the Olympics of offshore racing”
“The Figaro circuit is very demanding for the skippers. The Solitaire is a race which requires a great deal of preparation, both on a personal level and in terms of equipment.
In terms of the partnership, I believe that the Solitaire does not have the aura it once did and unfortunately it no longer enjoys such a large following. It’s a real shame given how demanding the event is. It deserves much greater media coverage.”
- SO WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS GOING FORWARD?
To move forward, you first need to take the important step of making yourself available for other projects and races. That’s a done deal now.
As is the case every year, I’m returning to Auckland, New Zealand, at the end of the year. This time, I’ll be staying there for longer: throughout the duration of the America’s Cup, so until the end of March 2021.
The Sydney-Hobart is in late December 2020 so I’ll be right on the doorstep for that.
Then the Ocean Race is the objective. I have a huge amount of drive for this race and I want to use the knowledge gained from the Figaro as well as my technical background as a naval architect, for the benefit of a team.