After two years at the helm of Eclisse on the Figaro Bénéteau circuit and a short spell in Olympic sailing last autumn, during which she notably secured a fine 7th place in the French 470 championship, Cécile Laguette is now fleshing out the ranks of Team AkzoNobel skippered by Simeon Tienpont in the Volvo Ocean Race. “It’s done me good to be back in the crewed sailing environment, pushing myself to the limit”, explains the sailor, who first sampled the delights of this famous round the world race with stopovers back in 2014-2015 alongside Samantha Davies on Team SCA with an all-female crew. “I was lucky enough to race two legs (the 5th and the 6th): Melbourne – Hong Kong then Hong-Kong – Auckland, the crowning glory of which was a fantastic victory in New Zealand”, explains Cécile, who hit the double by taking the win on a legendary leg and “on home waters, of sorts”. “I spent nearly ten years in Auckland. Taking victory there was just magical! It was massive!” gushes the skipper, who really enjoyed racing aboard the Dutch boat, racking up an amazing amount of experience amongst top sailors like Chris Nicholson, Jules Salter and Simon Tienpont. “Among them, they must have amassed at least ten Volvos. They’re incredible sailors and they also have a different culture to the French, which I really enjoyed working with”, says Cécile, who has inevitably learned a huge amount working alongside them, which she hopes to be able to transfer across to her singlehanded sailing aboard Eclisse this season.