The health crisis brought on by the Coronavirus epidemic currently requires everyone to take action accordingly and adapt. Naturally, that is what Cécile’s been doing, with the postponement of the first two races that count towards the French Elite Offshore Racing Championship 2020. The skippers, forced, like every one of us, to self-isolate during this tricky period, are organising themselves as best they can to continue their preparation in optimum conditions. Where? When? How? The low-down.

Where have you chosen to self-isolate? 

“In Concarneau. We’re staying close to the boat, in Brittany, poised to set sail again. It’s all good here.” 

Were you surprised by the announcement to cancel the Solo Maitre Coq? 

“Not really, given the international context of the news. However, I’ve continued to prepare myself in my normal fashion. I didn’t want this idea to disrupt anything so I stayed focused on the event. The latter was postponed in the end, followed by the announcement about self-isolation. Everything has been put on hold as a result. The training sessions have been suspended and the boat has been hauled out to preserve the hull and the appendages. Right now, the best we can do is to stay at home to protect ourselves and others above all.”

Are you apprehensive about the effects this delay to the season will have on your training and hence your body? 

“As ever, I’m forging ahead and adapting. The fact is there are always things we can be doing when we’re on shore. The winds, the currents and the local effects… are all such complex elements that it’s possible to study them endlessly. There is also a wealth of documentation on the weather to dissect and you can also work on the routing software and preparing the roadbooks… I’m using my time to work on these topics and continue my physical fitness preparation. I’m certainly not in holiday mode.”

Can you train at home? 

“Yes, fortunately I can! Our sport requires superb all-round physical fitness. Usually, I do CrossFit training three times a week as well as Pilates. Right now, I’m recreating that at home by adapting certain exercises to the equipment I have at my disposal. Cardio is inevitably the toughest aspect to work on at the moment, but I have a good routine each week.”

Is this training at home enough to gradually ramp up your strength for the Solitaire du Figaro? 

“I think so. Today, I no longer have the same mindset as when I started out in Figaro. At that time, I needed to spend a huge amount of time sailing singlehanded out on the water. Right now, I’ve integrated the automatic reflexes so inevitably it’s different, even though the boat (Figaro 3) is still young and we still have things to learn about it and study in more depth. Last year, I clocked up 7,000 miles aboard the boat. Of course, it’s hard for any athlete not to practise their sport, but we’re all in the same boat right now. I don’t want the crisis to disrupt my mindset, though I’m well aware that there will be double the amount of work to tick off once we’re in a position to head back out on the water.”

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