THE SEVENTH MAN IN THE IDEC SPORT TEAM

Marcel van Triest is an internationally renowned sailor, recognised for his performance in round the world races and on all the world’s race courses on all types of boat, as well as for his skill as a weather router. For two years, the seventh man in the IDEC SPORT team, from dry land, far away from the maxi multihull speeding across the seas, takes time to analyse and reflect on the most efficient route choices when attempting to grab major sailing records. Due to the requirements of his job and his temperament, the Dutch expert has moved to the Balearics. He looks a long way ahead of what is directly in front of the bows of the boat. His task is to analyse all the different possible weather patterns developing because of the movement of air masses. His choice is not only to find the fastest route and the most efficient, taking into account the ability of the boat and the men, but also to ensure they can move as easily as possible from one system to another on this mighty performer, the IDEC SPORT Maxi trimaran. The job requires patience, a cool head and confidence…

Coordination of the systems
Marcel van Triest was sailing last week on the IDEC SPORT Maxi Trimaran along with the crew brought together by Francis Joyon, where only the German, Boris Herrmann was temporarily missing. They were aiming to do a lot, as well as enjoying themselves getting back on the boat together. “It is important for Francis and each member of the crew to understand the tools I use back on dry land to analyse the weather,” explained Marcel. “Between now and the stand-by period, which officially begins on 20th October, we have thousands of technical details to check out to ensure all the computer systems are working along the same lines as the one I use at home. With the help of this multi-talented crew, I’m making sure that the onboard systems are reliable.” Marcel van Triest was also able to watch the crew trim aboard the boat that was recently relaunched. “IDEC SPORT will set sail with new sails and they need to know how to trim them perfectly beforehand in all points of sail,” added Marcel. “I thought the atmosphere was as studious and relaxed as ever. If you add all their skills together, it is quite amazing…”

The perfect weather opportunity
From the official stand-by date, Marcel will begin the tricky task of analysing the weather situations to find one one, which may allow Francis Joyon and his crew to set sail on this latest attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy. “We talked things over a lot after last year’s attempt,” explained Marcel. “Our decision to set sail on 22nd November 2015 ensured we had a very fast time getting to the Equator. We were motivated too back then by the presence on the race course of the Spindrift maxi-trimaran and the crew really wanted to get out there. Francis is always in more of a hurry than me. He decides after talking things over with the crew and with me. I like to look as far ahead as possible, and this year I am trying to forecast the route to Cape Town. There’s no point in getting a record time to the Equator, if you can’t get on the fast track in the South Atlantic.”  What is key here is moving between the various systems. “The idea is we need to go smoothly from one system to another. That is the secret of succeeding and what makes this job so tricky. You need to get away from the Bay of Biscay quickly and without any stress, as this crossing is the introduction, and sometimes it can be stormy, while people are not yet used to the sea state and when the boat can be battered. But then, they need to hop onto the trade winds off Portugal and then the Canaries. These systems are well known and regularly occur in the autumn. It is much harder to find the perfect move onto the South Atlantic systems.”

The whole crew of IDEC SPORT is continuing with the preparation of this global adventure. There will be more and more phone calls between Marcel van Triest and the men on board as well as some video conferences. “We will talk things over more and more frequently as we get closer to the date,” Marcel told us. “Once the race is on, I prefer to use e-mail and texts, so they don’t miss out on something, which can happen on the satellite phone.”