Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Seb Col Reflects on 2009

Seb Col looks back on his 2009 season, which was very rich in terms of experience. From the Louis Vuitton Trophy with ALL4ONE to the World Match Racing Tour, and from the RC44 to the Melges 24 circuit, Seb Col is one of the best and sharpest French sailors as of today in his category, sailing at the highest level on small or big boats, and that is his big strength. Always pushed by his motivation to improve among the best French and international sailors, Seb Col is already preparing his 2010 season after a busy year 2009, but which brought him a lot

by Stéphanie Nadin

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series with K-Challenge and Louis Vuitton Trophy with new team ALL4ONE (ACC Helmsman)
Seb Col: "The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland were a fantastic experience, where we gathered the team, organized the logistics and the trainings in such a short timing.

"The team's creation and its management during the event have been very rich in terms of what we learned, even if now I think that all these responsibilities I had by then didn't allow me to free my mind completely during the event. For us the goal was to find an experimented person able to take over the sailing team's management. We found that person with Jochen Schümann, and we created a new French-German team: ALL4ONE.

"We took part to the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice in November, where we finished 5th in front of BMW Oracle Racing and Artemis.

"We learn a lot sailing with sailors like Jordi Calafat, Yann Gouniot, John Cutler, Philippe Mourniac... One of my satisfactions was also to have my match racing crew on board, which allowed us to add more to our common experience (Gilles Favennec, Christophe André, Christian Scherrer)."

RC44 with Team Ceeref
Seb Col: "After having finished 3rd of the RC44 circuit in 2008 with Hiroshi, I joined the team at the beginning of the year after the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland. James Spithill was busy with BMW Oracle Racing, so he asked me to replace him.

"It is a great circuit, and it allows to sail on great boats, as it gathers very nice teams around top skippers (Coutts, Barker, Cayard, Davis, Jablonski, Wieser...). I took part to 4 events on the circuit out of 6, as I had some priorities on the World Match Racing Tour, so Cayard and Rod Davis joined the team successively while I was at the Match Race Germany and the Monsoon Cup.

"We finished 3rd of the 2009 circuit overall (fleet/match racing) and 1st of the match race ranking."

World Match Racing Tour - French Match Racing Team
Seb Col: "it is the project that is the most important to me. We just came back from Malaysia where we finished 4th. The season was disappointing, with a 7th place on the World's ranking. Some good things, but lots of bad moments, frustration and irritation. To make it short, a difficult season after our runner up title in 2008.

"One win only in the International championship held in Pornichet, France, but the team sticked together even in the difficult moments. From a personal point of view, I don't think that I managed to create a favorable environment and context for performance. I got irritated while not finding the explanations and solutions to the different problems we had to face. It is a good lesson. Things went very fast, between May and July the championship was game over for us.

"We have a debriefing with the French Sailing Federation and the French team in December, it will be the right opportunity to step back and to analyze the French results this season.

"A big thank you to Gilles Favennec, Christophe André, Erwan Israel, Christian Scherrer, Pascal Rambeau and Jean-Marie Dauris."

Melges 24 - Team Blumoon
Seb Col: "A great team gathered by Franco Rossini (Flavio Favini (Mascalzone), Celon (Alinghi), Rizzi (Luna Rossa), coach: Dave Ullman) and almost a come back to the beginning for me. The circuit is still of a very high level. We finished 3rd at the European Championships in Hyeres and 5th in the Worlds, with a special fabulous day where we won the 2 races in tough conditions, it is a great memory."

Tour de France Voile with team TPM/Hyeres
Seb Col: "it is always a great pleasure to sail together with this team, and moreover when we win races. We finished 2nd of the Tour de France Voile 2009."

Other 2009 important points and looking at the next 2010 season
Seb Col: "This year, I also followed the Vendee Globe, and Seb Josse and Kito de Pavant in particular, and it was very hard... But on the Transat Jacques Vabre, congratulations to Kito and François! François Gabart was our router during the same Transat in 2007 when I was sailing with Kito, he's really talented.

"2009 has also been for me: 182 sailing days, 56 days traveling, 12 days of meetings and PR activities.

"2010 will include the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Auckland and La Maddalena with ALL4ONE to start with, and for the rest I will now step back a bit to decide what I want to do. I'm also interested in new challenges. A few weeks of holidays will help me take the right decisions."

Sébastien Col

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