Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Red Bull Youth America's Cup : Interview with Charles Hainneville, Next World Energy Team

The Next World Energy Team prepare for training in the Extreme 40 at Lorient, 16th May, 2013. Image copyright Anne Hinton - all rights reserved

Anne Hinton caught up with Charles Hainneville, Next World Energy Team, on 4th May 2013, at La Trinité-sur-Mer, just before the Tour de Belle-Ile, in which the youth sailors were competing on Energy Incidences, an Open 7.50

Interview was held in French, with translation to English produced here by Anne Hinton

Charles Hainneville enthuses about the AC45, the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, training on Extreme 40s, and Nacra 17 sailing for the Olympics too...

AH: How did you get into the French Youth Team?

CH: That’s quite a long story. We started after the announcement of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup more than a year ago. I got together with some friends and said “Why not try – it will be very enriching”. So, I started a project with five friends. We worked together and then two months later there were two projects in France. However, this needed to be turned into one French project. So this is how we all arrived in the French Youth Team. After this, there was a process of selection run by the Fédération Française de Voile (FFVoile) and Energy Team in small catamarans (25 foot - the Clairefontaine Trophy boats), the Palma Race, in F18, and in monohulls. They established seven people to be in the [Next World Energy] team, which remains the case today, and we will have seven until September.

AH: What training have you done to date? There were some of you at Eurocat Carnac, and others at the same time at the Pirelli Grand Prix (in Portofino) in Italy sailing in Extreme 40s, and before that you sailed in Italy with Yann Guichard on the AC45.

CH: Up to today the first real training was in the AC45 in Italy, for the two weeks of the second America’s Cup World Series in Naples. We trained one week in the mornings, and in the afternoons, but recognizing that the professional sailors had the regatta afterwards, so one had to be careful, but it was extremely interesting. We got back on Thursday morning from Portofino; the Trofeo Pirelli. That was four youth team members with Bruno Peyron. It was an event in Extreme 40s. The next event is today, the Tour de Belle-Ile, with the Open 7.50. In a week we are training on the Extreme 40 at Lorient for two weeks.

Next World Energy Team on board their Extreme 40 in Lorient. Image copyright Photo © Benoit Senand On board the Extreme 40 with Paul DagaultEdouard-Marie Dool AlikiagaléléiValentin BelletAntoine Lauriot Prevost and Charles Hainneville in Lorient.

AH: Are you sailing with other teams again (in Lorient)?

CH: No, because at the moment the teams are in the phase of putting together their team members, and the communication, and creating a group, etc, so for the present we are all alone, but in the future, it’s true that we hope to reach a situation where we can do something with, perhaps the Swiss team, or the Portuguese team.

AH: So the training is arranged just until the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup at present? Or are you trying to put something in place for the longer term?

CH: At present the training is organized until September. We have two weeks in May and two weeks in June, and in July. After, the question is how we can do this, because we really need a base, but also it would be more interesting to do this with two or three boats.

Next World Energy Team sailing their Extreme 40 from Lorient. Image copyright © Benoit Senand

AH: What do you think of the America’s Cup boats – those you have sailed on, the AC45s, compared with, for example, the Extreme 40s or other boats?

CH: The AC45 is “le formidable du mer”. By contrast, the Extreme 40s is a boat which has been around for a few years. The AC45 is a boat which is interesting, which is constructed in a similar manner to the best F18s. They are boats which are very forceful and dynamic, fun to helm, and very technological, because the origins of the boat are very impressive. It is a very nice boat.

AH: And you want to do the America’s Cup?

CH: Yes, of course! However, the present objective is to get on the podium with the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

Charles Hainneville with the tiller in his hand, points things out to the crew. Image copyright © Stéphanie Billarant

AH: Before the French Youth Team, your personal aim for sailing was what?

CH: Before, I sailed F18s a lot. For me, that season finished after the World Championships last year in Los Angeles. The aim afterwards, was to look at the Nacra 17. After September, I will commence an Olympic project, because there are a group of us interested in this. We will do training at home, at La Baule, with Yves Loday, and others. Next World Energy will continue in the sense that we hope that we will have a team on the Extreme 40 circuit next year. The aim of Energy Team is to keep something in place between the world of the Federation (FF Voile) and professional sailing. At present, it isn’t easy to pass from one to the other. Why not create a reserve pool of sailors for the AC45s?

AH: I believe that it was just for this reason that Russell Coutts initiated the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

CH: It is a superb idea.

AH: So, for you, a Gold medal at the Olympics, and then the America’s Cup? Rio 2016, and then…?

CH: Well, it would be nice. However, for that one needs the budget! Unfortunately, at present in France it is not possible to raise the budget for that, but in th future, why not?!

AH: And for today, you have already done the Tour de Belle-Ile?

CH: No, it’s my first time.

AH: And you are on a…?

CH: An Open 7.50 – Energy Incidences. We did the Spi Ouest France, and now I know the boat a bit more.

AH: But there isn’t much wind at present.

CH: No, but hopefully there will be a small thermal breeze later. It should be fun!

AH: Good luck!

CH: Thank you

AH: Thank you

Next World Energy Team at Lorient. Image copyright © Benoit Senand

The present members of the Next World Energy Team are:

- Charles Hainneville
- Romain Bellet
- Antoine Lauriot Prévost
- Hubert Savatier
- Valentin Bellet
- Arthur Ponroy
- Paul Dagault
- Edouard-Marie Alikiagaléléi

Pierre Le Clianche, injured while Extreme 40 training in China, is part of the communication group of Next World Energy Team. Pierre is currently undergoing rehabilitation in Lorient.

Since the interview with Charles Hainneville, Antoine Mermod of Energy Team has indicated that other people may be tried out and the youth squad may, possibly, not remain the same until September as others from the French Youth Team may be tried out. The French Youth Team is a broader group of individuals, from which the members of Next World Energy Team are selected. There is a sporting agreement between Energy Team and both the FFVoile and the French Youth Team. This was employed in the selection of the members of the Next World Energy Team and is continuing in the present coaching of the squad.

Antoine Mermod also explained that, at present, it is hoped to continue the programme with both the professional sailors in Energy Team and the youth squad in Next World Energy Team after the America's Cup and Red Bull Youth America's Cup. A boat on the Extreme 40 circuit next year is a possible option for this.

The training in Lorient last week and this week consists of 2 hours of physical fitness sessions with Stéphane Krause, trainer with the Ecole Nationale de Voile et des Sports Nautiques, theoretical sessions lasting an hour with Marc Bouet (FF Voile) in the morning and 4.5 hours of training in an Extreme 40 with Christophe Espagnon, Antoine Mermod and Bruno Peyron from Energy Team France in the afternoon. This is very similar in format to the former DDR Olympic sailing system's daily training, of physical fitness, classroom theory and on-the-water experience, and should provide the squad with a good basis from which to progress.

The AC45, on which the team has had some practice with the professional members of Energy Team, is, however, a very different boat, and much more technologically demanding, than the Extreme 40. Equally, there are local courses to train sailors in match racing at some French clubs, but not the level of commitment to this that is found at some clubs in New Zealand and Australia, for example, so the French Youth Team is starting at a lower base level in some aspects needed for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup competition than is present in other countries. However, at time of writing, we do not know of any such excellent scheme specifically for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup existing in any other country. The two New Zealand teams for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup have either extensive match racing (Will Tiller) or Olympic Games (Peter Burling) experience, and are currently competing on the Extreme Sailing Series in Extreme 40s, sailing against professional teams, as part of their training for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup this summer.

Energy Team
French Youth Team
Fédération Française de Voile
Red Bull Youth America's Cup