by Pascale Gillard
After months of studies, followed by the search for a solid pool of partners, the National school of sailing and water sports is ready to officially launch the very first Foiling Training Centre in France. The first foil boards are expected end of October 2015 on the bay of Quiberon.
This is a remarkably ambitious project, initiated by the school of excellence Envsn, for the world of sailing in general. The school is ready to welcome young sportsmen and women with strong potential and provide training that will give them access to top-level sport, and maybe even professional sailing.
A pioneer centre for foiling training
An innovative idea
The aim of the Envsn training, practice and research facility is to contribute towards the training requirements of young sportsmen and women and professionals; taking them to top-level competitive sailing in foiling multihulls (catamarans and trimarans). It plans to cater to the needs of professional teams who are looking for young sportsmen and women from the FFVoile elite sporting scheme (PES) and its training facilities (Pôles France and Pôles Espoirs), by developing a tailor-made training programme devoted to these new innovative sailing techniques.
While the Morbihan regional council covers a significant part of the costs for training and regatta entries, others provide technical or material support, such as BIC Sport, who is providing three Flying Phantom foiling catamarans in the colours of the world leader in sailing sports and partners. In the same spirit, Groupama Team France who has chosen the Envsn as one of its training sites is contributing to the project by providing two GC32. The FFVoile is also playing an active role, offering its recruiting skills and expertise and supervising this top-level training scheme.
Aiming for excellence
A unique site for exceptional training
The bay of Quiberon was the natural choice for this project as it particularly suitable for the different types of navigation required for foil training. It possesses all the types of navigation zones within the same site: flat sea, swell, current or waves. As for the Envsn, it has been involved in training talented young multihull racers including Billy Besson and Moana Vaireaux, both currently in the French Olympic team.
So who will have the honour of joining this very first elite class?
A small number of 18 to 22 year olds, selected via the FFVoile contest, will have the privilege of following a one-year alternate training course, taking advantage of the best material (Phantom multihulls, Diam 24 and GC 32), the latest technology and exceptional multisport training conditions (performance optimisation on classic regatta circuits or on raids, personalised medical monitoring). Learning to fly on water is no easy challenge… This class will not only have the privilege of belonging to the world of “new generation” sailors, but will also take part in the transformation of the sport thanks to hydrofoil vessels.
The Flying Phantom mission initiated by the Envsn, BIC Sport and the Morbihan Regional Council will be coupled with the mission led by Groupama Team France and Association Team France in partnership with FFVoile, consisting of assembling a DIAM 24 youth crew under the Team France colours, who will be present at the Tour de France à la voile 2016 and at early season events.
With the expert support, high level assistance and implication of the FFVoile, these two missions will be preparing all or some of the crew members who will take part in the Youth America’s Cup 2017, under the Team France colours.
Training sessions will take place at the Envsn, supervised by three experts: the FFVOILE, Groupama Team France and the Envsn.
Following in the footsteps of mentor
In keeping with this quest for excellence, who better than Franck Cammas to sponsor this project? As the symbol of excellence in French sailing, he will be sponsoring these future champions and accompanying them throughout their training programme. At the helm of his foil-equipped AC45, he will be regularly present at Saint-Pierre de Quiberon for his own training sessions and will also to take part in the recruitment phase with Groupama Team France, in preparation for the America’s Cup in June 2017. The challenge for these young sportsmen and women is almost a dream beyond belief: lining up beside their mentor with Groupama for the Youth America’s Cup, set to take place in Bermuda in June 2017.
Specific training courses for pros
During the first half of 2016, training courses for professional racers who have never had the opportunity to try foiling will take place. Group training sessions will also be available for those who perform this sport.
Training for the coaches
If there is no coach there is no training centre. It appeared essential to provide the professional coaches with training in this extreme sport. Effectively, safety is crucial for hydrofoil navigation and racing. The speed of these vessels implicates issues that differ from traditional methods of training for sailing, both in terms of safety and tactics that must be mastered and communicated to those who partake in this high-level sport.