A new season for Fabien Delahaye!
Having spent the winter recovering his fitness and major work being undertaken to improve the reliability of his Figaro Gilbert34, Fabien Delahaye is all set for this new season.
With big ambitions for his third year on the Figaro Bénéteau 3, the skipper is looking forward to competing again. Meanwhile, he’s back in training – on his own and with his partner – before the competition starts in a month’s time.
After coming an impressive 6th in La Solitaire du Figaro 2020, Fabien Delahaye quickly sent his Figaro Gilbert34 into the yard for improvements in terms of reliability. The monotype was thoroughly inspected in November with a view to returning to training in early February.
” The aim was to carry out a major technical inspection after two seasons of activity. Everything was dismantled, checked and reassembled. This identified areas showing signs of wear, and key areas to keep an eye on. We also overhauled the hull to reduce drag, and checked the electronic systems, foils and mast; a major refit to improve reliability and give us more confidence in the equipment when we re-start training and the competitive season,” explains Fabien Delahaye.
As well as the technical side, the skipper also concentrated on his own physical recovery. A mentally intense 2020 season caused initially by the pandemic and then by the resulting packed sporting schedule has taken its toll on his body.
” The 2020 season started late, so the race schedule was tightly packed which meant we just got more and more tired. Constant uncertainty throughout the year also drained us of a lot of energy. That’s why we needed to take advantage of the winter to rest and recover ready for the 2021 season “, continues Fabien.
Aiming for double success in 2021: the Transat en Double Concarneau-Saint Barthélémy and the Solitaire du Figaro
Having made steady progress over these last two seasons, the Laboratoires Gilbert skipper is focussing on two major events in the Figaro circuit this year: the Transat en Double Concarneau-Saint Barthélémy which starts on 9th May, and the Solitaire du Figaro which sets sail at the end of August.
He explains: ” With the agreement of all my partners, we decided to concentrate on these two main races, obviously with the goal of ranking highly. I’m making progress, I know I can perform well in either the Transat or the Solitaire. I’d love to get on the podium again. I’ll also be entering preparation races such as the Solo Maître Coq and the Solo Guy Cotten, as well as the Tour de Bretagne à la Voile. “
In partnership with Anthony Marchand on the Transat
To support him on the pairs Transat race, Fabien Delahaye has reached out to Anthony Marchand, a skipper who is well-known on the circuit and experienced in the Figaro.
Between them, the pair have completed 10 Figaro Transats, making it an obvious partnership for Fabien: ” We’ve known each other for a long time, we sailed the 470 fifteen years ago, then we both started the Figaro around the same time. We have had similar simultaneous experiences, but we’ve never navigated together before. Anthony has proved his status as a circuit leader many times, which makes him the obvious choice to take on this Transat. I love these pairs projects where we get to share lots of things; we learn a lot, it’s very fulfilling.
His profile also stood out because he has sailed on the circuit over the past few seasons so he’s familiar with the Figaro Bénéteau 3. I think it’s important for us to be able to hit the ground running. Finally, I wanted someone who had the same goals as me, and was looking for an ambitious project. We’ve been at the helm since January and are starting training in early February, so I think we’ll be in a good position to tackle this Transat!”
Race schedule for the Figaro Gilbert34
Solo Maître Coq: 22 to 28 March (solo)
Transat en Double Concarneau-Saint Barthélémy: starts 9th May (pairs)
Tour de Bretagne à la Voile: 3 to 11 July (pairs)
Solo Guy Cotten: 22 to 25 July (solo)
La Solitaire du Figaro: starts on 22 or 29 August (solo)
More information on www.gilbert34.team