French sailing legend, Loick Peyron, has joined the line-up of top sailing stars to compete in the first event of the inaugural TF35 Trophy next week.
The Frenchman, who has a glittering sailing career in multihulls and monohulls and set a Trophee Jules Verne record, will join the TF35 Trophy as tactician for the newest crew to join the fleet Team Sailfever.
Having no prior experience of sailing, Team Sailfever owner French entrepreneur Frédéric Jousset, took on the challenge after receiving an email from a potential TF35 team looking for an investor as he was climbing Mt Everest in the spring of 2019. “What immediately appealed to me about racing on the TF35 was not only the feeling we were about to experience but also the technological challenge we would face,” Jousset explains.
For their first season, the team’s focus is on progress. Peyron will guide the new owner Jousset through his first year of professional racing with the help of a top crew featuring former Groupama Team France sailors Devan le Bihan, Arnaud Jarlegan and local talent Yvan Ravussin.
“I have been following the creation of the TF35 closely, and I promised myself that I would try it one day. The TF35 is a complex machine, we are still a long way from realising its full potential, but that is the joy of sailing. There are so many things to discover when you want to learn. I’m delighted to be part of the Team Sailfever crew, and looking forward to seeing our progress.” says Peyron.
Team Sailfever is a perfect example of what the TF35 is designed to achieve: top-level foiling to a broader audience of sailors, with a fully automatic flight control system that uses the latest technology to simplify high-speed sailing. A concept embraced not only by the owners in the fleet, who in most cases take the helm but also by the household names in professional multihull racing that will join the seven teams competing in the TF35 inaugural season.
Participating on the circuit will be two-time America’s Cup winner and reigning GC32 world champions Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi and his finely tuned crew of Nicolas Charbonnier, Bryan Mettraux, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey. Eight-time winners in 16 editions of the D35 Trophy, Alinghi’s close-knit team will be joined this year by a young Swiss rookie, Florian Trüb.
The Swiss crew on Esteban Garcia’s Realteam, co-skippered by Jérôme Clerc, will be joined by former French America’s Cup helmsman Sebastien Col and F18 and GC32 veteran Gurvan Bontemps.
From their base in southern Brittany, France, Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard’s Spindrift have been training in the early part of the year before joining the fleet on Lake Geneva in March with a talented young team including Yann Jauvin as tactician supported by Paul Dagault, Duncan Späth, Antoine Rucard and Jules Bidégaray.
Another crew putting in the hours on the water winter training has been Bertrand Demole’s Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier. Helmed by owner Demole the experienced crew, including French multihull veterans Thierry Briend, Pierre Pennec and Erwan Israel, have been getting to grips with the new technology as Briend explains: “We started sailing relatively early to get as much time on the water as possible, allowing us to test the boat configurations in different conditions. The TF35 is a technical and demanding boat, and despite our crew having a solid background in flying boats, we are still in the process of discovery and learning how to handle her.”
Guy de Picciotto’s ZEN Too, one of the longest-standing teams from the D35 Trophy, moves into the new generation of TF35 racing yacht with household names Frédéric le Peutrec, Tanguy Cariou, Nicolas Berthoud alongside the Swiss youth talent of Arthur Cevey, Jérémy Bachelin and Jocelyn Keller.
Returning to racing on Lake Geneva with the TF35 is Erik Maris and his team Zoulou. Led by Jean Sébastien Ponce the loyal Zoulou crew includes America’s Cup sailors Thierry Fouchier and Thomas le Breton, Bruno Mourniac from the French Youth AC crew, GC32 veteran Nicolas Heintz and the newest edition to the team Valentin Bellet.
It has been an unprecedented build-up to the first event of the TF35 Trophy, with restrictions and difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. A change in venue from Société Nautique de Genève to Société Nautique de Nyon in early April has been an unfortunate but necessary step to ensure the launch of the series.
Class Manager Bertrand Favre explains: “Our thanks to the Société Nautique de Geneve for all their support and understanding and also the Société Nautique de Nyon for welcoming us so quickly. The TF35 class, sailors and owners are excited to launch into the first season of racing, but we will at all times following our strict covid protocol.”
Main image © Loris Von Siebenthal