Michel Desjoyeaux is France’s best-known sailor and has won many of the sport’s biggest prizes but the lure of joining Team España in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 has brought him back to compete for a fourth time aged 49.
It is nearly 30 years since he made his Race debut (1985-86) and 20 (1993-94) after he last took part, but Desjoyeaux said he was bursting with anticipation for another challenge and the opportunity to learn new skills in the 12th edition that starts in just over three weeks’ time on October 4 in Alicante.
“I’ve known Iker (skipper Martínez) and Xabi Fernández (watch captain) since they rented my old boat for the Barcelona World Race. I really like both their personalities,” he explains.
“I’ve had plenty of offers in the past to go and sail in the Volvo Ocean Race in one or more stages but it’s never been possible because of the timing. To be at the start of the project, was the deciding factor. This one fell perfectly for me, it’s a great opportunity.”
He says he’s particularly looking forward to racing on board the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65. “I’m learning all the time, I never stop,” he says.
Desjoyeaux’s name is the biggest but Martínez also announced three more sailors in his final race crew plus the onboard reporter, Francisco Vignale from Argentina.
Among them is André Fonseca, another extremely experienced sailor who will, like Desjoyeaux, take one of the important watch captain’s roles. The 36-year-old Brazilian competed on Brasil 1 and Delta Lloyd in the 2005-06 and 2008-09 races.
Frenchman Anthony Marchand, Spain’s Carlos Hernández and Briton Sam Goodchild complete the line-up.
The Race begins with the Alicante in-port race on October 4 before the fleet departs for Cape Town on the first leg a week later.
All seven teams competing have now announced their race crews.
Crew for Team España in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15
1. Iker Martinez (ESP), skipper
2. Nicolas Lunven (FRA), navigator
3. Xabi Fernández (ESP), watch captain
4. Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), watch captain
5. André Fonseca (BRA), watch captain
6. Rafa Trujillo (ESP), trimmer/helmsman
7. Anthony Marchant (FRA), timmer/helmsman – under 30 crew member
8. Antonio Cuervas-Mons (ESP), bowman
9. Carlos Hernández (ESP), trimmer/bowman – under 30 crew member
10. Sam Goodchild (GBR), trimmer/bowman – under 30 crew members
11. Francisco Vignale (ARG), onboard reporter
– VOR Media