Alan Roura goal? The Vendée Globe the solo regatta that will start in 2024. In the meantime, the approach march has begun with Alan Roura sailing his Imoca 60 Hublot to the start of the most important ocean races on the calendar.
He will race in the colours of Hublot
A run-in that also includes the mythical Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe. The start is set for 1.02 p.m. on 6 November when the 138 boats entered in the solo race will set off from Saint-Malo to sail to the Caribbean island and more specifically to Point-à-Pitre, the finish line.
One of the many interpretations offered by this twelfth edition of the Route du Rhum is the record number of participants and the presence of the Swiss sailor who will race in the colours of Hublot, at his debut in an event of this magnitude, in what is considered the most competitive and avant-garde class of ocean sailing, the Imoca 60. (Here all our posts about Hublot)
Because it is true, they do not have the sea. But one should no longer be surprised. Not least because it has never been a limitation. They have demonstrated this on more than one occasion. Just think of the America’s Cup. It was the first European nation, in the history of this competition, to get its hands on the holy grail of sailing. Remember Alinghi? Today, Switzerland has gone from being a nation devoted to skiing, and winter sports in general, to revealing an increasingly sailing soul, and lately it has been churning out new talent in all specialities and Alan Roura is one of them.
All about Alan Roura
Born in 1993, the Swiss sailor can be said to have set the pace. In the true sense of the word. He got into a boat for the first time in his life at the age of two. And since then, he has never got off. At the age of eight, he set sail with his family on a sailing trip from which he returned when he was just over 18. Then came the world of sailing competitions.
At the 2016-17 edition of the Vendée Globe he set a new record by being the youngest competitor to start in the history of this race. Today, at the age of 30, Roura is once again preparing for the assault of the solo round-the-world sailing race scheduled to start in the autumn of 2024. This time with an exceptional partner: Hublot.
The House of Nyon thus reveals its sailing soul and sets off to conquer the oceans. Having just returned from the Vendée Arctique, Alan Roura granted this exclusive interview to Sea Time. We interviewed him a few days before the start of the Route du Rhum.
When did you first discover sailing?
I lived on a boat from the age of 2 but I did my first solo sailing in an Optimist at the age of 6. Lake Geneva was a bit like my garden, so sailing was my end-of-day activity! When I was 8 years old, I went sailing with my family, only to return at the age of 19 to launch my first racing project.
Switzerland reigns supreme in mountain sports. It has lots of lakes but no sea access. So how did sailing become such a very central part of your life?
People are always quite surprised to see so many sailors from a landlocked country! But the Swiss are great sailors – we have internationally renowned sailing events on our lakes and we met many of our compatriots on our family trip. The Swiss people are explorers, eager to discover. After spending eleven years travelling around the world on a sailing boat as a child, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else with my life! The competition aspect as a bonus.
You have competed in many, many races but is there any memory that stands out in particular or to which you are particularly attached?
The Mini Transat, my first major race and my first solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, will remain one of my fondest memories. Because it was the first one. But nothing can compare to the Vendée Globe: it is the most beautiful race in the world.
Speaking of the Vendée Globe. A lot has changed since the first edition in 2016 when you took part for the first time and the one you will be embarking on in 2024. Boats included. How will all these changes influence your approach?
A lot of things have changed since 2016, but always in a step-by-step progression. I raced my second Vendée Globe in 2020 aboard an intermediate generation boat, to which we added foils. A “hybrid” solution that allowed me to learn to fly without missing a step.
This new Hublot boat is forcing me to rethink a lot of things in terms of navigation, but I’m only asking to progress and I feel ready to move on to the next level. Thanks to a stronger and more structured team, I can now focus exclusively on my preparation without having to worry about the management of the project or about any technical problems. And that is a great luxury.
You will be at the startline of the 2024 Vendée Globe wearing the Hublot colours. What values do you share with the brand and what do you find most intriguing about it?
I have always been fascinated by the aura that surrounds Swiss watchmaking. It’s a local know-how of which we are all extremely proud and this claim is found in ocean racing. Our teams have unique skills that are very specific to ocean racing. Many parallels can be drawn. Beyond the quest for excellence and the desire for innovation that drives us, Hublot and I also share many human values such as authenticity, sharing, team spirit… It’s an incredible opportunity for me to represent a brand that is so like me.
In a single-handed race, time places a central role. What is life like during the Vendée Globe: how do you split up your time each day?
A 24-hour day will be divided into three parts: the smooth running of the boat, strategy and life on board. I will spend 10 to 12 hours a day inspecting, adjusting and maintaining or repairing the boat. I will spend 4 hours collecting and analysing the weather reports to work out the best course depending on the wind, sea and current conditions and the performance of my boat. The rest of the time will be devoted to meals, hygiene, sending content to my communication team (texts, photos, videos, audios) and rest (I sleep from 4 to 6 hours per 24 hours, in 20 to 40 minute increments).