Amaury Guérin - skipper of Pilourson (First 29)
Amaury is only 16 years old and already the owner of Pilourson, a First 29 with his father and brothers. This sailing yacht was built in the 1980s and is still loved by sailors who enjoy fast cruising. We met him last July at the Course Croisières de Ports Vendéens (Vendée ports yacht race), at Les Sables d’Olonne. We asked this passionate sailor to talk about the 2018 season’s regattas he entered.
YOU ALREADY HAVE A VERY IMPRESSIVE record of achievements. Which races did you take part in this year and how well did you rank?
My calendar was very full this summer, between racing in the First 29 and Laser classes. The season began with the Course des iles, a single-handed race on my First 29, lasting a week in the rocky waters of Brittany. I finished in 5th place, but I came out of it with a baggage of really good sailing experience and this will always be useful. I was lucky to be able to take part in the Course Croisière des Ports Vendéens (3rd) and in the Tour du Finistère, a high-level regatta with crew. Our all-family crew took 5th place. We lacked experience in some of the strategic choices, but a fabulous stage close-hauled at 25 knots was an opportunity to unlock the boat’s full potential and win the stage! I also took part in two double-handed races with my father, with a podium place each time. This season came to a close with the French Laser Championship, a dinghy that is ideal for learning to race a cruiser. At the end of 5 days of racing and nearly 10 legs raced, I came 23rd out of the 80 racers.
“We finished in 5th place, with an all-family crew"
As a racer from Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, did you follow the Solitaire URGO du Figaro?
Of course, I was out on the sea up front to applaud our local sailors at the finish! I have got to know skippers Thomas Cardrin and Benjamin Dutreux, because of my work with Team Vendée.
Tell us about Team Vendée. What is your role?
Last year, I contributed to the Team Vendée Formation boat project, whose goal was the class world championships. This year, the project is coming to an end, but I hope to keep a foot in the door of the training centre, by continuing to sail there as much as possible and by pursuing my training there, which covers all areas of competitive sailing, this winter.
“With Team Vendée Formation, I will continue to train all winter”
Last of all, what are your projects? Do you still want to race and are you still as passionate about sailing?
I remain as motivated as ever for the next season. I intend focus on Laser racing, with the aim of performing well in the French Championship in August. So I will be doing a lot more training and preparing myself physically with that in mind. Despite this, I don’t think that I will completely drop cruiser racing, because this year's Tour de Finistère has encouraged me to take part again next year. I am going to try and sail as much as possible with “Team Vendée Formation”.
“In the long term, my mixed experience of dinghy and cruiser racing could be of benefit to my ocean-racing project."
Lives in Saint Gilles Croix de Vie
Next stopover: Port Joinville
A song: Katchi, by Ofenbach. Not the most poetic of songs, but really good for staying away at night in a race!
A sea animal: the bottlenose dolphin
An island: l’île d’Yeu
A value: surpassing oneself
A sensation: speed
A feeling: passion