Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe: last preparations before the race

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Lalou Roucayrol, skipper of the Multi50 Arkema, will set off on 4 November in the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe. For his fourth participation in this race, the skipper’s ambitions are clear: to claim a podium place in this supreme event in solo ocean racing. But to achieve this, mental and physical preparation is essential.

Just one month away from the start of the race, Lalou Roucayrol is busy with plenty of outings on the Multi50 Arkema in Verdon-sur-Mer, the home port of the trimaran.


Lalou is calm and collected ahead of this looming date, with his boat ready to the optimum degree, and the support of a highly skilled technical team behind him, so he now makes the most of these outings to make the last adjustments to his machine: “It’s all going splendidly. We take the boat out about 3 times a week to check the calibration of the autopilot, adjust the rigging or the sails, etc. This enables me to go over the manoeuvers on board again and again, so they become even more slick during the race.”



"A plan for suitable physical training"

 Aerial view by helicopter of the Arkema multi50 trimaran, on the occasion of an outing with Lalou Roucayrol and Quentin Vlamynck on board - Preparation for the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2018

The boat’s preparation may indeed be perfectly fine-tuned, but this does not mean that Lalou is overlooking his physical and mental preparation. During the last edition of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe, in 2014, Lalou had been contacted by cardiologist Alice Horovitz as part of a study on heart rates for top athletes. So he had set off on this race fitted with electrodes to record his heartbeat over the first few days of the transatlantic crossing.

“My heart rate was around 160 beats per minute then”, recounts Lalou Roucayrol. “This is very fast, which can be explained by the stress but in particular by the lack of sleep. It’s difficult in the first few days of the race to fall into a deep sleep, due to the strenuous physical efforts involved in sailing a trimaran. For this 2018 edition, this has prompted us to plan for suitable physical training on land.” So the skipper alternates running, muscle training and cycling, with three outings a week, in order to be in great shape when he sets off from Saint-Malo!


Work on a smoother harmony between body and mind

Lalou Roucayrol during a sophrology session

As for his mental preparation, since January Lalou has been following a sophrology program involving 3 sessions per month, to help him cope with stress better, as a guarantee to boost his performance.

I was already familiar with the basics of sophrology, and we wanted to work on a smoother harmony between my body and my mind. In particular we put in place gestures that trigger a signal. The idea is to condition a gesture that influences the mind and induces the body to a specific physical state. For example, the “wake up” gesture takes me more quickly to a good awareness level, and enables me to take a conscious and reasoned decision more rapidly.”

So Lalou Roucayrol seems to be in top condition – technically, physically and mentally – for this 2018 edition of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe. Don’t miss the departure from Saint-Malo on 4 November!