‘Home’ French Paprec team cautiously optimistic as 52 SUPER SERIES heads to Saint Tropez for the first time
Jean Luc Petithuguenin’s French TP52 team Paprec will take this coming weekend to complete their final training before competing at the opening 52 SUPER SERIES regatta of 2023 when the world’s leading grand prix monohull circuit is hosted in France for the for the first time.
The Paprec team have won many times in Saint Tropez, on the TP52 and their Wally, but project manager Stéphane Névé confirms that competing in the 52 SUPER SERIES Saint Tropez Sailing Week will be their toughest test yet on the Gulf of Saint Tropez.
While the majority of the 52 SUPER SERIES fleet already trained for a week before Easter in Valencia, the mainly Breton Paprec crew raced and won Brittany’s showcase giant Spi Ouest France regatta, an event they first won 20 years ago on a Sinergia 40. But Névé cautions that with some new, young team members and a boat which was new to them at the end of last season, they need to be cautious with their hopes and expectations.
“We trained over two weekends in Brittany. We lost one to winds which were too strong. So we maybe have ten days of training which is not fantastic. We still have a lot of work to do, we have two new guys on the foredeck. They are very motivated but don’t have an awful lot of experience on grand prix monohulls. We have a couple of young guys coming on board as we always want to be giving opportunities to younger French sailors.”
They may be cautiously optimistic but they are ambitious to improve and make their mark,
“We are looking to do better than we have in the past but what is important to improve keep improving our level but for the time being our 2023 crew still needs work, it is a young crew which needs to learn how to work together, we need practice.”
Most of the top professionals among the 52 SUPER SERIES teams have raced at Saint Tropez many times and so they have no possible advantage. But, as the only French team on the circuit, he promises a warm welcome,
“Saint Tropez, we have been there many times but it was not for racing at this level, it has been for Les Voiles de Saint Tropez and La Giraglia with the TP52 and the Wally so we certainly like to be in Saint Tropez and we know it, we look forwards to welcoming all the teams to the first ever French event on the 52 SUPER SERIES. We are very happy to be having this regatta in France and we will do all we can to make for a great welcome for everyone.”
“ I don’t think we will have an advantage in Saint Tropez just because we have sailed there so often and done well. The level is so high and of course we are on windward leeward courses, so we just go out and do our best.”
And of course Saint Tropez maintains a well deserved reputation…..
“There is so much temptation in Saint Tropez! It will be important for the crew to stay focused and not be visiting too many bars. It is such a lovely place you can easily lose your focus, that is part of my main job.”