Alpina Alpina and the Tour de France Sailing Race
Aurélien Ducroz: the Chamoniard turned sailor.
In the mountains or at sea, Alpina ambassador Aurélien Ducroz, excels. We look back at the unique journey of the man who just finished at an honourable 10th place in the Tour de France Sailing Race.
Bridging the gap between skiing and sailing is no mean feat, but one seamlessly accomplished by Aurélien Ducroz, double world champion in freeride skiing and strong competitor against the best sailors of the moment. Passionate about mountains (and the sea), he has taken on the challenge and joined his horological partner Alpina and their team, Coved – Paprec for the third consecutive year, on the starting line of the Tour de France Sailing Race.
Competitors on the Tour de France Sailing Race sail 7.25 m long sports trimarans on the event of the season. As with the Tour de France cycling race, it is organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation. The principle is simple: nine legs, over three weeks, set all around the French coast, with an official program including coastal regattas and stadim racing. Coupled with a race village, public attractions by the water and regattas close to the public, the event brings sailing and sporting festivities wherever it goes.
Much closer to the peaks of the Alps that are so dear to Alpina, than to the sea, Aurélien Ducroz only started sailing much later in life, in 2009. This, however, did not prevent him from completing a solo Mini Transat race (on a 6.50 m boat) in 2011, finishing 4th at the Transat Jacques Vabre, and 4th at the 2016 Tour de France Sailing Race. Finishing 10th this year, and therefore ranking lower than last year, Aurélien remains satisfied with his performance within a fleet whose level progresses year after year. “Another beautiful adventure, a month at 200% with a great new team and a tenth place in the overall ranking. We hoped for a little more, but with the level of performance this year, I am far from frustrated by our tenth place. There are some big teams behind us still”, said Aurélien Ducroz following the last leg, which took place in Nice at the end of July.
Objective: round-the-world tour
This extreme sportsman who’s competing in a world that isn’t his, is adapting quite well and progressing quickly, which only strengthens his resolve in launching an XXL project: the 2020 Vendée Globe. But one cannot improvise a solo round the world tour on an 18 m monohull. Which is why we will find the Aplina ambassador once more on the starting line of the Transat Jacques Vabre this fall, a double’s race starting in le Havre and running all the way to Salvador de Bahia (Bresil). In the middle of the ocean, there are no mountains, although waves can sometimes reach scary heights…there is no doubt that this free rider turned experienced sailor should be able to cope with that…