Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sailor Profile - Thierry Fouchier

Thierry Fouchier (FRA) is one of the more experienced multihull sailors on the team, having spent time sailing with Franck Cammas on his Groupama trimarans. But he also has America's Cup pedigree - he was with the French team in 1999-2000 and sailed with the Swedish Victory Challenge in the last Cup.

"My first main achievement was being part of the Corum Sailing team in 1991 when we won the Admirals Cup," Fouchier says. "Then I switched to match racing with some French skippers like Thierry Peponnet and Bertrand Pace. I ended up doing the America's Cup in 2000 in Auckland. I switched to multihulls and sailed with Franck Cammas on Groupama I and II. In 2007 I was with Victory Challenge and then I joined BMW ORACLE Racing two years ago."

His sailing background as a youngster is slightly different from that of his peers; he started directly on big boats, while many of the other sailors on the team began sailing dinghies. What he shares with many of his teammates is a supportive family.

"The biggest influence for me was my father. He wasn't sailing as a professional but he was sailing every weekend in Marseille and I would look at him and think, 'I want to do that'. And I've been able take it another level and sail professionally."

On board the USA, Thierry sails in the aft pit, which puts him in the middle of the action.

"Aft pit role means you have to work with many people on board," he explains. "I work with Joey Newton (AUS), when he does the runners, and with Simone de Mari (ITA) and also with Matteo Plazzi (ITA) the navigator, who works close to me. I run the 'uppers', holding the mast at the top and am in charge of some of the hydraulics."

When asked for his highlight of the campaign so far, he demurs, saying it hasn't happened...yet!

"I think the best part is about to come in two weeks. It's been a long campaign, very complicated, but we've made some big achievements together with this boat… I can't tell you what it would feel like to win yet - but hopefully I'll tell you in a couple of weeks!"