Portrait de Marine Villard (FRA) | Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12

Portrait de Marine Villard (FRA) | Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12


I’m Marine Villard and I’ll soon be 37. Within Team Groupama I’m part of the mast section of the Research Department, I’ve been working at Groupama since 2005. Initially my job related to the construction of Groupama 3 and now I’m working on the Volvo. Here we are at Lorima, Lorima is the yard which is building the mast. It’s situated in Lorient, just a stone’s throw from our offices. It’s very important to see the relationship between what is designed and thought up beforehand and seeing how that can be achieved. We have an exchange with the yard which enables us to optimise designs which can sometimes be overly complicated or solutions which were designed but don’t quite work. The Volvo is an international race so it’s a heck of a challenge and we’re trying to develop things which haven’t necessarily been done elsewhere. As a result it’s not about series boats; this is a custom boat, a one-off. We’re lucky to have a sponsor which is behind us on this adventure and which has enabled us to invest so we are at the same level as the other teams. As such there is a pretty sizeable research and innovation aspect, which is thrilling within the research department, We’re no longer on the same playing field. Before we were battling against the clock or a previous record and could pretty much do as we liked. Now we know that the Volvo is synonymous with New Zealand, the old hands from the America’s Cup… We know there will be a large number of people who have real-life experience so it’s full-on here now. We have to come up to the mark. It’s like being an actor in a short film and suddenly you’re asked to show a film in Cannes. You might have won an acting or film contest in your village but the day you arrive in Cannes it’s a different league. That’s similar to how it is for us now. When I’m not in front of my computer at the office I have two passions:sailing, which takes up quite a lot of my time, and for the past ten years almost, sky diving. It’s really the free-falling which appealed to me and after that the element under a parachute was a gift and very, very enjoyable too. Other than that it’s the fact that you have 3D liberty to do what you like and then you jump from a plane with some absolutely fabulous views. Nearby we have the Golfe du Morbihan which is absolutely extraordinary and in the mountains it’s superb too. There’s such a sense of freedom that when you’re feeling a bit lethargic or a bit stressed, heading off to do a jump clears your head. It’s really extraordinary, It enables you to get a breath of fresh air in both senses of the term.

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