Cowes Week – a rich learning experience

Cowes Week 2015


It was all smiles and sparkling eyes after a fantastic week of regattas in Cowes. This postcard English seaside town was the stage for a play in two acts for our Crew of Diversity, with races in the IRC 0 category, before competing in the legendary Big Boat Series.

A Cowes Week true to its traditions

A different race format, with short and technical inshore courses, bringing out the physical prowess of all the teams. A VOR 60, built for offshore racing put our red hot chilli peppers to the test on each manoeuvre, but that’s what they were here for – the challenge, the learning experience and the chance to progress. Confronting the biggest names in the sport and exceeding expectations is the fundamental reason for being here. Light winds and rain made for some slow sailing in this 2015 race. However it would take more than a little English weather to dampen the spirits of our brave ambassadors for diversity. The light winds gave everyone the opportunity to work on their concentration. As every sailor knows, it’s the lightest winds that bring out the best technique. “Fantastic mutual support, a united and competitive team, the crew made tremendous progress during the week. In short, it is all very positive!” says Peter Meisel, VOR 60 skipper.

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Diversity taking its place among the biggest names

Surrounded by professionals, our crew has once again been the “Jolokia in the pack” around the pontoons and jetties of Cowes Week. Our highly diverse crew, rich in experiences of all kinds, found lots of friends among the foreign press, for example CNBC, who came to do a  report earlier this week. “Now that we’re back on board, the differences have once again evaporated – no-one sees, male or female, disability or different backgrounds… The teams of all those other grand yachts seem much the same, while aboard Jolokia our diversity has continued to bring us so much, both on the human level and in and in sporting performance – it gives us different ways of seeing the world.” says Peter Meisel Two words – “too short!” That’s the feeling of everyone aboard as we head back to our home port. Too short, but what an excellent adventure! Our chilli peppers will remember it for a long time… « a lot of serious effort, with lots of smiles, teamwork and above all total dedication to each task in hand. A fabulous week – it will take me days to come down to earth and find my land legs! » says Pierre Machemie, crew member. Team Jolokia cast off from this iconic port after a fantastic week in English waters, mooring in Brittany, another sailing stronghold.

You can bet we’ll be back!

The last race for Lucas Falco, 40 years old, and a member of Team Jolokia for the last three years. Trained as a nurse, Lucas has been a fulcrum of the life of the crew on board Team Jolokia, totally engaged, rational and organized, the qualities of this man-mountain have been appreciated by his team mates more than he can know. Always able to get the best out of everyone, he also acted as the team’s medical linchpin. For Lucas, closing this chapter in his life with such a wonderful series of races has been a joy: “A wonderful week of competition in ‘very British’ weather. The concentrated and intensely pedagogic atmosphere on board during this week has allowed us to produce some beautiful, well-crafted racing, with sequences of controlled manoeuvres and a fantastic, reactive understanding between the whole crew. It’s been a wonderful gift for me to end my three years of investment in this project in this way. Long live Jolokia and all the values it stands for! .“ We wish you all the very best, Lucas!

Team Jolokia abounds with energy just waiting to be exploited… The 2015 season has ended on a highly promising note! Never forget that Diversity is a Strength! With the Quebec–Saint-Malo, 2016 will be a season not to be missed…



Diversity in the UK!

After a summer break, the Jolokia chilli peppers are back in action, lining up at the beginning of August for Cowes Week. A week of day-long inshore regattas with a highly physical and demanding format for the crew, who will come across some strong challenges in their VOR 60. The Crew of Diversity nonetheless expects to show off its prowess in this mythical shrine to sailing!

Cowes, the Mecca of English sailing

Off to the Isle of Wight and the legendary port of Cowes, where Team Jolokia took up residence from the 9th to 15th of August. A wide variety of competitors and 25 nationalities represented – we can expect some wonderful races. A slightly different race format from the pre-season competitions, with races around buoys forcing crews to carry out a lot of technical manoeuvres in quick succession — the physical capacities of the crew will be put to a stern test… The Chilli Peppers have what it takes to shine in the grey English weather! First race Monday, 10th August in the IRC 0 category, before competing alongside the biggest teams in the Big Boat Series, a regatta within the regatta, held on Tuesday 11th, Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th August.

Diversity on the quayside 

First big event of the season for our Crew of Diversity. After a 36 hour channel crossing, the team set foot on English soil this Sunday morning at dawn. After a short rest, the Chilli Peppers got down to preparing the VOR 60. One word that perfectly sums up the arrival of our ambassadors for diversity at the port of Cowes – “Grandiose!” Julien Viroulaud tells us: “On reaching the village of the famous Cowes Week, we saw just how big it is in the English, and indeed the European calendar. On the water, we intend to do our very best, and give a maximum of ourselves. While here in England we’ll do our level best to make our case for Diversity. Just as in France and anywhere else, Diversity is a strength, as everyone knows!”  

Third appearance for the team at this event

Some of the crew have previous experience in this type of competition, while others are still novices in the regatta format. “It’s the first time I’ve set foot in England, and to find myself participating a race like this is simply massive for me! I focused all my training on this Cowes Week because I know how physically demanding it will be.” explains Antoine Sarrazin, the Quebecker on board.

Hervé Larhant, who has lost his left leg, has experienced the event before and is looking to get the most out of his second visit “Cowes Week is my best memory from last season! The sporting side is truly amazing, the adrenaline is at a max, with five hours of unrelenting sailing and hard manoeuvre…. Never was a beer better earned when evening falls! For me and the team, it’s been fabulous to participate in this race, we are all in awe of so many boats, so many nationalities… we’ll be going home to France tired, but very happy!” 

Our ambassadors’ dearest wish is to show that diversity is not just a word, but a way of living and thinking. While they may be in awe, wonder and at the heart of the challenge, their overriding aim is to show that diversity and competitiveness go hand in hand.

The crew of Team Jolokia at Cowes Week:

Antoine Sarrazin
Maud Grosjean
Erwan Charamel
Quentin Alasseur
Pierre Machemie
Karine Précardie
Matthieu Le Pape
Annelise Tixier
Julien Viroulaud
Rémy Labarthe
Thomas Baudelot
Hervé Larhant
Hélène de Sinety
M’Baki Lusamvuku
Lucas Falco
Pierre Meisel (Skipper)

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