Justine Mettraux and Isabelle Joschke will depart Concarneau at 1200UTC (1300 French local time) on Sunday 22nd April competing in La Transat AG2R La Mondiale which will see 19 double handed Figaro teams heading to Saint-Barth. The Magenta Project caught up with Justine to ask a few questions and find out how the teamwork.net team is shaping up just before their departure.
“The last time Isabelle and I raced in a Transat at the same time was the Mini Transat in 2013. Though we train together in Lorient and have competed in a couple of small races together in February this year to practice our team work in preparation for this race.”
We asked Justine what the qualifying criteria was for the two women to compete in the Transat as a team, Justine said:
“The race director looks at the teams individually on their own merit. Isabelle has raced the Mini Transat and also races IMOCA 60, so she is eligible and because I race the Figaro as well as having completed the Mini Transat I am also eligible. This race doesn’t have a specific qualifying passage requirement if you already meet the criteria for miles and experience previously.”
Justine, who recently raced with Dongfeng on Leg 4 of the current Volvo Ocean Race and competed in the Volvo Ocean Race with Team SCA, has raced across the Atlantic 7 times and this will be her 8th. Isabelle, who is regularly seen competing on an IMOCA 60, has the same number of Atlantic crossings under her belt too. So the duo is certainly not short in wealth of knowledge of this particular passage, though it will be their first time arriving in Saint-Barth.
We asked which part of the race Justine considers the hardest. “The start, the first two days is the hardest. Trying to establish a position, getting into the race, finding our rhythm is very tiring. Hopefully we will be able to work a good sleep pattern after this and possibly manage 2.5 or 2 hours alternating sleep pattern.”
So, what luxury items or mascots do they take on board to keep them going and bring them luck? Initially Justine dismissed the idea, but then suggested that a certain set of clothing that was just “right” and then commented that she does have a small “lucky egg” and joked about it being like the one in the film Cool Runnings.
With respect to food Justine explained “The Figaro rules dictate that all food carried is not freeze-dried so we will be carrying pre-prepared wet food. Isabelle is the food expert on-board, I hope to learn a little from her planning in this area. We don’t really have a particular luxury in terms of food but we do make sure that everything we take is always something we will enjoy and provide good energy”
After this race both Justine and Isabelle have a busy season ahead. Isabelle will be competing in the Route Du Rhum later this year, hopefully we will catch up with her to talk about that, Justine will be competing in the Solitaire du Figaro and hopes to improve on her previous 8th position.
We asked if Justine has any advice for anyone aspiring to race offshore double or single handed. “I always remind myself, if it’s hard for me, it’s hard for the others. So there is always a chance.”
Justine and Isabelle are racing on teamwork.net sponsored by www.teamworkvoileetmontagne.com who also support her with her Figaro Campaign.