Alan Roura: Fall Sail
Superstar Swiss skipper Alan Roura takes on one ocean with two races in the IMOCA 60 Hublot with an eye to around-the- world in 2024.
The Atlantic Ocean can be rough any time of year, but it is late summer into autumn when it really starts to turn nasty. The depressions and trade winds that form off the western coast of Africa head west across the Mid-Atlantic and can often develop into hurricanes that strike the Caribbean or east coast of North America. If we’re lucky, the storms take a dramatic right turn north, spare North America, head to the North Atlantic and we forget about them.
Alan Roura does not. His life depends on ocean and weather conditions.
The Swiss skipper is one of the finest open- ocean racers in the world and as an ambassador for the famed Swiss watchmaker Hublot since 2022, Roura continues to push himself even further with two races across the open Atlantic on-board the new IMOCA 60 Hublot sailing racer.
“I always have this desire to push myself ever further, this conviction that I can always do better, that it’s possible to draw the best out of a boat,” says Roura. “It is this feeling that is driving me to take on this incredible adventure with Hublot.”
Roura’s first Atlantic crossing will be taking on the Transat Jacques Vabre, the longest of the transatlantic routes, departing Le Havre in the Normandy region of northern France on the English Channel, travelling east to west to arrive in Fort-de-France, Martinique, in the Caribbean. Roura will make that journey in the company of Swiss co-skipper Simon Koster.
The second Atlantic crossing will be a solo attempt in the Retour à La Base, journeying west to east, departing Martinique and arriving in Lorient on the west coast of France in conditions that have just two levels: demanding and dangerous.
For Roura, the two crossings are another opportunity to build upon his legend and deepen his experience and skills. Each day on-board will be challenging, to say the least, but each success will be of great value as the purpose for Roura is to be as prepared as possible for the Vendée Globe, the only solo, non-stop and unassisted around- the-world sailing race, held every four years – surely one of the toughest tests for humans on the planet, and the ultimate dream of anyone with a passion for ocean racing.
Both the Transat Jacques Vabre and Retour à La Base are qualifying races for the Vendée Globe, which will start its 10th edition on November 10, 2024. Roura is among the 44 sailors who seek to qualify for one of its 40 entry slots. That ultimate goal is just fine with Roura.
“WE HAVE PUT IN PLACE A SYSTEM WHICH USES THE EXPERTISE AND SKILLS OF EVERYONE INVOLVED TO ENSURE THIS PROJECT IS A SUCCESS.”
“We have put in place a system which uses the expertise and skills of everyone involved to ensure this project is a success,” says Roura about his autumn in the Atlantic. “At the end of this long road lies the Vendée Globe, ‘The Everest of the Seas,’ and the ultimate goal. It is the kind of challenge where you simply cannot ever give up and that’s a good thing. It is exactly the mindset that we have cultivated with Hublot and the entire team.”
Roura is no stranger to the Vendée Globe, having last participated in 2020. In his first attempt, in 2016, he finished 12th, the youngest- ever participant in the history of the race at just 23 years old ― sailing solo non-stop around the world, without assistance, at an age when some of us were still learning how to parallel park.
Roura grew up on the ocean and has spent 22 of his 30 years sailing, first around the world with his family and then in competitions. He is well acquainted with the power of the elements and the challenges and dangers they may pose yet at the same time the freedom they offer. Ocean racing is in his blood.
As it is with Hublot. The Hublot brand has been invested in sailing since its very beginnings and is reviving its passion with this return to sailing and this autumn’s crossings. Roura’s adventure is made possible by the support of Hubolt, making the crossings in the new IMOCA 60 Hublot, a state-of-the-art foiling yacht with a fully enclosed cockpit.
“Sailing is a human adventure with unique and unforgettable moments and stories,” says Ricardo Guadalupe, Hublot CEO. “Hublot is supporting this incredible mission, which infuses all the innovation and technical skill of sailing with a uniquely human passion. We are proud of the Hublot sailing team and Alan and Simon as they race under the IMOCA Hublot colours.” Who knows what makes an adventurer like Alan Roura?
Who knows what internal fortitude and courage are required to face such dangers under such trying and demanding conditions? The rest of us mere mortals can only stand back and admire.