Come aboard the Akka boat with Pierre Legendre who shares with us his passion for sailing.

NewsJanuary 12 2021

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Your role in AKKA and your background

I started working for AKKA in March 2017 as a consultant in medical devices. Two years later, AKKA offered me a new position in the company as a Business Manager, a new challenge that I was happy to take on.

It was my turn to challenge AKKA: put together my passion for ocean racing and help me cross the Atlantic ocean, alone and without any means of communication with the shore on a small 6.5-meter boat. 

AKKA decided to take on this challenge! Since January 2020, I am officially AKKA’s skipper for the Mini Transat 2021, the race that we qualified for and that will let me cross the Atlantic solo on my little boat.

 

What do you love the most about sailing?

First of all, because it is a very technical and complex sport, I am always learning new things. Secondly, the training and the actual racing, there is also the piloting aspect which I like very much.

Ocean racing done solo is, according to me, all about pushing yourself and overtake your limits. No sport requires you to be focused for such a long time, and there is never a moment of respite until you cross the finish line. You have to do your best and keep going forward.

 

What is the most challenging thing about sailing?

The hardest thing is that you cannot be a specialist: you need to be competent in a myriad of key skills (electricity, electronics, composite materials, seamanship, managing the sails, etc.). Sleep management. Sleeping is made in small chunks of 15/20 minutes. Be ready to face the unpredictable, so many things can go wrong and you must be reactive.

 

Describe a typical routine day during a sailing day?

For me, there are 5 key factors: the sailing route; managing the sails; keeping the boat clean; food and sleep.

– Sailing Route: it’s about going to the right place as fast as possible while taking into account the ever-changing weather forecast, wind, and currents.

– Sail Management: I have 7 different sails onboard, I need to pick the right one, use it as close to perfect as possible in order to go in the right direction at top speed. Then there is “stowing” (+/- 200 kg of equipment that I need to move around in the boat depending on the direction and strength of the wind).

– Keeping the boat clean: a well-kept boat is fundamental.

– Food: when you are out at sea, it can be hard to keep a tight schedule, you can easily forget to stay hydrated and/or forget to eat.

– Sleep: when the boat is sailing in the right direction, the sails are well adjusted, the boat tidied, the skipper well fed, then it is time to get some rest (chunks of 20 minutes maximum).

– Overall, a day in a race is a succession of small tasks, each of those being important for the final result which is going from point A to point B faster than the other competitors.

            

Did this preparation impact your daily life out of your sailing routine?

Well, quite a bit yes. Having an ocean sailing project requires a lot of sacrifices. You need to not give up, and to push through your limits and those of the others. 

 

What was the scariest moment in your sailing career?

The scariest moment in my sailing career was probably during a duo race near Corsica: I had a sick crewmate, the wind was around 100km/h and the waves were about 6m high. 

 

Could you please make a comparison between your sailing experience and AKKAttitude?

Linking my passion with AKKA? That’s a dream come true for me.

I realize how lucky I am to share this project with AKKA, it is like in an entrepreneurial project, in order to turn a dream into reality there needs to be passion, perseverance, and someone to be daring, to go forward with conviction, and to inspire others to action! I believe those values are shared among us, and I want to promote them through our project because while I will be theoretically alone at sea, I will not truly be alone thanks to AKKA!