It could be a good band name, or be considered offensive by some – but my guess is that coming from a Frenchman makes it alright. Anyway any rhetoric expert will tell you that starting an essay with a digression is almost as bad as as slapping a cheesy saxophone solo in a good song, so let’s get back to the point and thanks for your interest.
The future of the VOR has been discussed here already but I wished to focus on the little blue – white – red flag that’s been seen discretely flying in the background recently. After years and years of absence – Lionel Péan’s Whitbread victory goes back to 1986 – will the French make it back to the startline? It’s been the subject of conjectures and refutations for years, to the point where it could have become a one-liner ("Céline Dion coming out with a decent album is as likely as a French team entering the VOR" – include any improbable fact in first portion of sentence to create own version). Today though, things seem a bit different as Michel Desjoyeaux, Roland Jourdain, Jean-Luc Nélias and Luc Gellusseau attended a presentation made by Knut Frostad in Boston on Sunday.
Sure, it doesn’t mean they’ll fly back to Brittany and start picking their crew in the local cafés around Port la Forêt on Monday, but they’re not exactly the kind of guys who would fly across the Atlantic just because there was nothing good on French TV this week-end (and that is definitely more probable than a French VOR entry). Desjoyeaux and Jourdain have both taken part in Tabarly’s Whitbread adventures back in the day, which obviously was an important moment for the young guns they were at the time. Nélias’s talent both as skipper and as weather router (he was behind the screen for Jourdain’s Rhum victory) is well know too, and Gellusseau has been involved in the America’s Cup when it still actually looked like a serious event. There have been rumours of Jérémie Beyou and Armel Le Cléac’h going to Boston as well, but apparently they were unfounded, which is too bad – anyway, no doubt that if a French project goes ahead, the young guns will have their role to play… On the sponsors side we know that Groupama has been looking at the Volvo for quite a while (as in "seriously" looking and having informal chats with some designers), while Bilou’s and Desjoyeaux’s presence might suggest Veolia and Foncia could be in the loop (note the very cautious way of phrasing things).
So hopefully, next time, it will happen? Yet if it does, I’m still convinced nothing good is even close to coming out of Céline’s studio.