The signing of wing trimmer Kevin Peponnet will be key for the France SailGP Team going into Season 3 and means the team will be all French-speaking for the first time, the hosts of SailGP’s new podcast have said.
The appointment of Peponnet, who replaces outgoing British athlete Leigh McMillan, means the team will be united in their 'mother tongue', allowing for improved communication on board.
A seasoned athlete, Peponnet is a World and European 470 champion and has won the Tour de France à la Voile twice alongside Driver Quentin Delapierre
Speaking about the team on the first episode of the Deep Dive podcast, SailGP’s international broadcast commentator David ‘Freddie’ Carr described the French team’s communication on board during Season 2 as ‘Brexit all over again’.
“Some of my favourite moments from last year were listening to the French/ English arguments going around the racecourse,” he said.
The entrance of Peponnet is therefore ‘massive’ and means decisions can be made on board without ‘the need to modify your language for an English chap to understand’.
While he said the skill base of Peponnet ‘might not be the same’ as McMillan’s, he argued that the team is set to ‘gain more from the communication side of things than any other team’.
“Communication in sport is huge,” he said. “Communication in SailGP when you’re doing close to 100 km/h surrounded by other boats coming into a boundary is everything.”
Co-commentator Stevie Morrison agreed that Peponnet’s appointment ‘could well be an upgrade’.
“This is the team that is going to be feeling the pressure the most as we kick off Season 3. In terms of needing to perform, I think it’s France that need to come out of the blocks firing”.
The Deep Dive podcast is available on all major podcast platforms and will feature new episodes ahead of each event of SailGP Season 3. The second episode, which analyses the top half of the table; USA, Great Britain, Australia, Japan and newcomers Canada, is available now.