Matthieu Vandame, one of the core members of the crew, returns to the France SailGP Team for Season 2 and will remain as wing trimmer trimmer in 2020. However, in the upcoming campaign he will have the additional challenge of handling and managing the settings of the new modular wing.
While there will be a learning curve with the new wingsails once they’re deployed ahead of San Francisco SailGP in May, Vandame is excited by the probability of gaining a few knots in the second season as the French look to challenge for the podium.
At 11-years-old, Vandame put in his first tacks at the legendary Cataschool in the Gulf of Morbihahn, where he rubbed shoulders with some of France’s top multihull sailors.
The native of Rennes had his Olympic aspirations cut short when his teammate suffered an injury, leading Vanamde to put his sailing career on hold while he transitioned to a career as a primary school teacher. The classroom didn’t last long as he was lured back to the world of competitive racing.
Vandame earned his first world championship in 2012 when he won the Formula 18 world title alongside teammate Olivier Backes. His return to sailing also led to head-to-head competition with current teammate Billy Besson, coming up just short against the France SailGP skipper at the 2015 world championships in the Nacra 17 class, where he took the silver medal.
He was on the Spndrift racing crew that won the 2015 Tour de France à la Voile, an annual yachting race around the coast of France where each team uses the same type of boat to put the results directly on the skill of the sailors, not the engineering, similarly to the SailGP one-design class.
One of the highlights of Vandame’s career came in 2017 when he was a member of Groupama Team France in the Louis Vuitton Challengers’ Trophy to determine the challenger for the 35th America’s Cup.
When he’s not sailing, Vandame likes spending time with his daughter and son, who he shares his love for the water and outdoors with. Together, they enjoy kayaking and mountain biking. However, he admits he’s not always outside, as he’s talented when it comes to technology and computers, describing himself as “a little geeky.”