Personal situation: cohabit, 2 children: Anna (2) and Léonie (5)
Post within Groupama Team France: Sailor - Grinder in charge of racking up the necessary energy for such roles as trimming the wing
Education: Preparation for entrance into engineering colleges - Centrale Nantes – Post-graduate diploma taken before completing a PhD and a thesis on micro-meteorology in 2011.
Olivier Herledant is 35. He is restoring a farm when he’s not on a boat. A great Match Racing specialist, this engineer is considered to be one of the world’s top grinders. This tall and slender, solid athlete has a good mind, which earned him 2nd place on the world match racing circuit with Mathieu Richard calling tactics. He is very familiar with the race zone in Bermuda. He didn’t take long to melt into the crew and his level of fitness is such that he can ‘push down’ on the cranks whilst maintaining the necessary clear-headedness.
Career and experience:
At 6 years of age, I started out on the Optimist. My father had a yacht and we often went to the Glénans Islands, then I got my sailing instructorship badge. As a secondary school student, I participated in the sailing trophy for colleges, then, at engineering school, I joined the APCC in Pornichet where I trained on a Class 8 with Mathieu Richard. Between 2000 and 2004, we were sailing a Mumm 30, linking together a series of Tour de France à la Voile campaigns with the Nantes - St Nazaire team and match racing.
In 2004, I bagged my first ride on an America’s Cup Class as Mastman for China Team. Back on the match racing circuit, I placed second in the world championship in 2008 and 2010. Anecdotally, in 2010, our crew helmed by Mathieu Richard was defeated by that of Ben Ainslie.
In 2009, I returned to the America’s Cup with K-Challenge, then Aleph.
When Groupama Team France sought to form a group of sailors, I was called in to do some trials in Bermuda in November 2015…
Your first memory of ‘Sailing’?
The first time I sailed an Optimist, I was petrified. I remember having a stomach ache before I went.
Your sailing highlight?
It’s the moments of tension, intensity, that you only feel at important races, like the World Match Racing Championship or the Cup for example.
The worst moment?
The quarter finals in Malaysia against Ben Ainslie (yes, him again). We fluffed it. We had all it took to nail our performance but we failed.
What does the America’s Cup mean to you?
I’ve been told about it since my childhood, though I only really discovered the cup at the age of 18 on the television. I also went to see the team preparing in Lorient with sailors like Bertrand Pacé.
Do you recall a special moment in an America’s Cup? If so, can you tell us about it?
Auckland, the crowd, the sailing paradise, beautiful boats, a fine race zone and France winning its matches.
Housework, cooking, gardening, what do you do at home?
The cooking is something I do and really enjoy. For the housework, let’s say I’m required to do it and we share the task of gardening.
What can we find in your fridge?
Fish and vegetables, often from my grandparents’ house. I have some apple tree branches in there too to make grafts. I don’t eat red meat.
Your morning ritual?
I take care of my daughters. I’m more tea in the morning personally.
Your favourite meal?
A plate of seafood. I really love fishing, either underwater or fly fishing in a river. They are moments of calm.
On a Sunday when you’re not working, what do you do?
I go jogging and spend time with family.
You have to choose three people to have supper with, who are they?
Einstein as it must be thrilling to have a discussion with this guy, Georges Brassens (French singer-songwriter and poet) and a member of my family or a friend.
The last film or/and book, which had an impact on you?
Le Grand Bleu. I don’t read many novels, I’m more into manuals: gardening… My passions are evolving but when I’m passionate about a domain, I read everything I can find on the subject.
What TV programme or TV series would you like to be part of?
I no longer have a TV! For a series, I’d say The Big Bang Theory.
The sport you enjoy?
In team format, handball. I’ve done a lot of it, especially when I was a student at the Centrale Nantes.
The sport you could never have practiced?
Football. I have two left feet and I don't like the spirit that reigns on the pitch. I don't fell that I share the same values.
Who’s your best mate in sailing?
Which sailor would you have liked to sail with and why?
Christopher Columbus, but I’m not sure I’d have had the courage to set sail without knowing where I was going.
Are you always right?
No, but I tend to think I am.
What were you like as a child?
Shy, and I still am. I was a good kid too, there were 4 of us at home.
The nickname that best suits you?
Nounours (teddy bear)! It comes from my handball days.
Your favourite subject at school?
Physics and biology
The subject you least liked?
Philosophy, but I was a good student. I was 2nd in my class J
Your ideal redeployment?
A job as an engineer. I’m passionate about technology.
Your dream retirement is where?
Partially nomadic, but with a fixed base in the Finistère.
During which period would you have liked to live?
The fisherman in me would say a period when there were more fish, but we’re in a good position where we are now.
Your last moment of madness?
Buying a plot of land and a house to do up
The worst mistake in the clothing department in your view?
I wouldn’t allow myself to dish out lessons in that regard… J
Who do you dream of meeting?
Politicians, people who have influence so as to have discussions with them. I like debate.
You never leave without…
Commitment and determination.