Many of the sponsored boats in the Vendee globe are names familiar to anyone who is interested in sailing, especially at this level-But what about the new comers? I spent a little time trying to find out.
Jeremie Beyou and Maitre CoQ
Jeremie Beyou is sailing under the colors of French food retailer Maitre CoQ which is a division of a larger food business called LDC. They, LDC, are, listed on the Paris Bourse and as best as I can tell did something like 640 million Euros last year. LDC operates all over France in several sectors-Prepared food-Frozen food-Chicken, Turkey Rabbit, Pork, Pizza, Pre-made sandwiches. LDC is active in Spain and now Poland also.
On the actual Maitre CoQ website, as opposed to the LDC site, there is a definite promotion of the entry in the Vendee Globe with a link to a dedicated Matire CoQ/Vendee Globe page. This link is a mini VG site in itself, with daily updates, videos, comments from Jeremie at sea and so on. All this is on the left side of the site: and on the right….? Yup, ads of products sold by Maitre CoQ. The ads are smallish, say 2” x 2” and in a slide show on about an 8 second cycle. There is also have a radio controlled model yacht in the livery of the IMOCA 60 that you can either buy or enter some contest to win (My French fails here). You can sign up for regular updates-Thus having potential email ad prospects coming to you and not the other way around…. There is a section with their partners, LDC, (the parent company) Musto, a TV station, A radio station, a sports website-Think ESPN on line except that there is a sailing page, an on line “newspaper” and a computer company called Intempora whose mission seems to be doing taking information on active “things” cars, boats people and seeing how the actions can be made to be more effective.
I find it interesting that if LDC/Maitre CoQ spends say (a number I have heard floating in the ether…) 20 million Euros on a 4 year program-5 mil Euros a year-as part of a 650 Million Euro conglomerate they must think there is a viable return on the 20 mil. Admittedly they brought a second hand boat, but it was Foncia, organized and sailed by Micheal Desjoyeaux, one of the masters in the solo ocean racing game, and the fact that they have entered sailing sponsorship at a pretty high level, financially, technically and complexity as their first outing and in this economic climate must make one wonder what they know that US companies do not.
Next up, Arnaud Boissieres aboard Akena Verandas