OTG hires Benjamin Dutreux

Grown up on the Île d’Yeu in the Atlantic off the French coast, a passionate sailor and materials technician in the yacht building industry (CEO at Eole Performance shipyard), a committed campaigner for marine conservation: Benjamin Dutreux is what you might call a maritime enthusiast. He now wants to take the next step in his sailing career with Offshore Team Germany, joins skipper Robert Stanjek’s crew and completes the team for The Ocean Race Europe.

The 31-year-old has been sailing since he was eleven years old, competing in his first regattas as a 13 year old boy. Initially, the focus was on multihulls and participating in championships on the 16- and 18-feet catamarans. In his student days, Benjamin Dutreux switched to the J/80s and into match racing. In 2015, he took the next step and competed in the French stage race Solitaire du Figaro and became best rookie. In 2018, he sailed to fifth place in this event. Thus, the dream of an even greater adventure is developing.

With a small budget and great commitment, Benjamin Dutreux succeeds in realising the dream of the Vendée Globe. In 2019, he buys the Bruce Farr yacht built in 2007 as the „Estrella Damm“ in Japan, makes it to the starting line and amazes the experts. With the four-generation-old yacht, which was sailed more intensively than any other yacht in the field of the past Vendée Globe and is not equipped with foils, he shakes up the top field. He sailed consistently in the top ten, at times even reaching fifth place. It was only on the final Atlantic section that the foilers were able to gain a small lead. But only one and a half days after the winner, Dutreux crossed the finish line and was celebrated in his French homeland. Sailing to ninth place as a class newcomer with an old boat makes Benjamin Dutreux the shooting star of the scene. „Dutreux was a revelation at this Vendée Globe,“ writes the Imoca class association on its website.

Only three months after the end of the Vendée Globe, Benjamin Dutreux switches from solo to team sailing. The Ocean Race Europe will be a new experience for him, and he is tackling it as navigator on board „Einstein“ for Offshore Team Germany. „I’m looking forward to sailing in a team. I’m not just a solo sailor. What attracts me is offshore sailing and mastering new challenges. And it will be just linguistically. Because it’s my first time on a boat to speak in the language of Shakespeare,“ says Dutreux.

For OTG skipper Robert Stanjek, the signing of Benjamin Dutreux is an important building block for a complete team: „Our philosophy was to complement the good training in the Olympic classes of Phillip Kasüske and me, as well as the Olympic and offshore experience of Annie Lush with Imoca-specific knowledge on the navigator position. I am happy that we have succeeded in doing this with Benjamin.“ The emergence of Benjamin Dutreux as a new French offshore hero has also made an impression on OTG: „It also makes us a little proud that we managed to fish him away before he would have been hired by other teams. He fits very well into our structure: young, well educated, humorous, and about to build a great future for himself. In the meantime, we talk on the phone almost every day. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m curious to see how the first joint training sessions will go,“ says Robert Stanjek.

For the OTG, the young, carefree Frenchman is a stroke of luck. „A great guy and great sailor. The chemistry was right from our first conversation. We are very happy to have him on board with us,“ says team manager Jens Kuphal. „He will complement our team with Robert Stanjek, Phillip Kasüske and Annie Lush perfectly. With Benjamin, we also have a French aspect in the crew in addition to our German core. This is hugely important for the project as the Imoca class is particularly strong here and we can build a base to prepare for the race in France through Benjamin in his home town of Les Sables, which is a big plus for The Ocean Race Europe with the start in Lorient, but also for the future.“

Benjamin Dutreux is keen to get involved with his new team: „I am excited to continue to grow in the team and with these great sailors. The team members are different and I think the experience of these differences makes the team stronger!“

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