DUBAI // Matti Paschen is hoping local knowledge will help him and his colleagues on the French-German yacht All4One to enjoy a successful fortnight when the Louis Vuitton Trophy takes place in Dubai.
Paschen, 38, is a sail-trimmer on the boat which will be skippered by his fellow German Jochen Schumann in the regatta which starts on Sunday. He is also a member of the Sea Dubai team who take part in the RC44 series and are based at Dubai International Marine Club.
"I am very familiar with the conditions we are likely to encounter here," said Paschen, who admitted to being surprised to see a sandstorm whip up the Marina beach to curtail Monday's first training session.
Paschen was speaking after an encouraging opening session in opposition to the powerful Emirates Team New Zealand crew and he reported that his own team were encouraged by the closeness of the series of practice races.
"For us to have Team NZ as a training partner was the best way for us to get up to speed," he said. "We had a few good races against a very strong opposing crew so that was good practice for us."
Sebastian Col, the Frenchman who was at the helm of All4One for the extensive workout, adopted a more cautious approach, however.
"This was only training so we don't know how relevant it will prove to be," he said after the series of close battles. "We would be happy to have lost every match today if we can beat them in the actual racing.
"Nevertheless, the opportunity to train against New Zealand was invaluable for us. We tried to get the maximum out of the day and learn a lot from the session, and I believe we have done that."
The All4One team flew a German flag from the stern of their yacht, one of two provided by Team NZ to accompany the two BMW Oracle boats that were also on the water that afternoon.
"Next time it might be a French flag," said Col. "We are looking for sponsors as we prepare for the next America's Cup campaign so it is probably sensible for us to alternate."
While the All4One team of 17 is predominantly Franco-German, the need for specialist sailors in key roles has made them more cosmopolitan. Their tactician is John Cutler, the experienced New Zealander. They will also have Italian, Dutch and Swiss sailors on board.