FALMOUTH sailor, Sam Goodchild has won a place at the notoriously tough, Pole Finistere training centre in Brittany, France.
He's just started at the prestigious centre, considered by many to be the top offshore sailing facility in the world.
The 23-year-old will be spending the year training alongside some of his greatest rivals ahead of his next season in the Figaro, a 33ft boat that he races single-handed. He's one of only two British sailors to be training there in that class of boat.
Goodchild said: "The great thing about joining Pole Finistere is we get to train with many of the greats in Figaro sailing. It has been the number one centre of excellence in offshore sailing and specifically Figaros for over 15 years. It is a bit like jumping it at the deep end with a lot of highly experienced guys and speaking a different language, but I look forward to the challenge."
The intense training combines classroom lectures in French on weather, navigation and sport psychology, with gym sessions and racing on the water. Goodchild is also working hard to find sponsorship to ensure he can be as competitive as possible come the racing season and the month-long, Solitaire du Figaro in June.
He said: "I am using the Figaro campaign as a way of introducing partners and title sponsors to my campaign with the ambitions to grow these relationships and work towards the Vendee Globe in 2016."
The centre is also where many of this year's Vendee Globe skippers train, including Francois Gabart, the 29-year-old Frenchman who won the race on Sunday. To race single-handed around the world is Goodchild's long-term ambition. For more information: Sam Goodchild Racing http://www.samgoodchild.com