Meet Itzel Marie Diaz, a journalist from Savoie with a passion for sailing!

Itzel Marie Diaz

Can you introduce yourself in a few words? 

My name is Itzel, I'm 30, and I'm a journalist.

Although I grew up in the mountains, I now live by the sea. 

Can you tell us a bit about your background? 

After attending the Lycée Vaugelas in Chambéry, I left to study in Paris. 

I became a journalist, focusing on social, environmental and human rights issues. 

Because of my job, I have to do reports abroad and sometimes even in sensitive areas. 

How did you develop your passion for sailing? 

I'd already done a bit of sailing on Lac du Bourget, but very little. 

But during my studies, I crossed the Atlantic with a crew. The trip changed my life because I discovered life at sea. 

After that, I started racing, going to Brittany every weekend for training sessions. And then the desire to sail more regularly made itself felt. 

So I moved to Lorient last year. 

You'll be taking part in the Mini Transat in September 2025. Why did you choose this race, and how are you preparing? 

The Mini Transat is a race open to enlightened amateurs. We race single-handed, and we have to manage everything on board as well as ashore and really push ourselves. That's the kind of challenge I like to take on.

I joined a training centre to make sure I trained properly. We train on the water with a coach, but we also take part in a whole range of training courses: weather, electronics, DIY, tactics... 

What is your programme for this year? Any races planned? 

2024 is crucial because I'm going to have to qualify for the right to be at the start of the Mini Transat in September 2025. So, I have several races planned, the first being in April and the last in November. There is also a non-stop qualifying passage to complete: 1,000 nautical miles solo to Ireland. 

What made you want to collaborate with us, and how did the partnership come about? 

I'm originally from Savoie, and I couldn't imagine embarking on this project without involving companies from my region. What's more, these are companies with whom we share common values: a love of the great outdoors and respect for the environment.

I'm extremely proud to have a brand like Opinel on my sails! 

Do you have any memories of Opinel? 

Of course, I remember my first Opinel when I was 16. It's a bit like a rite of passage to independence.

You can get your boat licence at 16, which I did, on Lac du Bourget! 

What is your favourite Opinel knife for day-to-day use? 

I always have a N°08 knife in my pocket, sometimes several! They're all over the place: in my rucksack, in the car... 

It's a basic, practical and indispensable knife! 

I also take it with me when I'm reporting. 

And the one on the boat? 

The N°08 outdoor knife, of course! It's always in the pocket of my oilskin; I use it all the time. 

Can you describe Opinel in 3 words? 

Nature, Learning, Tradition!