Why the French dominate in offshore regattas

The two main reasons why the French are becoming great sailors long voyage

In offshore sailing races, when boats may not see land for many days, the skippers from France, are incomparably better than sailors from other countries. This year’s Volvo Ocean Race was won by the Chinese team Dongfeng Race Team under the leadership of Frenchman Charles Cadrele (Charles Caudrelier). In non-stop circumnavigation of lone Golden Globe Race leader 73-year-old Frenchman Jean Luc van den Heede (Jean-Luc van den Heede). Many winners of the transatlantic Transat (former OSTAR) and Route du Rhum — French. A lot of them among the winners non-stop around the world Vendée Globe single. What is the secret of this success?

Before the start of the current race Route du Rhum between St-Malo (Brittany, France) and Guadeloupe (southern Caribbean sea) during communication with the press three famous French skipper Loic Peyron (Loïck Peyron), françois Gabaret (François Gabart) and Sebastian Josse (Sébastien Josse) not saying a word told one thing: a huge inspiration contemporary French offshore sailors draw in the history of Eric Tabarli (Éric Tabarly).

Loïc Peyron — winner of the last Route du Rhum in 2014, this year again is participating in the regatta, but at a slower boat named Happy. Without the help of sponsors he is promoting a charity Fund Action Enfance, which helps French children left without parental care. Standing on Board his trimaran, he said:

“For 30 years, the majority of the global race singles and transatlantic regattas win the French. Some little things change everything. As in the case of black-and-white coverage of the public channels that are broadcast, as Tabarli shakes hands with General de Gaulle under a sight of television cameras in 1964. could have started then. Soon followed by inspiration, media attention first, and then sponsors and boaters”.

35-year-old françois Gabaret, the winner non-stop round the world regatta single Vendée Globe in 2012-2013, also mentioned Tabarli during a press conference aboard his 30-foot trimaran Macif.

“It’s hard to explain why offshore racing singles very popular in France. Thousands of people come to look at the start of the Route du Rhum. Millions will watch the race. I think one of the reasons is Eric Tabarli, one of our greatest sailors, who won the famous English transatlantic race Transat (OSTAR) in the 60’s. He was very popular, close to the French, who were interested in this type of adventurous solitary journeys. It’s part of our culture.”

Standing on Board his Maxi trimaran Gitana Edmond De Rothschild, skipper Sebastian Josse agreed with this idea.

“People dream to sail, because we have the example of history Eric Tabarli”.

The history of Eric Tabarli is the story of a modest but creative person that follows their dreams. He helped to push the boundaries of what is possible in offshore racing singles.

Tabarli won the transatlantic race singles Observer Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race (OSTAR) between Plymouth (England) and Newport (USA) in 1964. He finished two days earlier than his closest rival, sir Francis Chichester (Francis Chichester) and 13 days earlier than the previous winner of this race, who completed the route in 40 days. Prior to that, the Tabarli few knew. But after the victory he became a knight of the Legion of honor, which was bestowed personally by the French President Charles de Gaulle.

After the ceremony, the President invited Tabarli for lunch at his residence in the Elysee Palace, he said with regret that he really need the time to clean the hull until the tide comes in. Such modesty only increased the sympathy that fed to him by the French.

Naval officer, pilot and Navigator, Tabarli talked little but did much. He has won many competitions, including a race between Sydney (Australia) and Hobart (Tasmania) in 1967, the Falmouth (South England) and Gibraltar in 1971 and Los Angelesm (USA) and Tahiti (French Polynesia) in 1972. He again won the OSTAR in 1976. In 1980 he set a record for yachts, hydrofoils, when I crossed the Atlantic in just 10 days. He has also published books on sailing and yachts, and through them has inspired many other, inspiring in them confidence in their own principle that “men need passion to really exist.” He was a quiet dreamer who built a trimaran (Pen Duick IV) in the 1960s to reach the maximum racing speed. Calm, modest and skillful, he sharpened the sense of national, Gordost, harnessing the wild and mighty ocean element.

His courage, modesty, writing, media attractiveness, courteous demeanor and even his appearance has captivated and inspired generations of French sailors. Unfortunately, during a night crossing from Wales in 1998 Tabarli pushed overboard geek and he drowned. A memorial service for him was held in the sea. During it all ships together. Was no exception and a military frigate, which officially came President Jacques Chirac (Jacques Chirac).

Tabarli inspiring and those sailors who don’t race. One example is his daughter Marie, who together with a team of about a dozen people exploring the oceans on Board Pen Duick VI, the boat ON WHICH HER FATHER a SECOND TIME WON the OSTAR.

When sailing she makes documentaries, combining art and science. She knows that the future is unpredictable, but tends to make it so that it was better than the present.

“I don’t understand why we, as a civilization, a little treading water. However, I’m pretty sure we can change. I am very optimistic”.

In addition to inspiration in Tabarli, there are other factors that continue to help the French sailors (especially from Brittany) dominate in offshore races. About them tells John Neuenhaus (John Niewenhous), one of two American participants in the current Route du Rhum, sitting inside his boat Loose Fish in Saint-Malo. In the same way as Tabarli, Nieuwenhuys was a professional pilot, most of the time he was carrying out commercial flight on a Boeing 767. After a single race Bermuda One-Two from the state of Rhode island (USA) to Saint George (Bermuda), he decided to take part in the Route du Rhum.

“This is the most wonderful being alone on the boat and go to the finish line. The coolest thing I have ever done. It is unfortunate that in Route du Rhum involved so few Americans. But in the US aren’t training as organized here in France. Here children, if they live on the coast, learn to sail directly into the classroom in a regular school. In addition, there are other programs that help them hone skills and to prepare for participation in offshore races. Therefore, among the French so many professional sailors.”

He also notes that, compared with the United States, the sea in France more violent and hard.

“The channel is terrible: strong currents and waves. When the wind blows, really stormy. Most of the time in New England will not see. Tides – 13 meters. 5-6 knots. It is unheard of for US”

Inspiration, adaptability to difficult conditions and these conditions pushed the French to the forefront of the modern offshore sailing races. This year at the start of the Route Du Rhum came out of 123 vessels. Among the six trimarans in the Ultime class three can rise above the water enough to almost fly. Being both a sailor and a pilot, Eric Tabarli understood the appeal of travel in both dimensions. In these courts, storming the Atlantic water on the way to the Caribbean, continues to live the legacy of daring experiments, conducted with trimarans Tabarli.

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