About The skipper



Years Old

Lives: Brest, France

Miles sailed: 20.000+

Group: TBA

Status: Full Entry

Where does your passion for sailing come from?

I grew up far from the sea in the Massif Central but I have always been very drawn to this environment. I sailed with my family on windsurfs, catamarans, on the lake or at sea for leisure. As a teenager I discovered the Glénans sailing school, I then passed all the levels until i became an instructor.

Between the ages of 25 and 30, I started to sail more and more regularly as a leisure activity, going towards cruising. When I was 30, I had a click telling me to get a professional diploma, the BPJEPS Voile specialised in coastal and offshore cruising, a new life was offered to me. I did this in the most beautiful sailing area in France, North Brittany, at Paimpol.

I fell even more in love with the sea, with these landscapes, to go through weeks of sailing one after the other. Through meetings I discovered the world of French offshore racing, I then set up a Mini Transat project on a prototype sailboat. It allowed me to continue to progress and discover new ways of sailing. I also discovered the construction and the preparation of boat thanks to these famous Mini 6.50 prototypes. It made me want to build one myself from A to Z.

Not being rich I had to sell my boat but the experience was extraordinary. I was also able to do some deliveries, prepare racing boats, participate in rescue missions. An adventure that continues to grow richer day after day. Today I want to realise a childhood dream, to race around the world alone on a boat in harmony with the sea.

What lessons have you learnt from sailing?

The sea taught me a lot of things, to dream, to never let go, to persevere, to seek harmony within me. These offshore racing projects push us to our limits at all levels, on land, on the water, we learn every day and we do not know what will happen tomorrow, we keep faith, we advance, trying to do the best.

What brought you to like single-handed sailing?

The desire to learn to play a boat like a musician plays an instrument. The desire to be offshore as close as possible to the Nature and to myself. The desire to share all this with people to live a collective adventure close to the essential. The desire to watch the sun rise and set morning and evening, to take squalls, storms and find the resources in me to make it happen.

What prompted you to sign up for this event?

This race represents for me a unique opportunity to take part in a solo round the world race. The budget is reasonable, it allows me to look for responsible companies in their investments, taking care of others and the environment, which fits with my way of being. Sharing an adventure at a reasonable budget allows it to be shared with everyone without elitism.

Who says reasonable budget, says sobriety in efficiency, we stay in technology, we do not stop technology but we recycle our resources as much as possible while following the technological train (I will set off on an old boat to which I will add the ‘modern electronics, modern seamanship, modern sails, use satellites, use renewable energies, etc.)

A great adventure is an adventure shared and shareable with and by the greatest number, sober, joyful, respectful of life, lively, invigorating, which takes care of everyone. This race perfectly embodies these values and it comes at the right time for me, so I’m happy to go for it!

How do you plan to prepare for this event?

Finding the boat on which I feel good, preparing it as well as possible (I have two years for that), racking up miles on it in various conditions. Know her as best as possible. Try not to forget anything in the preparation.

Create a great story, spend time on communication to share this unique moment in the most beautiful way.

Food will also be a very important aspect that I will try to optimise as well as possible. Food is our fuel, our bricks, our wires, our morale. I will try to make tasty menus, having the right fats, the right sugars, the right proteins etc. and varied, organic, local, while respecting the specifications of such an adventure, the weight. There is lots to think about!

Obviously leave as fit as possible by having done a physical preparation without excess but sufficient to contain the pain and keep morale high. A sound mind in a sound body!

Take to the open sea in September 2023, having ticked all the boxes to be sure to be in the best possible conditions of safety and to have maximum pleasure.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge?

I don’t know what the biggest challenge will be, there are so many details all over a project like this.

The biggest challenge is perhaps not to have forgotten anything in order to leave as serenely as possible, then it is to try to manage the unknown.

Tell us about your boat or the boat you would like to have.

My boat is called Sharp, it is the first of the Sharp 47 series designed by Guy Ribadeau-Dumas in 1982, built by the Leguen Hemidy shipyard in 1983. She raced the Transat Québec Saint Malo and the OSTAR in 1985 with the skipper Guy Bernardin. Then Christian Le Merrer left for a solo round-the-world trip with this boat.

It is an aluminum sailboat, ULDB type, Ultra Light Displacement Boat, it only weighs 3.4 tons. Armed as a cutter, 14.1m long and 2.80m wide, it sails very well upwind and its flat hull with hard chine also ensures good performance downwind. A versatile and easy-to-use boat.

I will prepare it to put modern electronics on it, redo the original standing rigging, work on the deck plan and the sail plan.

It was a real crush when I saw this boat, it was in the right place at the right time in my boat search. I found it near Paimpol where I supervised my first cruising courses, it was a real pleasure to see it floating in a place that I know well.

Do you intend to link this personal challenge with a social message?

I would like to go around the world in the colour of indigenous peoples of the world with one or more associations that work with them. To make known these people who knew how to keep ancestral knowledge of humanity, of link to nature. I did this in 2015 when I went to see the Kogis Indians from Colombia with my mini 6.50 after the Mini Transat.

The association with which I had worked on this project had done an extraordinary job of communication and we were on TV, radio etc. It was already very meaningful on a mini-transat so doing the same thing again with several indigenous peoples from each continent and bringing it to life with the public with a race of several months around the world will certainly be an unforgettable experience.

Combining Reasoned technology and ancestral knowledge, this is perhaps how we will all find a desirable, harmonious, respectful and joyful future. This is what I wish for our children.

Sailing experience

Construction of a Mini 6.50 carbon-epoxy prototype, Mini # 967
New York France North Atlantic record attempt in 2016, aborted following collision with a UFO
Travel to Colombia from Guadeloupe in mini 6.50 in 2016 then Colombia – New York
Mini-Transat 2015: 11th / 26th in prototype
Min Fastnet 2015: 8th / 28
2015 French Single-handed Offshore Championship: 9th / 42
Les Sables Les Azores 2014: 5th / 10 first stage

About The Boat

Oliver Jehl Guy Bernardin

Sail Number: TBA

Boat design: Sharp 47 (Guy Ribadeau-Dumas)

Year built: 1983

Group: TBA

LOA: 47'

Displacement: 3400kgs

Upwind sail area: TBA

Downwind sail area: TBA