About The skipper
Where does your passion for sailing come from?
I’ve loved sailing boats since I was very young. When my family and I moved back from Morocco to live permanently in La Rochelle, I jumped at the chance to go down to the harbour to look at all the boats. My father opened a ship chandler’s business and I had the opportunity to sail with the First Sangria from Jeanneau in many races, even in Brittany. In my father’s yard, the Damien was prepared for its circumnavigation and it was while listening Jerome and Gérard talking about their dream that I caught the sailing bug…. A few years later, I had the chance to sail the first Whitbread Round the World Race with Eric Tabarly on Pen Duick VI. After that my life was focused 100% on the sailing world, working and sailing as much as possible.
What lessons have you learnt from sailing?
Respect for others and for nature. And always to be modest, trying to listen as much as possible and to be thoughtful about events and everything around me….
What brought you to like single-handed sailing?
Because of my work in the sailing sector, I had to sail with crews but since my childhood dreams, I’ve been attracted to solo sailing. I’ve sailed many races in double (because there were no solo races in the Adriatic) but I feel serene when I’m alone on board. I haven’t sailed many miles solo but I’m sure it won’t be a problem for me.
What prompted you to sign up for this event?
I tried to enter the Golden Globe Race in 2018 but some aspects of the rules didn’t seem reasonable to me. I also didn’t get the boat ready in time for a sponsor who didn’t keep his promise. So I decided to resail the Longue route of Bernard Moitessier but at home someone was not very happy about that choice, so when Yvan Dimov told me about this new race I knew that this was the one to enter if I was to realise my dream. Also the fact that the race is managed by Italians: that’s important as I well know after spending more than 40 years in Italy.
How do you plan to prepare for this event?
My boat is now “open” and after carrying out some structural work, I’ll reinstall everything. I hope to put the boat back on the water in spring 2021, then I want to sail in the Mediterranean until September and then sail across the Atlantic to check how the boat is sailing, to get to know it better and make improvements when back in Europe. Then I’ll sail, sail, sail again as much as possible until the start of the GCS.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
Being competitive enough to try to win (I’m still a competitor in my own mind even if in recent years I’ve thought about not competing any more). The two ARC and the Arc+ I’ve sailed in the past three years have shown me that I’m still attracted to competition, probably with a different point of view than before…
Tell us about your boat or the boat you would like to have.
My boat is an Endurance 35 designed by Peter Ibold and built by Stratimer in south of France in 1979 with the serial number 54. The hull is in GFRP with a plywood deck, which was completely redone by the previous owner and covered with epoxy and thin fibre glass. Over the past year, I’ve reinforced the junction hull and deck and added some reinforcement on the front part. I’m also preparing two watertight bulkheads and a crash box in the bow. I’m replacing the original Perkings 4108 engine with a smaller one to make more space in the bilge, where I’ll move the fuel tank and have more stowing space in the central part of the boat for food and other things. I’m also installing an inside wheel to sail the boat from inside for greater safety. The boat is actually rigged as Ketch but I want to test the sloop version for safety reasons (less weight on the height). The boat will be fitted with a wind vane and automatic pilot (also for safety). The idea is to sail as green as possible…
Do you intend to link this personal challenge with a social message?
I don’t know yet but if I find a link with an environmental project I’ll be interested.
Anything else you want to add?
I think that the concept of this GSC is a very good idea and I trust the organisation.
Sailing Milestones and Palmares
A lifetime of sailing… I designed and sailed a special project: the EFFRAIE, a Mini Tonner with the mainsail the size of that of a Finn, with which we won the world championship in 1976. I also sailed the first Whitbread Round The World Race; part of the first Round The World Rally; two Admiral’s Cup seasons; two SORC in Florida; many 1/4, 1/2 and 1 ton cups; more than 20 seasons of races in Italy and the Mediterranean; four or five Swan Cups in Porto Cervo; two ARC and one ARC+; three Middle Sea Races and much much more…