In offshore sailing races, skippers from France appear to perform disproportionately well in comparison to sailors from other countries.
This year’s Volvo Ocean Race was won by Chinese entrant Dongfeng Race Team, skippered by Charles Caudrelier of France. The current leader in the Golden Globe Race, a non-stop single-handed around the world event, is 73-year-old Frenchman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede.
Victors of the transatlantic Transat Race (formerly OSTAR) are largely French, as are those in the single-handed, non-stop global circumnavigation Vendée Globe. So too, are those in the Route du Rhum.
Before the November 4 start of the solo transatlantic 2018 Route du Rhum race, which had 123 boats commence the 3,542-nautical mile course between France and Guadeloupe, three renowned French race skippers – Loïck Peyron, François Gabart, and Sébastien Josse – all mentioned one individual as having provided a huge inspiration for today’s French offshore sailors: Éric Tabarly.