At the end of the Second World War, Charles de Gaulle launched the Monnet plan for the reconstruction of France at the beginning of 1946, creating the Modernization Commissions for various industries (mining, electricity, transport, construction materials, steel, agricultural machinery, petroleum , chemicals, fertilizers, ships and synthetic fibers); a planning economy that would link with the concept of the modern European welfare state.
Many cities were devastated along the French coast in the English Channel, the Normandy region (Cherbourg, Caen, Le Havre, Saint-Malo) and Brittany (Brest, Concarneau, Saint Nazaire, Lorient, etc.); and even Le Sables d'Olonne. Ports that are now nautical references for regattas such as La Solitaire du Figaro, the transoceanic Transat Jaques Vabre, Route du Rhum or the Vendée Globe.
A country that has one of the most important nautical sports industries in the world, such as the Beneteau group, which currently has twelve brands with 15 production centers (9 in France, 1 in Italy, 2 in Poland, 1 in the United States and 2 in Portugal) being in Europe where it generates 50% of its turnover; and is also present in the mobile home market, it is the leading French manufacturer.
Amidst hardship, the French rebuilt their cities, ports, and industry; little by little they came to the fore economically and the nautical sports industry, leisure by the sea, sailing towards the Gallic overseas lands in the Caribbean, Pacific and Southeast Asia; It permeated Gallic society, adventure, freedom, the search for new dreams like those pursued by Bernard Moitessier, who was inspired by the Canadian sailor Joshua Slocum.
Moitessier would sign up for the Golden Globe Challenge regatta (The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race) along with eight other sailors, which had as its starting point further north of the 40th parallel North between June 1 and October 31, 1968. There was seven retirements, between Moitessier himself (he was in a position that would allow him to win it, but decided to go to Tahiti), one disappeared and a single winner who would be Robin Knox-Johnston with the Suhaili sailboat after 313 solo round-the-world days. A regatta that would inspire Philippe Jeantot to create the Vendée Globe in 1989.
The sailor “Eric Tabarly” gave the final accolade to the current dominance of a generation of sailors in ocean racing, and in some way to the entire industry in the construction of the best and fastest sailboats on all seas.
Tabarly, a member of the French Navy in which he was a naval aeronautical pilot up to the rank of captain, discovered sailing at the age of three aboard the family sailboat Annie. He got his start in regattas taking part in the English competitions in 1960, 1961 and 1962 with the Pend Duick. In 1964 he participated in the Ostar with the «Pen Duick II», a 13.60 meter long ketch, winning the regatta ahead of Sir Francis Chichester; feat that he rediscovered ocean regattas in France being appointed Knight of the Legion of Honor by Charles de Gaulle. Later he would win countless regattas such as the Fastnet, the Sydney-Hobart, in 1997 he won the Transat Jacques-Vabre with Yves Parlier in the monohull «Aquitaine Innovations».
His concerns led him to design sailboats that were faster, that flew, such as the Paul Ricard trimaran launched in 1979 with which he would beat the legendary Charlie Barr record between New York and Cape Lizard in 10 days, 5 hours and 14 minutes; pulverizing the record of the American schooner Atlantic in 47 hours less.
All the feats of Tabarly would mark several generations of French sailors in transoceanic regatta or round the world, many of them became members of their crews. What is known as the “French school” was born: Alain Colas, Olivier de Kersauson, Gérard Petipas, Éric Loizeau, Marc Pajot, Daniel Gilard, Titouan Lamazou, Philippe Poupon, Yves Parlier, Michel Desjoyeaux, Jean Le Cam.
The Gallic push has displaced sailors, fleets of sailboats, shipyards, naval architecture, from other countries in everything related to transoceanic regattas, around the world or records. There is nothing like attending the start of regattas such as the Route du Rhum or the Vendée Globe with thousands of fans crowding the piers of the docks to get an autograph from their favorite skipper. Even Fastnet itself has succumbed to French glamour, now ending in the port of Cherbourg rather than the British port of Plymouth.
The spectacular multihulls, a much smaller fleet framed in the Ultim 32/23 Class with only four ("Maxi Edmond de Rothschild", "Actual Ultim'3", "Banque Populaire XI" and "Sodebo Ultim 3") and the Ocean Fifty with eight trimarans.
Some fleets that feed the great transoceanic or round-the-world regattas that for a few years have given rise to the creation of a new regatta model with start and finish in the same port of departure.
“Les 1000 milles des Sables”, held the last edition last April in which a large number of Class 40 and the Ocean Fifty fleet competed; with a tour in the waters of the Bay of Biscay that reached the vertical of Cape Finisterre in Galicia. The victory went to Corentin Douguet's QUEGUINER-INNOVEO ahead of the fifteen monohulls that finished; while among the fifty foot trimarans it would be the British Sam Goodchil who did not have a difficult time against a tremendously reduced fleet with three abandonment of the five that left the port of Les Sables d'Olonne.
“Vendée Arctique”, reserved for the IMOCAs, which has its nerve center in the port of Les Sables d'Olonne with a 3,500-mile route in the North Atlantic around Iceland -qualifying regatta to participate in the Vendée Globe- in which some twenty-five skippers, many of whom have already competed in the latest edition of the round-the-world sailing without stopovers or external help (Jérémie Beyou, Charlie Dalin, Isabelle Joschike, Thomas Ruyant or Damien Seguin). The release of its second edition is scheduled for June 12.
Last May of this year, the third edition of the "Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race" was held from Brest, also solo on a 1,200-mile route with the OPEN 60. 24 sailboats competed and the winner was Charlie Dalin with « Apivia”.
"I feel happy, happy to have won this race. From the beginning, it went well for me. I managed to get into the lead right away. I attacked hard and pulled the boat to go as fast as possible. Then there was the climb between Gallimard's virtual mark and the tip of Brittany, with the crest of a high pressure which helped me a lot as it closed the door behind me. It was as if all the elements were there. I felt in a state of grace throughout the regatta. The year was not could have started better"; said the skipper of “Apivia”, who shared the podium with Jérémie Beyou (Charal) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée), 2nd and 3rd respectively in the race.
The “Brest Atlantiques” was the great regatta for maxi multihulls in the Atlantic Ocean. Four Ultim 32/23 sailed from the port of Brest on November 5, 2019, heading for the Brazilian and South African coasts, crossing the equator twice. 32 days and 01:29:22 hours was invested by the winner «Gitana XVII» manned by Franck Cammas and Charles Cuadrelier who were accompanied by a crew member who only performed the functions of reporter on board, recording images and audio, editing and transmitting via satellite to the regatta center. A crew format that generated a high interest in social networks, web pages, television and radio programs due to the freshness that emanated from aboard these flying trimarans.
The “ArMen Race” was where the Ultim 32/23 debuted this 2022 season along with other monohull fleets; regatta organized by the Societé Nautique de la Trinité-sur-Mer that ran close to the French Atlantic coast to the island of Yeu. Yves Le Blévec from aboard the «Actual Ultim´3», where he had an excellent crew including Yann Eliès and Paul Meilhat, knew how to keep up the pressure of the other Ultim 32/23 «Sodebo Ultim 3» by Thomas Coville and "IDEC Sports" by Francis Joyon.
In the month of July the "Finistère Atlantique" will be held in which the four competitors will compete alone: Armel Le Cléac'h with the «Banque Populaire XI», Charles Cuadrelier in the «Gitana XVII», Yves Le Blévec on board of «Actual Ultim´3» and Thomas Coville at the wheel of «Sodebo Ultim 3». It will be the first major regatta for the Ultim 32/23 Class this season prior to the Route du Rhum. The fleet will depart from the port of Concarneau on July 1 to go to the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, leaving the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands to starboard, from where they will begin an ascent towards the islands of Faial and Pico in the Azores and then set course to the port of departure.
This regatta format allows teams and organizers a significant reduction in expenses, there are no trips to other continents; as well as producing a double effect called among the fans who go to the ports to witness the departures, arrivals and award ceremonies. Everything is concentrated in the same point: sailors, public, journalists, sponsors, etc., a lot of media coverage.
What happens in France is exceptional worldwide, and neighboring countries with France are far from reaching them, especially because of the mediocre vision of politicians.