by Vendee Globe 23 Aug 15:04 UTC Jérémie Beyou © Gauthier Lebec / Charal Tweet
He is the three times winner of La Solitaire who will start the Vendée Globe for the third time. Meet Jérémie Beyou, winner of the recent Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne, who, on Charal, starts the 2020 race as one of the outstanding favourites.
Born: June 26, 1976
Lives in Landivisiau, Finistere, 20kms from Brest
My studies: Bac E in Morlaix then business school in Brest
My first life: “I’ve always been a career sailor thanks to Le Figaro”
My first sailing: “Was with the family on a short cruise with the parents at the helm. We are not a complete family of sailors: it is only my father who sailed. So I was not really predisposed to fall into all this, but I liked it straight away, from my first trips in an Optimist on the bay of Morlaix.
My desire to go ocean racing: Very early on I wanted to go racing offshore. My first times at sea were cruising, on the Breton coast. To be able to navigate day and night, cross the Channel, go around the rocks… I did all of this as a kid… and it was fun! I loved the three-buoy (triangle) which introduced me to competition, but I soon had my sights on crewed offshore races with a crew. Ocean racing is another thing, and the urge for long crossings and around the world came later.
When offshore racing became your life career? “Quickly! During my studies at Sup de Co in Brest, there was a high level sports option that allowed us to do compress three years into four years, I never stopped sailing. I was doing the Europe at the French national academy in Brest while the idea of doing the Solitaire du Figaro was brewing.. In my dissertation project (“Business creation” option), I had to set up my limited company to develop my Figaro project. I took the opportunity to focus on marketing and sales. In reality, this graduation project became my life project. And the same company still runs my sailing business today.
The experience I am most proud of: “I have two wonderful children. As a youngster and since then I think I’m proud to have believed in my dreams, pursued them, and done everything to make them happen. Like others, I took part in the Crédit Agricole Challenge – a very good springboard for ocean racing – which I did not win. But I quickly learned to make things happen, I did not wait for things to drop in my lap. And it is the same at sea, sometimes there are races that go well, they are ‘easy’, but when you look at your victories, there aren’t that many like that and it rarely happens as you do as you hoped. These victories are what I feel I have createed, they are my successes. And I am convinced that anyone can do it.
My Vendee Globe
My ambitions: “One day I would like to win this race. If it’s not this time, it will be another time, but I wish it happens this year. I think I know what is needed to achieve the win You have to combine great preparation, mastery on the water… and a big bit of luck. These three elements are not easy to bring together at the same time. Even though that’s my ambition, statistically, i am not sure of winning. That is not a negative approach, because I believe in my chances, but there is lot of close competition. And a thousand things will happen during the race.
A weak point (apart from breakage) that could deprive me of success: “A bad strategy or burning out, not modulating my approach at the right time, are two pitfalls that can be expensive. You have no control over what your competitors are doing, you are can’t legislate for one of them making zero mistakes. Everyone goes fast, the boats are flying machines and there are great skippers on them. The difference will be on the course you take, the intensity you are able to maintain. In terms of intensity, this edition will really be the toughest ever.
My lethal weapon: “I want it. I am very driven. I really, really want it. If it turns out well, you’ll have to come and chase me for it.
For me success would be: “To have given everything and to finish with no regrets. It’s a boat race and there is nothing worse than ending up regretting so many things. Sometimes when you have no regrets you win. And you can do everything, finish with no regrets but there is another guy who was better, was stronger, and did a better race. You have to accept that in winning he or she was better. But in your choices, in your way of racing you must do everything to finish with no regrets.”
I want to share: “I would love to get to share the intensity of what is happening on board. These are crazy boats. Being all alone in the middle of the ocean on these machines is something special, but it’s super hard to transmit. Even the images don’t quite do it. Maybe sound does more as it is the force that makes people realize it’s hard. But when it’s all happening and it is hard it’s complicated to film and send sound. I see a limit to the sharing as near live. Often, we tell better afterwards especially since, without the images it leaves more to the imagination.
My three words to define it: “Extreme. Three times Extreme.”
My three images which sum the race up: “The victory of Alain Gautier is the outstanding memory of when I was young. I was – and still remain – a huge fan of Alain. He is class. My finish last time, the third place was deserved, I think. It did me good. And there was also the win of Vincent Riou: I was close to his project at that time: I had done the Transat Jacques Vabre with him. When he won the Vendée Globe, I said to myself: “If he’s able to do it, maybe I can too. The fact that my chum wins the Vendée Globe made me feel like I could do it.
Skippers who inspire me: “Alain, Vincent, whom I just mentioned. They have class and are discreet. They don’t blow up. These are qualities I would like to have: knowing how to not explode, not to be too on edge. Alain is calm, calm. He had mastered his Vendée Globe from start to finish. And then the image was beautiful: the boat was all white, perfect, and Alain had his red scarf on when he arrived, and he barely lifted his hand to celebrate his victory… I think that’s great.
I wouldn’t go around the world without… “a good satellite connection and autopilot, so, yes I am pragmatic.
Your main quality: “Persistence”.
Your fault: “It’s a bit the same: I have trouble letting go of things.”
If you were an animal: “An ox”.
If you were a plant: “I like seaweeds by the sea, with their roots in the sand”.
If you were a film: “Loïc Peyron’s Vendée Globe film, with everything he filmed from his first Vendée Globe. It was an ‘inside before the inside’. And Christophe Auguin’s film on his victory. This one really does give me the goosebumps.”
Your book: “L’Equipe daily newspaper is good for me.”
Your color: “Black”.
The happiness you dream of: “Winning the Vendée Globe”.
Your hero in life: “Bruno Jourdren, my first trainer (talented sailor he loses the use of an arm in a motorcycle accident at 18, went back to sailing and became a silver medalist at the Paralympics in 2008 Beijing and won the Transat AG2R 1998 with Marc Guessard) I also admire Franck Cammas for his ways of doing things and his entire career.”
Your key belief: “Give up nothing! ”
If you weren’t an ocean racer: “Now that would be tough! But I would be dpoing something in the sport or sports, I am sports mad.”