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© JM Liot / Maître CoQ

Yannick Bestaven, patron of the 23rd Mini Transat

The latest winner of the Vendée Globe, Yannick Bestaven, will be the patron of the 23rd edition of the Mini Transat. This commitment, far from being superficial, is part of a natural process and has an important meaning for the sailor from La Rochelle as he himself won the Mini Transat back in 2001 in the prototype category. That first win in his career still holds, to this day, a special place in the sailor’s heart. He who has since then established himself as one of France’s most successful sailors.

© JM Liot / Maître CoQ

The start of the 23rd Mini Transat will be given on September 26th in the bay of Les Sables d’Olonne. That liberating starting gun for the 84 Mini-sailors, who will set off for the first leg of the race, will be given by Yannick Bestaven, the winner of the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe on board Maître CoQ IV. “It is a great pleasure. The Mini Transat is by essence the school of offshore sailing. My first participation back in 1999 was also my first transatlantic crossing. It was an incredible adventure and I discovered so many things. Plus, a storm swept across the fleet in the Bay of Biscay, and I remember that there were only eleven boats who finished the first leg without making a pitstop! It was a pretty memorable experience, but more than anything it was the confirmation that I truly wanted to do offshore sailing” explains the sailor who would come back in the very next edition in 2001, on board a prototype he built himself. A boat with whom he would finish first overall after winning both legs.

“An amazing event”

That first place-finish launched my career. Obviously, my win in the last Vendée Globe was magical, but before that it was winning the Mini Transat which was my most cherished success. Especially because the level of the fleet was so high, with Sam Davies, Alex Thomson, Corentin Douguet, and many other sailors that you see now sailing at the highest level. The Mini Transat in an amazing race, a very unique race. On the one hand because on a 6.50-meter-long boat you really are sailing barely above the water line, and on the other because the means of communication we have on board are very minimalist. It’s an event that has a special place in my heart because it’s the one that gave me the will to make a career in offshore sailing. It was my first major challenge in that field, and I have loads of memories about it which will forever stay etched in my mind” concludes Yannick Bestaven. He is convinced that the 84 sailors of this 2021 edition will also get to live a powerful experience, one packed with mixed emotions that they will remember forever.

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