Basile Bourgnon was given special dispensation to become the Transat Jacques Vabre's youngest competitor
For Emmanuel Le Roch, the choice of Basile Bourgnon as co-skipper was an easy one. "I knew Laurent well and I'm still very close to his family. After talking to my partner Edenred, I initially put the question to Caroline, Basile's mother, who was very moved. As for Basile, he said yes right away!" explains the Edenred skipper.
Basile will still only be 17 at the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre on October 27, 2019. But thanks to a special dispensation, he was officially named co-skipper of the Edenred Class40, having taken part in the second stage of the Défi Atlantique with Emmanuel Le Roch – a 1,300-mile race between Horta in the Azores and La Rochelle. He thus becomes the youngest participant in the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre.
"The beginning of a wonderful adventure thanks to Edenred"
Aged just 17, but with an uncanny maturity, Basile Bourgnon is passionate about speed. Having grown up on the family catamaran in New Zealand, he is naturally drawn to the multihull. In 2018, he put together and sailed a Diam 24 in the Tour de France à la Voile. And his desire for the open sea has grown stronger and stronger. When Emmanuel asked him to take part in the Transat Jacques Vabre, he thought it was a joke: "I'm 16, I'm just leaving school, and I get a call from Manu. I don't believe it! I don't believe it, because it's a dream. A plan that was taking shape in my head, but which I didn't think was within reach just yet. I was just starting to focus on a Mini 6.50 project,", says Basile. "Taking part in the Transat Jacques Vabre on the Class40 Edenred is the beginning of a great adventure for me. Edenred and Emmanuel have offered me an incredible experience. The Class40 is a very interesting build, and in general, whatever shape you want to progress on, you have to be versatile. I've always loved sailing on different types of boats."
Wisdom and enthusiasm come together aboard the Edenred Class40
Knowing smiles, shared desire, mutual respect: despite the 28 years between them, just a few minutes spent in the company of these two sailors is enough to see the strong bond they enjoy. "On a human level, I knew that it would work between us. Basile is cheerful, enthusiastic, and always positive. In sporting terms, he really impressed me during the Défi Atlantique! He's got great skills at the helm and he's a fine, highly independent racer. I never needed to go behind him to trim the sails. Competitiveness is in his blood and he never gives up – I think it runs in the family. I am proud of my partner Edenred, who made a really brave decision in supporting Basile at my side, and demonstrating once again how trust is a key value,” said Emmanuel le Roch, after spending five days racing with Basile.
The "True Dream" adventure continues with Edenred
While waiting for the next big event, Basile will be focused on getting his bachelor degree in June. After that, both sailors have set themselves an intensive training program, including a mandatory qualifying course of about 1,000 nautical miles. They want to arrive at the start line for the Transat Jacques Vabre in the best possible shape. This is Basile's first major ocean race, but it will also be Emmanuel Le Roch's first Transat Jacques Vabre. It's a beautiful story to write, and the next step in Edenred’s "True Dream" adventure.
13th edition of the TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE
- Departure: Sunday, October 27, 2019
- Route: Le Havre - Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) / 4,350 miles
- Classes admitted: Class40, IMOCA 60 and Multi-50
- Two-handed race
Images available at edenred.com.