“When I was a kid, I didn’t want to be a superhero, I just dreamed of becoming a sailor...”
Emmanuel Le Roch grew up in Lorient, in the French department of Morbihan. Since childhood, his dreams have been dominated by the sea, adventure and the open water. As a teenager and member of the Carnac Yacht Club, Emmanuel sailed a racing catamaran and was crowned Champion of France in 1991 and 1993. Then he moved up to the Tornado class on the Olympic racing circuit in France and North America, but did not join the French team. “My parents were very strict: I had to finish school and find a job first,” recalls Emmanuel.
Bourgnon, Maurel, Gautier: living and sharing the dreams of friends, a source of inspiration
Fascinated by multihulls, the young sailor pursued his passion and befriended the Bourgnon brothers, Laurent and Yves, as well as Jean Maurel and Alain Gautier. “Laurent and I were inseparable. Not only was he afraid of nothing, he was good at everything! Sharing his two wins on the Route du Rhum helped demystify the race for me a bit. He was above all a friend; I didn’t see him as different. He was inspiring: he was the one who made me want to pursue my dream,” says the Edenred skipper. The Primagaz, Foncia, Bayer and Rexona : Emmanuel crewed on some of the greatest race boats!
The entrepreneur from Brittany has always dreamed of taking part in the Route du Rhum. "There comes a time when you have to go for it. I’m 46 years old, and I don’t want to regret missing my chance. I talked it over with Alain Gautier, who encouraged me to enter the Class40. Since then, I have never looked back. I bought a boat in 2017, then Edenred became my partner in 2018. In just a few months, we have already shared a great human adventure."
Almost 5,000 nautical miles under his belt
While Emmanuel Le Roch may be one of the amateurs setting off for Guadeloupe in the eleventh Route du Rhum, he also runs a 10-man business based in Carnac and La Trinité-sur-Mer. The skipper of the Class40 Edenred has been preparing for the Route du Rhum for a long time already. "Sometimes, I only have time to sail for a few hours between two appointments, or at the weekend with my family. But by sailing on a regular basis, I have already completed the equivalent of one and a half transatlantic crossings!"
He stepped up his training program last summer and the hard work has already paid off. After spending three days and nights sailing in the Bay of Biscay, on Wednesday, the skipper was calmly on the home straight to Saint-Malo. "This last trip was important, since it was an opportunity to check the settings of the new sails and the solar panels, the hydro-generator and the motor that I will use for energy during the transat race. I had a chance to sail in strong beam wind or upwind, with every poor visibility at night and some heavy sea traffic. It was a foretaste of what I can expect once the race gets underway. I also learned how to manage my sleep, and I feel quite fresh. I think that I’m ready to set off on the Route du Rhum!" enthuses the skipper. "I now feel really impatient to get started."
The Class40 Edenred and its skipper will leave La Trinité-sur-Mer between October 20 and 22 for Saint-Malo, where all the boats are expected before Wednesday October 24 at 5:00 p.m.