Armel Le Cléac’h, Born on 11th May 1977 in Saint-Pol-de-Léon is the first skipper to have completed three consecutive Vendée Globe races on the podium (2nd in 2009, 2nd in 2013, 1st in 2017). Armel is thorough, methodical and precise, never leaving anything to chance in his preparation. His combativeness, his capacity to give nothing away and never let himself go are often mentioned, but his other assets should not be forgotten: constantly on the look-out to improve his performance, he is a clever strategist with worldwide experience. The skipper can rely on a strong crew but also on his new generation trimaran brimming with cutting-edge technology. The two times world champion has turned the page on “Imoca” to now fully devote himself to writing a new chapter on board Maxi Banque Populaire IX.
« On the night in question, we were sailing on port tack making towards Cadiz. We’d left Lorient on Tuesday night and had been on a long tack down the coast of Portugal. To get in some training, we’d hunted down a waypoint to the north-west of the Canaries. It’s a tough blow because the sea state was manageable and we’ve already sailed in much heavier, full-on conditions. Everything changed in a matter of seconds (…) I’d gone to get five minutes’ rest on the bunk. The boat very quickly began to lift up in a big gust so I didn’t have time to get out on deck. I was able to ease the mainsail but it wasn’t enough. Everything flashed by, the boat flipping over to starboard. I ended up being upside down in the water that had flooded the cabin. Pierre-Emmanuel called out to me to find out if I was there. We could hear each other between the waves and I managed to get out of there and hoist myself up into safety in the central hull with them, in the shelter. We immediately checked around that no one was injured. I very quickly triggered the distress beacon to alert the authorities.
We gathered together the safety equipment and slipped on our drysuits. I contacted Ronan Lucas (Team Banque Populaire’s director) via the mobile iridium, which was in the grab bag to tell him that we were all aboard the boat and above all that no one was hurt. Two hours later, a cargo ship arrived on site and we made contact using VHF. It was night time so we couldn’t get out of the boat straightaway. » Armel Le Cléac’h
Team Banque Populaire won’t now be able to present its new Maxi Banque Populaire IX at the race start but it still fully supports this exceptional sports event organised for the first time in the Mediterranean.
Armel Le Cléac’h will be present at the Nice UltiMed to share his project with the public and he will accompany Christian Estrosi in giving the Race start, on Wednesday 2nd May at 1:02pm, from the Rauba Capeù promontory, between the Promenade des Anglais and the Port.
MAXI BANQUE POPULAIRE IX
As a boat-owner and competitor, Banque Populaire has shone on all the world’s seas for the last 28 years by equipping ocean racing yachts such as Maxi Banque Populaire IX, a boat at the cutting edge of innovation and technology, which is capable of flying along the water’s surface, crafted for the most wonderful adventures around the planet. Banque Populaire is a major partner of the French Sailing Federation, but is also committed to boosting the image of French sailing by assisting the development of sailing clubs and schools as well as supporting the under-17 French team. This action is relayed and reinforced through the close proximity offered to sportspersons and clubs by the regional divisions of Banque Populaire. In addition to its patronage of the Eric Tabarly Association, it is recognised to be one of the main institutional supporters for development of this sport and for the preservation of French heritage. This original strategy means it can lay claim to being the bank of sailing and a heavily-involved player at all levels of sailing, from introduction to the sport via clubs, to elite competition, throughout the whole of France.