On 31 May, yachtswoman Karine FAUCONNIER (FRA), skipper of the trimaran Sergio Tacchini, will be lining up on the start one of the most difficult transatlantic yacht races, being run under the name The Transat.
Karine is competing 20 years after her father Yvon FAUCONNIER won the race on his trimaran Umupro Jardin V, on 18 June 1984. A rather special win it was too as Yvon changed course for several hours to rescue Philippe JEANTOT whose boat had capsized.
Sailing in the wake of where her father raced his way into international yacht racing history represents a major challenge for Karine. In a few weeks, the only female skipper of a 60 foot trimaran, currently lying third in the world rankings of the discipline, may well add a further win to the Fauconnier family track record.
Under the new name of The Transat, this single-handed passage is run from Plymouth to Boston. Since 1960, this race has been considered as the most trying of all transatlantic yacht races, taking the boats through the cold and ice of the North Atlantic. Along with Yvon FAUCONNIER (1984), other well-known yachtsmen feature in the race's history - Sir Francis CHICHESTER (1960), Eric TABARLY (1964 and 1976), Geoffrey WILLIAMS (1968), Alain Colas (1972), Philip WELD (1980), Philippe POUPON (1988), Loïck PEYRON (1992 and 1996), Francis JOYON (2000),...
Karine was just 12 years old when she welcomed her father as he crossed the finishing line to win the race in Newport (finish from 1964 to 2000). Familiar with the world of great ocean races as far back as she can remember, Karine recalls her father's win in 1984. we're not the sort of family which gets over-excited with joy about things, but I can remember having felt extremely proud to be his daughter.
Yvon belongs to the generation of ocean-racing pioneers from the 1980's and this race remains the highlight of his racing career.
Yvon's win remained in people's minds for a long time. Yvon rescued Philippe JEANTOT, whose catamaran Crédit Agricole II had capsized. Jeantot used the radio on Umupro Jardin V to organise his boat's recovery. Yvon spent 16 hours assisting his fellow competitor. In the home stretch of his race, he sailed very fast indeed thanks to an excellent southerly option, crossing the line just 11 hours after the first boat in to Newport, namely Philippe POUPON. When the 16 hours were deducted from his race time, Yvon was declared winner.
As the daughter of a yachtsman, Karine was lucky enough to spend the first years of her life on board the famous Vendredi 13. The three-masted schooner took part in several transatlantic races and was chartered in the Caribbean where she became the meeting point for a whole generation of sailors. Karine grew up hearing tales of maritime adventures undertaken by her the famous sailors who surrounded her - Philippe POUPON, Titouan Lamazou, Florence ARTHAUD.
At the age of 24, she decided to set out in offshore racing. Since starting out, she has made her mark on the Figaro circuit, winning the Lorient-St Barth in 2000 with Lionel LEMONCHOIS. Afterwards, in just two seasons on board her trimaran Sergio Tacchini, she took 3rd in last November's Transat Jacques Vabre 2003. Karine currently ranks 3 in the world in this discipline.
20 years have gone by since Karine's father arrived in Newport, and now she is getting ready to take part in what promises to be one of the most memorable races of her career. We wish her all the best in this very special race.