Do you remember the plot of “In Solitaire,” the blockbuster Vendée-Globe film released in Italy last November? In Christophe Offenstein’s film, aging yachtsman Yann Kermadec (played by François Cluzet) sees his dream of setting off on a solo round-the-world voyage come true when he is unexpectedly called upon to replace his partner’s brother and close friend Franck Drevil (Guillaume Canet), who is injured shortly before departure.
FROM FILM TO REALITY
Now let’s change the regatta, and keep the plot unchanged. Just days before the start of the Route du Rhum (the queen of transatlantic regattas that brings together the best ocean sailors every four years for a race from Saint – Malo (France) to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe), the great 37-year-old sailor Armel Le Cleac’h, skipper of the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire VII, seriously injures a hand and has to be replaced. In his place comes older friend Loïck Peyron, 55 in December. Only it is not a movie, but reality.
THE MORE THAN WORTHY SUBSTITUTE
Peyron was supposed to take part in the Route du Rhum aboard the twin trimaran Olympus with which Mike Birch won the 1978 edition of the race, but for a racing “foxy” like him, the chance to gamble for victory on a maxi trimaran is probably far more enticing than some sort of “historical re-enactment”. Then again, in 2012 aboard Banque Populaire V he won the Jules Verne Trophy (awarded to the person who circumnavigates the world fastest under sail, regardless of the type of sailboat employed-Peyron took 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds).
THE MISFORTUNE OF LE CLEAC’H
Poor Le Cleac’h (IMOCA world champion in 2008, two-time triumphant at the Solitaire du Figaro and two silvers at the Vendée), who will be following Peyron’s preparation for the race, scheduled to start on November 2, can rest assured: he will be replaced worthily. Surely he must be eating his hands (indeed, the only healthy hand, if you’ll get past the irony), especially considering that the film “In Solitaire,” for which he worked as a consultant teaching the art of sailing to Cluzet, brought him bad luck!