Yvan Bourgnon, story of the Swiss globetrotter

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yvan-bourgnon-turn-of-the-worldA sextant to orient under the stars and a stack of nautical charts. A challenge that smacks of antiquity, that of Yvan Bourgnon (42), a Swiss skipper who set out on a round-the-world voyage aboard an uninhabitable catamaran of only 6 meters and 20. Nearly thirty thousand miles to cover in one year, with 27 stopovers. Bourgnon, an ocean sailor with a resume studded with successes (in 1995 he won the Mini Transat, the Mini Fastnet and the Transgascogne; in ’97, together with his brother Laurent, he triumphed in the Jacques Vabre; then he racked up a series of distance records, aboard trimarans and catamarans, in both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean), set off last Oct. 5 from Las Sables d’Olonne his venture is going swimmingly. He had cast off his moorings with partner Vincent Beauvarlet, but he threw in the towel once he reached Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, leaving Yvan to carry on alone.

round-the-world-bourgnonATLANTIC AND PACIFIC ON FILE
The Helvetic passed the two major “rocks” of his world tour without major problems: the Atlantic crossing from the Canary Islands to Martinique (Bourgnon took two weeks) and, once through the Panama Canal, the Pacific crossing from the Galapagos Islands to the Marquesas, a total of nearly 4,000 miles. To complete the latter, it took Yvan 19 days. The first two days were marked by almost no wind, then 15-20 knots came in and propelled the small carbon-fiber catamaran of only 450 pounds (and with two “benches” as a deck) toward the Marquesas. Only drawback a damage to the rudder: “I was afraid to drift toward Australia,” Yvan said, “but while sailing I realized I was really in my element. I have forgotten the tiredness and lack of sleep, I am happy, healthy and safe“.

bourgnon-nuku-hivaRE-EMBRACING THE GLOBETROTTING BROTHER IN POLYNESIA
Once he arrived in the Marquesas Islands, the Swiss allowed himself a break (to reminisce about his childhood, as he lived there until he was 9 years old as a child) and then left again for Raiatea, Polynesia, where he was able to re-embrace his brother Laurent, whom he had not seen for six years (By the way: Laurent had also sailed around the world in 2009, but aboard a motorized catamran, the Jambo). Now, after the Torres Strait, the Indian Ocean awaits him: through the Suez Canal he will enter the Mediterranean and then arrive in Les Sables (via Gibraltar) between September and October. ledefidyvanbourgnon.com.

BOURGNON’S CHALLENGE: VIDEO


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