Lionel Lemonchois capsized his 80-foot maxi trimaran Prince de Bretagne off the Spanish coast during the Transat Jacques Vabre. Lemonchois, paired with Roland Jourdain, apparently got caught in a wind rump-the sailors are fine, are in the center hull, and are waiting for team rescue. Look at the photo above(and this video): we could pass it off as current, but it is actually from January last year. Yes, because on that occasion Prince de Bretagne scuffed off the coast of Brazil while Lemonchois was trying to break the record for circumnavigating the globe solo.
PRINCE DE BRETAGNE, A “LOSER” BOAT?
Two capsizes in two years is enough to ask a few questions: could it be that Prince de Bretagne, built in 2007 to VPLP’s design by the Multiplast shipyard in Vannes (23.3 m long and 18.24 wide), may have some flaws, perhaps in terms of responsiveness and stability? Or that Lemonchois “pushes too hard on the accelerator”?
A SAILOR WITH A GOLDEN RESUME
Certainly Lionel, born Feb. 2, 1960, in Bayeaux, in France’s Lower Normandy, is not one to sit idly by; his palmarès is impressive: among the achievements, just to say, triumphed twice at the legendary Route du Rhum, won the Jacque Vabre and won the Jules Verne Trophy in 2010 with Franck Cammas, the king of the oceans (and in 2005 on Orange II with Bruno Peyron). As if to say: if you want to be the best, some mishaps you have to put into account. For the record: Roland Jourdain is not on his first superscuff either: together with Jean-Pierre Dick in 2013 he had been the protagonist of a sensational capsize aboard the MOD70 Virbac Paprec.
LONERS, THE “WILE E. COYOTE”
Lemochois’s story reminds us of that of colleague/rival Thomas Coville, currently running at Jacques Vabre. Coville was one of the favorites to win last year’s Route du Rhum royalty: his dream was dashed against a semi-submerged container during the first night of the race, which devastated two of the three hulls of the 31-meter maxitrimaran Sodebo, forcing him to retire. Coville, one of the greatest (and most underrated) sailors went through an unfortunate period. In February 2014, he had to abandon his record attempt to circumnavigate the globe nonstop solo-a record (held by Francis Joyon) that he tried to break, unsuccessfully, in both 2008/09 and 2011. Bad times happen. Coville falls down and gets up again; he is a Wile E. Coyote of the seas. That, however (like Lemonchois), “Bip Bip” has captured quite a few: he has gone seven times around the world, holds the solo record on the Miami-New York route and the circumnavigation of Grand Britain and Ireland, won the Route du Rhum in 1998 on Aquitaine Innovations and the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race with Franck Cammas’ Groupama 4.