Tip & Shaft, the expert media for sail racing
3rd December 2021 – #149
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Benjamin Ferré et Jean Le Cam


Fourth in the last Vendée Globe, Jean Le Cam's ambition is to set off again on a sixth consecutive Vendée Globe - he will then be 65 years old – sailing aboard a “simple and accessible” Imoca which he hopes to start building as soon as possible if he can find supporting partners. At the same time, Le Cam is helping manage the projects of young sailors Benjamin Ferré and Violette Dorange.

He wants to go back once again! After five consecutive Vendée Globe, finishing four, unstoppable Jean le Cam is not content to hang up his sea boots and instead he is aiming to take the start of the 2024 race. But it will not be aboard his faithful Hubert (the former Foncia of Michel Desjoyeaux which is the Farr designed winner of the 2008 edition). "The desire to do the race again came quickly for me, something like only two months after the finish," he tells Tip & Shaft. “On the other hand, I told myself that if I go back, it would be a different project with a new boat. I am not going to do a fourth round-the-world race on Hubert."

So what would this new boat look like? "With today's modern boats we are heading towards non-accessibility of the Vendée Globe, towards a level of elitism and that has never been my philosophy. So this project is about making a simple, reliable, accessible boat, with less technical complexity, fewer problems docking in ports, and less effort that cannot really be mastered. So an Imoca with daggerboards, light and easy to handle solo, a boat which would be between 1 and 1.5 knots faster than Hubert over a day."

Several architects have been contacted, Jean Le Cam has a fairly precise idea of what he wants: "The objective is to take inspiration from the new hulls you see in Class40. There is a real evolution on the last generation of 40 footers that I want to apply to a 60 footer."

Now the objective is to find partners, "who share the philosophy of the project", who would join in an adventure that "King Jean" wishes to be a collective as he would like to launch several boats off the same project. "To have an economic model which makes sense the ideal option would be to build three boats. This would make it possible to create a little dynamic, a kind of event within the event, to pool costs and to therefore make the Vendée Globe financially accessible to SMEs and keep it achievable for young people with a simple boat. This is a path we are proposing."

Benjamin Ferré, a well advanced project

This philosophy has prompted two young sailors to approach Jean Le Cam and his team to launch their own Vendée Globe projects, Benjamin Ferré and Violette Dorange. Both started off on the 2019 Mini Transat (3rd and 16th respectively), while Dorange has done two seasons in the Figaro (19th on La Solitaire this year), they now aim to take the step into the Imoca.

The most advanced project is that of Benjamin Ferré, 31-year-old adventurer-entrepreneur, who has converted to offshore racing. He tells Tip & Shaft how he got started: “In January 2020 I found myself at a dinner alongside Jean, whom I already knew. He told me that he thought I was capable of doing the Vendée Globe and that of course planted a little seed in my brain. A few months later, Fabrice Amedeo, whom I had only met once, offered to take me on his boat after he finished the Vendée Arctic. I had barely climbed aboard when he went off to sleep and left me on the helm! I found it magical, that was it, I was off and running."

Through Fabrice Amedeo, Benjamin Ferré approached Michel Desjoyeaux to explore a possible purchase of Banque Populaire (when it was being skippered by Clarisse Crémer), of which Desjoyeaux is the owner. "He then told me the boat is not just for the elite but also for those who want to do it most. I immediately called Jean, who was racing round the world, to tell him this. He told me there would be a lot of demand after the end of the Vendée Globe and to go ahead and buy the boat. I began to tour the banks, unsuccessfully, until my file arrived on the Banque Populaire desk. I had already bought my Mini from Clarisse, they thought it was a nice gesture to help me buy the boat and Maurice Bourrigaud [boss of Banque Populaire Grand Ouest] gives a little support internally, the funds are released, I call Mich who a few hours later accepts the offer!"

2023 target for Violette Dorange

The sale was concluded on August 15, and he need to find partners to honour the first deadline on December 15. “I moved heaven and earth for three months and only when I had already pretty much told myself I would have to sell the boat at the beginning of December I found a partner at the very last moment, just as the bell was ringing (he will reveal the sponsor at the beginning of 2022) and they keep the project going with half the budget! In the process I have unlocked two more sponsors, so I have two-thirds (he estimates his budget is 1.5 million euros per year until 2025). I am now looking for a second co-naming sponsor, but with what I have found, this all keeps me going no matter what."

While he was looking for sponsors Benjamin Ferré began training in Port-la-Forêt on his new Imoca, with Jean Le Cam in charge of the sports and technical management of the project, but also working with Violette Dorange. The 20 year old is in the middle of setting up her project - she is actively looking for partners for a budget about the same as that of Benjamin Ferré. She has also called on the expertise of Jean Le Cam’s team to accompany her in her preparation for the Vendée Globe, which she intends to race on the famous Hubert which Le Cam will charter to her.

"The idea is that I will continue on the Figaro next year while doing some training with Jean and Benjamin, and that from 2023, I will get Jean's boat," she told Tip & Shaft. Of Le Cam she says: "He has an incredible way of seeing the boat, everything must be simple and reliable, it must work without fuss, I find it a great place to start, I could not have hoped for better."

On the former Banque Populaire, the two have been following Le Cam’s tutelage in Port-la-Forêt on several trip. "Jean is discovering the role of coach a little, we can see that he is enjoying it. He gives us his yellow or red cards when we do our maneuvers, this really is sailing school," smiles Benjamin Ferré. "The Imoca is brand new for us, it is ten times that of the Mini or the Figaro, we have everything to learn again," adds Violette Dorange. “But having two students in the classroom helps you learn faster, you see each other's mistakes and there are two of you asking questions."

 Tanguy Leglatin in the loop

"I don't like the word transmission," said Jean Le Cam when asked about this role as a coach. It's mostly about sharing and exchanging because young people also bring you their way of seeing things. The small group also benefits from the expertise of another former Mini Transat 2019, Félix de Navacelle and that of the Lorient coach Tanguy Leglatin.

Asked about Leglatin, Benjamin Ferré says: "He taught me everything, it was 80% thanks to him that I managed to finish third in the Mini Transat. I wanted him in this project. I have absolute confidence in him and he makes a great team with Jean, they get along really well."

With his project to build two or three boats, Jean Le Cam would therefore see himself strengthening this "small team of enjoyable young people who want to learn". In the meantime, in addition to looking for partners for himself, he has a first mission: to ensure that Benjamin Ferré is ready to take the solo start of the first two races of the 2022 season, the Bermudes 1000 Race (in May ), and the Arctic Vendée Les Sables d'Olonne (in June).

Nautic Paris boat show

TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE. Since Monday and the finishes of the first Class40s, we now know the complete list of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre winners. The 40-foot category was won by Redman (Antoine Carpentier / Pablo Santurde) ahead of Banque du Léman (Valentin Gautier / Simon Koster ) and Seafrigo-Sogestran (Cédric Chateau / Jérémie Mion). This Friday, there are 5 boats left at sea.

IMOCA. Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat were crowned Imoca 2021 champions ahead of the Thomas Rettant / Morgan Lagravière and Sébastien Simon / Yann Eliès tandems.

RORC. Sunrise, the JPK 1180 of Briton Tom Kneen, received the winner's trophy of the 2021 Rorc championship. All the winners are here.  

DIAM 24. The 2021 edition of Sailing Arabia The Tour ends Sunday in Oman.

OLYMPIC CLASSES. Oman also host the ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial) world championships until Monday, which are being held in Al-Musannah. 

BOAT SHOW. The Nautic de Paris opens its doors on Saturday at the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles and ends on December 12.

SAILOR OF THE YEAR. The French Sailor of the Year will be known on Monday during the Evening of Champions organized by the French Sailing Federation at the Olympia.

YOUTH. The youth world championships take place from December 11 to 18 in Al-Musannah (Oman). 
Yannick Bestaven at the end of the Transat Jacques Vabre


Maître CoQ approaches Martinique under a rainbow last Sunday. For his last race aboard his VPLP-Verdier plan, the winner of the Vendée Globe 2020 Yannick Bestaven took 9th place in the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, sailing with his technical director Jean-Marie Dauris. Dauris is sailing the boat back this Friday with its future new owner, Damien Seguin.

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HANNAH MILLS and EILIDH MCINTYRE, GBR’s 470 Olympic champions in Tokyo and Australian TOM SLINGSBY, Moth world champion and current SailGP season 2 leader, were voted World Sailor of the Year on Thursday at the World Sailing Awards.

MURDOCH MCGREGOR, 82 years old who completed a solo tour of Britain, was named sailor of the year at the British Yachting Awards 2021 which awarded the Vendée Globe the event of the year trophy.

THE IMOCA CLASS, as part of its development, is recruiting a marketing and communication project manager with experience in sports events. English required; position based in Lorient, with travel.

COCOON CRUISERS, Lorient, motorsailor R&D project foil assisted research:

  • a young applied CFD doctor working on OpenFOAM, a remote position based in France
  • a young doctor (in France) or senior engineer (Buenos Aires, local salary), composite calculations.
  • Several designers / architects / ergonomists with a feminine outlook on life on board (Buenos Aires).

OUTREMER is looking for a boat technical advisor; permanent position, to be filled immediately, based in La Grande Motte.

VPLP DESIGN is recruiting an experienced fluid mechanics / CFD engineer in Vannes, a position to be filled immediately.

MARSAUDON COMPOSITES is developing its range with the ORC57 and are looking for technical and commercial candidates (M / F) for permanent positions based in Lorient La Base:

  • versatile on-board system technician (electricity, plumbing and fluids)
  • head of on-board system
  • finisher
  • composites technician
  • project manager

GUNBOAT are looking for five boat builders as well as a composite team leader for the assembly of the first two Gunboat 80s (start in February 2022).


THIBAULT HUG, student at IMT Atlantique (general engineering school), passionate about sailing and innovation, is looking for a gap year internship in offshore racing from February 2022. Knowledge of MAXSURF, AutoCAD, STAR CCM +...

THE SOLITAIRE DU FIGARO 2022 will start from Nantes on August 21 to Port-la-Forêt via Wales (644 miles), before going to Royan (departure on the 28th) after a round trip in the Channel (635 miles) and ending (departure on September 4) in Loire-Atlantique after a round trip to La Coruna (700 miles).

THE 37TH AMERICA'S CUP already seems to be attracting multiple challengers. The defender Emirates Team New Zealand claims to have already received "several challenges" immediately after the opening of registrations on December 1st. The New Zealand press cites entries submitted by the Swiss from Alinghi and, confirmed by Max Sirena the skipper of Luna Rossa.

BANQUE POPULAIRE announced on Monday the purchase, after the Route du Rhum 2022, of the Imoca Apivia for Clarisse Crémer, who will compete in the Vendée Globe 2024 aboard what will become the new Banque Populaire XII.

LORIENT will host the prologue and the finish of the Globe40, a double-handed round-the-world race with stopovers, which will start on June 26, 2022 from Tangier. 12 teams were registered in July, the organizer hoping for about fifteen starters over seven months on a course which will include eight stages.

THE FASTNET 2023, the 50th edition of the famous race, will start on July 22 from Cowes to finish, as in 2021, in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin.

KEVIN PEPONNET and ALOÏSE RETORNAZ have announced that, like their respective former teammates, Jérémie Mion and Camille Lecointre, they have decided to join forces for the mixed 470 challenge for the 2024 Paris Games.

CLASS30 OD: reservations for the first Class30 OD will begin at the Nautic in Paris, from December 4 to 12, at the UNCL stand.

THE UNCL unveiled the calendar for the 2022 Channel - Atlantic and Mediterranean championships.

THE SEMAINE AFFOILANTE 2022 will be held from April 16 to 18 in Port-Fréjus.

THE M32 CLASS has unveiled its 2022 calendar, with a world championship to be held in October in Cascais.

THE FRENCH OLYMPIQUE WEEK 2022 (April 23-30) has published its notice of race, registrations are now open.


ØCONNECTION announced the launch of OLARGE, its sales agency specializing in sailing, which already supports 7 skippers: Romain Attanasio, Alexia Barrier, Conrad Colman, Violette Dorange, Benjamin Ferré, William Mathelin-Moreaux and Armel Tripon.

THE INTERNATIONAL MAXI ASSOCIATION has announced the launch in 2022 of a new European Championship for maxi yachts, the first edition of which will take place in Sorrento (Italy) from May 14 to 20.

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