The Mini Transat winner is straight from the Eric Tabarly school


They make ’em tough in France, the nation that has superceded all previous contenders for the ‘Come on, if you think you’re hard enough’ school of yacht racing.

You won’t need me to tell you that Yves Le Blevec, who has just won the Mini Transat race, is tough as tungsten – he’s got that Eric Tabarly/Jean-Luc Van Den Heede look, doesn’t he? 3,000 miles flat-out in an over-canvassed 21-footer – and further, if he had to.

Le Blevec got a last-minute entry to the race, but he has a mighty pedigree. He did the Mini Transat in 2001 and between times has crewed on the maxi catamaran Orange during her Jules Verne round the world record in 2002, sailed with Seb Josse on his Open 60 VMI and crewed for him again on ABN AMRO Two in the Volvo Ocean Race.

My guess is that this was the most demanding, by a long shot.

Thanks to Thierry Martinez for the photo.