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The great wind of the sea

It is impossible that looking at the sea one can have the slightest petty thought. His contemplation makes us grow. It satisfies our insatiable appetite for beauty, even though it also has the power, as Charles Baudelaire writes, to serve as a mirror to our soul and so here we are, probing the depths of our mind. But always, the sea gives us back that part of adventurous childhood that lies dormant in us. She communicates to us that unique blend of sweetness and strength that pervades us – that of probing our joy in the unfathomable.

Already, a student, when I felt cramped between my walls, I listened with delight to the voice of the marine weather forecast blowing in my studio the notices of great costs, the hectopascals of low pressure and the height of the waves. I loved hearing the magical names of the areas – Thames, Fastnet, Viking, Dogger – where gusts swelled the sea and made it become “Agitated to very agitated”. Sometimes I listen to one of those bulletins that I never cease to regret deleting. They oxygenated my mornings by suddenly widening my familiar geography to the sea borders – the Channel, the North or Irish seas, the North Atlantic.

Even today, it is from the sea that I finally hear good news, so many exciting images of this world, and stimulating challenges. For it is at sea that knights of the caliber of those who made me dream as a child by their heroic gesture are fighting at this very moment – these knights without fear and without reproach. While many of us waver in the lee of a depression that is far from meteorological, the sailors give us an example of courage and pugnacity. The skippers set off for the craziest race ever – the Vendée Globe. A sailing round the world, solo and non-stop.

→ INVESTIGATION. The other Vendée Globe race, that of adventurers

Those who held on to the reins of these proud steeds that are today’s tall ships – half-boats, half-birds – know the risks, the thrills, the humility, the resistance necessary to experience this adventure. Those who have embarked one day and cast off for a summer also know it: everything at sea is experienced to the extreme, cold, humidity, loneliness, fatigue, the need for sleep and rest. from the body.

In his novel Pleasure roleJacques Perret is ironic about the name given to this navigation. Pleasure? “The sailboat is the slowest, the most uncomfortable, the most expensive, the most dangerous and the wettest way to leave the place where you are particularly well and reach a place – not necessarily planned – where the we don’t have to do anything. “

Certainly, but to enter this movement, this funny journey, you have to go through what the world has most essential and cunning with the currents, the waves, the wind. And then, at sea, neither imposture nor lies have their place. No sailor worthy of the name thinks he is stronger than he is. Nemesis, in the heart of the ocean, has merciless wrath.

→ THE FACTS. Bread three times blessed with the Vendée Globe

It was something that struck me when I had the privilege of meeting Eric Tabarly: his simplicity, something of the order of humility, and a deeply adolescent soul. There was his seriousness too, but sailor, one can only be seriously. On his boat, during the few hours of our trip to sea, I admired the precision and efficiency of his gestures in a formidable economy of words. However, the track record of his exploits and his victories against the storms could have dilated his ego to fill all the oceans. Nothing of the sort. No more, no less than what he was: a very great navigator, one of those sailors endowed with a genius of the sea, as others have music or poetry. An eternal naval officer steeped in freedom, spray and secret humor.

→ PORTRAIT. Éric Tabarly, fifty years of legend

It was Éric Tabarly that I thought when I learned that the veteran of the race, Jean Le Cam, “King Jean”, who was also his teammate, had for a time taken the head of the competition. , at the helm of the thirteen-year-old Imoca, which is said to have made it himself. “I am not denying the formidable technical progress that racing brings to sailing, I nevertheless regret that the talents of man tend to fade more and more in front of technology. It is not so much the boat that should count, but the man, the sailor ”, Tabarly told me, who regretted that we did not give the same sailboat, equipped with the same equipment, to each participant in a solo race.

I tell myself today that his wish would apply to many other areas. Economic, political, artistic. The qualities of man should always prevail over the rest. We would suffocate less at the idea of ​​being more and more governed by algorithms and led by technocrats, and less and less by free and inspired women and men.


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