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Éric Tabarly

Éric Tabarly

Éric Tabarly is the doyen of ocean racing to all young aspiring sailors. A French Naval officer, he gained instant fame with his yacht Pen Duick II after winning the 1964 Observer Singlehanded Trans Atlantic Race in the record time of 27 days 3 hours. He returned home to a ticker-tape parade up the Champs Elysees, was awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur by President de Gaulle, and the Blue Water Medal from the Cruising Club of America.

In 1967, Tabarly won the Channel Race, Round Gotland Race, and Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races on Pen Duick III. He also won 1969 San Francisco-Tokyo race and in 1971 was victorious in the Falmouth-Gibraltar and Middle Sea Races before going on to win the famous Transpac from Los Angeles to Hawaii the following year.

In 1973, he skippered Pen Duick VI in the first edition of the Whitbread but was dismasted. He returned for the 1976 Whitbread, but Pen Duick VI was disqualified for not having a valid rating certificate. The rules had been changed, banning the use of uranium in her keel. Undaunted, Tabarly continued as an unofficial entry and completed the course.

In 1980, Tabarly sailed the trimaran Paul Ricard across the Atlantic and broke the century old record set by Charlie Barr in the huge schooner Atlantic

Tabarly went on to skipper the Belgian maxi yacht Cote d’Or in the 1985/6 Whitbread.


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