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Transat AG2R: Concarneau and St Barth in the Same Boat

When the ninth edition of the Transat Ag2r sets sail on April 20, 2008 from Concarneau in France, heading toward the Port of Gustavia in Saint Barth, one of the identical Figaro Beneteau sailboats will have a two-man crew from each of the two ports. These two young sailors—each representing his homeport—are Miguel Danet from Saint-Barth, and Eric Péron from Concarneau, which is known for the old walled city on an island in its bay. The boat, the Concarneau-Saint Barth.

The idea came into being when Gilbert Le Bris, the mayor of Concarneau, and Michel Magras, vice-president of the Overseas Collectivity of Saint Barthélemy, asked: “What if we combined our efforts to give a chance to two young hopefuls in open sea racing, one from Saint Barth and one from Concarneau in the same boat?” From this seed, the project was born, with Top Loc, a car rental and boat charter owned by Arnaud Grandclerc and Didier Gréaux, providing 50% of the funding required from Saint Barthélemy, in partnership with the collectivity.

Before this project, the two young sailors didn’t know each other. The first, 26 year-old Eric Péron, is a sail maker and a regular on the Figaro circuit who participated in the Transat Ag2r in 2004. The second, 22 year-old Miguel Danet, is a professional skipper aboard Privilège 45 for Top Loc; he will take part in this transatlantic race for this first time. As of January, they began sailing together at the racing center in Port-la-Forêt, in Finistère, to train against the “big guns” and learn to navigate together.

For Danet, the temperature is one if the biggest challenges. In mid-February he reported: “Our first week of training…. took place under blue, sunny skies (maximum 12°C or 53°F) and with a wind from the east…between 5 and 25 knots… I have to say that with our boots, our oilcloths, and hats, it’s a big change from Pinel!”

The young sailors have a challenging routine: “Every day we meet between 9 -9:30 a.m… in the racing center for a collective briefing—weather forecast, the daily schedule, looking at videos, recap of positive and negative points of each team,” explains Danet. Their day continues with hard training, with the finish line in mind.  It will be sometime in early May—when their arrival in Saint Barth will be cheered, no matter what time of day or night they get there… 3,710 miles later!

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