French Legend Catherine Chabaud Visits Brad Van Liew In La Rochelle
Chabaud takes a tour of her old yacht Le Pingouin and gives Brad a gift
FRENCH sailing legend Catherine Chabaud paid an emotional visit to her old yacht Whirlpool yesterday – just days before it sets off around the world for the fourth time under the helm of Brad Van Liew in the VELUX 5 OCEANS. In tribute to Catherine, Brad relaunched the Eco 60 yacht as Le Pingouin, the name she was registered as when she was built in 1998.
After getting in contact with Brad through social networking site Facebook, Catherine brought her four-year-old son Côme to La Rochelle to see her old boat – and present Brad with a special gift for his round the world adventure which starts on Sunday. She gave Brad a toy penguin which she took round the world herself on Le Pingouin in the Vendee Globe in 2000.
Catherine is one of the most famous solo sailors in France and is known worldwide for being the first woman to race solo nonstop around the planet. She spent several hours onboard the boat talking with Brad about her sailing adventures on Le Pingouin.
Although Catherine never sailed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS, Le Pingouin has. Italian Simone Bianchetti sailed her to third place in the 2002 edition of the race, then known as the Around Alone, as Tiscali.
Catherine said: "I am very attached to this boat and I am very glad she is about to leave again on her next world tour. She was one of the best boats of her generation and I think her performance will still be great. I am very attached to this boat and I wanted to show my son the boat that took me round the world.
"I also wanted to give Brad the penguin because it came round the world with me and I wanted to pass on my mascot. Le Pingouin is the original name of the boat and it was very touching that Brad decided to keep her first name.
"The VELUX 5 OCEANS is a race I have dreamed about participating in myself. It is the best round the world race. All of the sailors who sailed it such as Isabelle Autissier, Christophe Auguin and Jean Luc Van Den Heede, all said it was a special race because of the bond that develops between the sailors."
The VELUX 5 OCEANS, run by Clipper Ventures PLC, is the longest running solo round the world race, and has 28 years of rich heritage as the BOC Challenge and then the Around Alone. This edition features five ocean sprints over nine months. After setting off on October 17 from La Rochelle to Cape Town, the race will then take in Wellington in New Zealand, Salvador in Brazil and Charleston in the US before returning back across the Atlantic to France.
Please visit www.velux5oceans.com