Sailing: Violette Dorange, the offshore princess of the Apprentis d’Auteuil

To become the youngest sailor in history at the start of the Vendée Globe in 2024. Violette Dorange does not hide her ambition. She will then be 23 years old and already everything to achieve it: a prize list provided in a 420 dinghy, an honorable participation in the Minitransat and the Solitaire du Figaro, an admission to the prestigious sailing pole of Port-la-Forêt (Finistère), where are past François Gabart and Armel Le Cléac’h. A champion’s straight line …

Her CV also displays a bac S, registration at Insa (National Institute of Applied Sciences) in Rennes, as well as veterinary parents who support her and the sponsorship of famous sailors, such as Samantha Davies or Yann Eliès. Jean-Pierre Dick, fourth in the Vendée Globe 2017, a veterinarian by training and her parents’ study companion, follows her closely.

“He advised me to register with the Minitransat to find out if I was made to stay at sea for a long time, she says. In Gibraltar, I said to myself: maybe; on arrival, I had my answer: it was yes. ” A year later, she has not changed her mind, burning to return to the sea with her co-skipper, Alan Roberts, for the double-handed Transat in Figaro 3 (10.80 m monohulls), which will leave , Sunday May 9, Concarneau for the Antilles (Saint-Barthélemy).

The desire to be useful

Until then, she had a golden course as a future champion, without fault or almost (a failed stage on the Solitaire du Figaro), without headwinds or asperities. But this young girl, as smiling and relaxed as her model Samantha Davies, seeks to give meaning to her profession as a sailor. “I am a sportswoman, I want to win races, but while being useful at my small level. I was looking for a cause ”, she explains.

→ PORTRAIT. When sailing, large multihulls look for air

She will find her during a training campus on aeronautical trades, during a meeting with young people, supervised by Apprentis d’Auteuil, in search of training as fitters or boilermakers. ” Something happened. They talked about their history, not always easy, and their dreams of integration. She spoke of her dream of going around the world ”, explains Caroline Boidron, in charge of the Apprentis d’Auteuil partnerships, who discovered this young woman that day upset by what she had just heard.

The story could have stopped there, but Violette Dorange has increased the number of visits to the Foundation’s children’s homes, sites or schools where unaccompanied minors live or study, some of whom are young migrants who have risked their lives. life crossing the Mediterranean. “They were stunned by her energy and she by their courage. These young people are not mistaken: they know how to recognize sincerity and it is real in Violette ”, continues the manager who then begins to think that Violette Dorange would make a great ambassador.

“We wanted to approach the sports sector for a long time, but we didn’t really know how to do it. Violette arrived with her youth, her energy, her values ​​of solidarity with seafarers. Everything was in line with our project and we had the impression that she could help young people to look up to the sail and the sea which is often far from their daily lives ”, continues Caroline Boidron.

No money exchange

As a result, the colors of the Apprentis d’Auteuil float in large letters on the mainsail of the Figaro 3 of the Transat and eventually of the Imoca (18 m) that he will need to acquire for the Route du Rhum and the next Vendée. World. A young person from the Foundation was hired in the technical team.

“Obviously, the Foundation does not give me any money. It would be unethical, because the donors are not there to fund sailing. But they help me find other paying partners who are happy to partner on their behalf, to provide jobs or internships to young people ”, details Violette Dorange as an already enlightened businesswoman.

And well helped by her dad in the financial and commercial exercise essential to the practice of ocean racing. “We still lack a lot of money to buy and finance the Imoca for the Vendée, she says, but I am sure that we will get there and that the help of the Apprentices will greatly contribute to it. “


A Transat on a level playing field

The Concarneau-Saint-Barthélemy double-handed Transat, formerly called the Transat AG2R La Mondiale, offers duos the opportunity to compete on the Atlantic every two years, aboard strictly identical boats. It is the only one-design transatlantic race, the Figaro Bénéteau 3, monohulls also used on the Solitaire du Figaro. Eighteen boats will be at the start, with 36 sailors, including three women, Élodie Bonafous, Violette Dorange and Estelle Greck.


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