The rare spectators on the parapet of the Sables d’Olonne channel, mainly volunteers from the organization, must attend a show early in the afternoon on Wednesday 3 February: the arrival of a woman in the Vendée Globe.
No sailor had been able to complete a round the world solo since the two English women, Samantha Davies and Dee Caffari, ranked 4e and 6e in 2009. During the two following editions, the female fleet was at the bottom of the wave and the great pioneers, Isabelle Autissier or Catherine Chabot, seemed to have run out of heirs, in particular French.
→ READ. Vendée Globe, the road is still long for some
Clarisse Crémer therefore takes up the torch, unexpectedly foreman of a female fleet in full revival. They were six at the start on November 8, as many as the eight previous editions combined, and we expected instead the unsinkable Samantha Davies. But the race in the Englishwoman’s leading peloton aboard a competitive boat was abruptly interrupted by a collision with a floating object, most certainly a whale. Immediately behind, Isabelle Joscke had the favor of the forecasts. Alas, the same bad luck at sea got the better of the hopes of the Franco-German woman with an arm-length sailor’s CV.
President of the HEC Sailing Club
In view of the record of these two solid clients, the service record of the young Clarisse Crémer appears as a certificate of studies. A second place in the Mini Transat 2017, some runners-up in tough races. Beautiful but recent, in an ultra-short professional career. Before going into the deep end in 2015, the twelfth of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021 sailed as an amateur, in the wake of her presidency of the HEC sailing club from which she graduated in 2013. “The way seemed marked out”, explains her mother with a touch of nostalgia in her eyes during a video posted on the browser’s Facebook site, followed by nearly 60,000 subscribers.
It was without love at first sight for an excellent professional sailor, Tanguy Le Turquais, who derailed the train of Clarisse, launched after HEC in the creation of the adventure travel site Kazaden. With her lover, the young Parisian is at a good school, she learns quickly and qualifies saber clear for the Mini transat 2017. She finishes in second place, a fine feat followed by pretty runners-up in tough races, like the formidable Fastnet . All of this is widely relayed by his lifelong companion during her solo races: a camera relaying her good humor, her lyrical flights to imitate Celine Dion in “Titanic”, even her galleys.
“An excellent communicator, but the results follow”
“Of course Clarisse is an excellent communicator, but the results follow”, before the departure in November, supported Ronan Lucas, the head of the Banque Populaire sailing program, who bet big on the Parisienne. In recent months, he has even sent him a prestigious in-house tutor, Armel Le Cléac’h, the winner of the last edition since then on multihulls. It was in the company of the 2017 winner that she learned about the Imocas of the Vendée Globe at the helm of a legendary boat: the old Macif by François Gabart, winner of the Vendée Globe in 2013 and then double winner of the Route du Rhum. Nothing less !
→ EDITORIAL. Vendée Globe: performance and elegance
Still, to face the breaking waves of the great south, the sails torn en route or the ultimate traps of the Bay of Biscay, she owes nothing to her mentors. Alone at the helm, she led her boat like an accomplished old sea bass. Just as reasonably, she chose to slow down to protect her Imoca from a mini-storm announced in the Vendée and thus avoid bad last minute encounters. “The story of Boris (German Boris Herrmann hit a trawler on the last night) gave me a little cold in the back, I will be on the lookout until the finish “, she confided in a final video.