Fifty years after her father, Éric Tabarly’s daughter, Marie, is preparing to compete in the Ocean Globe Race 2023 with “Pen Duick VI”. Olivier de Kersauson paints the portrait of the woman who has been the godmother of all his boats for a decade.
Marie Tabarly has been the godmother of all my boats since she was 9 years old. I had asked permission from her parents, who had accepted, and I was lucky enough to have this little character to take on the serious responsibility of being the godmother of these adventure boats. Over time, an unfailing natural bond has been created.
I knew that his youth and his innocence protected our adventures, sometimes extreme. It has been. The little girl took her role with the seriousness and gravity of childhood, she protected us. I know that the whole crew, Didier Ragot, Yves Pouillaude, my lifelong seconds, appreciated her presence when, on board, the only girl in the crew of “Geronimo”, she offered us her presence, enthusiastic and happy.
Then, the chances of life led her a little far from the sea to master the training of horses, until the day when she admitted to herself that all her affection carried her towards the boats. She remembered that she heard us talking, as a child, about world tours: “I wanted to go and see. It looked nice, your life. I have the best boat in the world to go there. “Then, warrior:” We are not leaving to be second, I can’t wait to go, to give everything, as I saw my father do. “Pen Duick VI” is almost newer than new. »
The boat in its history never had all its chances
We are far from the time when the young girl, bruised by the disappearance of the great captain, confided her sorrows to the silence of the horses. A captain is born.
Resuming “Pen Duick VI” is not easy, the boat in its history has never had all its chances. Probably because with Tabarly the project was once again very – some would say too – innovative. In 1973, fifty years ago, we enthusiastically took a chaotic trip around the world. Four weeks after the start of the race, the boat dismasted in the Canaries, heading on jury rig to Rio where the navy sent us a new mast. Repair developed in the Brazilian arsenal, then re-fit, with rage in the heart, to catch up with the race in Cape Town.
All the unfair comments I read about my extraordinary captain touch me
From South Africa to Sydney, in the seas of the roaring forties, the boat will be combative and perfect. “Pen Duick VI” wins the stage. But bad luck didn’t leave us so quickly, we re-masted a few weeks later on leaving Sydney. Several months later, the boat will make the route for those who are abandoned by luck, passing a Cape Horn of delivery to the arsenal of Brest, where, at the quay, Tabarly and I clean the bottoms of the ship with this sadness of so many effort for nothing.
The press is killing us and all the unfair comments I read about my extraordinary captain touch me. Him, serene, he doesn’t give a damn, treating sarcasm and flattery with the same magnificent indifference. I learn, if need be, that the only thing that matters is to have done one’s work with all the energy in the world; the rest, the commentaries are only made to be carried away by the winds of oblivion. It is this boat and this story without much success that Marie wants to revive. By taking up the rules of the time, it gives “Pen Duick VI” a chance that it did not have.