There has been some very good news for Eric Péron, who will be racing in the 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre alongside Morgan Lagravière on the former Safran. Having been through two Olympic preparations, six attempts at the Solitaire du Figaro, and making it to third place in the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race and the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre, Eric is one of French sailing’s rising stars. With this new IMOCA challenge, the 36–year-old will be able to gain a lot of useful experience, as he looks forward to competing in the 2020 Vendée Globe.
Eric Péron feeling the pressure and excitement
Morgan Lagravière and Eric Péron have known each other for around ten years, as they first met back when they were both competing in the 49er class. Then, they bumped into each other again in the Figaro circuit. Eric Péron explains. “We are friends and share the same passions, so it’s great to be able to set off together. I’m very enthusiastic about joining this fantastic team. Racing in the Jacques Vabre with such a talented skipper on a wonderful foiling IMOCA, with the support of Roland Jourdain and his team… It’s hard to imagine anything better.” That said, replacing such a famous sailor as Roland Jourdain (twice winner of the Route du Rhum, two attempts at the Vendée Globe…), is certainly no easy task for Eric Peron. “I can feel the pressure on me, but that is something that encourages me. I don’t want to disappoint anyone,” he added.
The former Safran, a VPLP-Verdier design from 2015, was relaunched last week in Concarneau (Brittany). Morgan and Eric have since then carried out a few trips to get used to her. There will be plenty of sailing to do in the weeks ahead with the two men competing in the Azimut Challenge from 22nd to 24th September in Lorient. They will also have to carry out their qualifying sail for the Transat Jacques Vabre (sailing at least 1500 miles double-handed), remembering that the race starts from Le Havre on 5th November. “We got together fairly late on and we will be busy making up for lost time”, Eric told us. “We really want to do well. We have a great boat and we work well together as a pair. We could in fact be the perfect outsiders.”
Morgan Lagravière is equally enthusiastic. “Eric has a wealth of experience of offshore sailing, which is very interesting, while I know my boat well. I’m sure that together we have what it takes to do well in the Transat Jacques Vabre.”
Eric Péron aiming for the 2020 Vendée Globe
Eric Péron already has a lot of experience of IMOCAs. In 2006, he sailed alongside a certain Armel Le Cléac’h, aboard Brit Air. In 2015, he took part in the Transat Jacques Vabre with Fabrice Amedeo finishing in eighth place. For the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe, he was the substitute skipper for Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives Coeur. This position allowed him to sail a lot on Tanguy’s IMOCA. “I have done a lot of exploring of the boat, but I am not yet an expert,” said Eric. With this new experience, the first on a foiler, he will get in some excellent training for the 2020 Vendée Globe, which is his ultimate goal. It will also offer him an opportunity to be seen by possible future partners, who may wish to join him in the solo round the world race. “My dream scenario would be to take part aboard a brand new IMOCA,” he added.
Photo credit: © Sea n'Co - Th.Martinez