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On a 4-meter boat that he built, this Breton sailed around the world

Yann Quenet, back in Brittany on Saturday August 6, 2022, has achieved a real feat with this crossing of the seas of the Globe in 3 years. ©Yann ANDRE

It is an adventure worthy of the greatest navigators. Yann Quenet, from Saint-Brieuc (Cotes-d’Armor) where he fabricated from scratch a small sailboat of only 4 meterswas welcomed as a hero on Saturday August 6, 2022 after completing, in 3 years, its world Tour.

“Well done Yann! can we read on this banner. Bagad and Gwenn ha du were also out to greet him. ©Yann ANDRE

” Something crazy “

A feat followed on his blog by a few thousand enthusiasts like him, praised by the specialized magazine Voiles et Voiliers and relayed as it should by the local press. “A crazy thing”, sums up an admirer in his own way.

On this beautiful sunny morning on the Brittany, many curious people and friends rushed to come and welcome him at the port of Le Légué in Saint-Brieuc. Ringers and Gwenn ha from (the Breton flag Editor’s note) were also there.

Almost 20,000 km

His journey of 12,000 miles (nearly 20,000 km) which began in 2019 first took him to the Caribbean, then off the Australian coast via thePacific Oceanbefore joining theSouth Africathen the Brazil, to finally cross a third time Atlantic until anchoring in the Azores in June 2022.

This map illustrates Baluchon's journey since leaving Lisbon in 2019.
This map illustrates Baluchon’s career since leaving Lisbon in 2019. ©Eric MARECH

All aboard a walnut shell that only cost him €4,000. A first attempt resulted, 7 years ago, in the shipwreck from his tub. Not enough to discourage the fifty-year-old who, this time, knew how to take his little sailboat to the end of the world and come back.

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Not without experiencing “a few big swells and storms”, recognizes Yann Quenet who believed that his Baluchon, the name of his little boat, was going to explode when he was caught in a tornado at the famous Doldrums (inter-tropical convergence zone in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) so dreaded by Vendée Globe sailors.

Baluchon, a tiny 4-meter sailboat, only cost €4,000 to manufacture.
Baluchon, a tiny 4-meter sailboat, only cost €4,000 to manufacture. ©Yann ANDRE

“But there have been a lot more good times than bad,” smiles the Briochin when he finds himself back on the ground.

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They are above all moments in fact, moments of plenitude which add up to each other. You have to like to be contemplative, to abandon yourself to the observation of birds, dolphins, the distance…

Yann Quenet, navigator

A smartphone as a GPS

While today’s boats are over-equipped with sensors and on-board technology, Yann Quenet’s skiff is completely lacking in them. “My smartphone was my GPS and that’s it. I recharged it with a solar panel. In the event of a breakdown, I would have headed west and I would have ended up finding landnothing to panic about…”

A shipwreck and it starts again

On his blog, Yann Quenet recounts in detail his first attempt to circumnavigate the globe which ended on August 8, 2015 in a shipwreck off the coast of Spain.

In the middle of the night, he is awakened by a violent noise. “I get like a bucket of water on my face, “que pasa? » then I am catapulted in the cabin under a deluge of fleet and various objects. Not good that! In a few seconds the boat fills with water, my lifejacket is activated and propels me upwards with such violence that I crush my skull against the new ceiling which was, a few moments ago, the floor. »

Giant waves then propel him several meters from his boat, which soon sinks. Yann Quenet only owes his survival to his distress beacon and the providential passage of a cargo ship.

His analysis after the fact: “Obvious error in the design of the boat, all the boats capsize, even more those which are only 4 m long, I had, of course, done a lot of calculations and righting curves, but it didn’t was only theoretical calculations, my curve was made with the covers closed and watertight, with the mast in floating material installed, and the hull floating upside down horizontally, but of course the boat filled with water, the bow was floating out of water with a longitudinal trim of more than 30° and without a mast, which obviously meant that my calculations were totally wrong and stupid. The boat turned upside down like an old pancake became even more stable upside down than right side up! This problem should have been checked simply by intentionally capsizing the boat in the harbor before leaving. »

So much teaching that served him for the manufacture of Baluchon, the second of the name. And for the third very soon.

For Hélène, who came to applaud him, “he is an example of stubbornness and human values. There are people who give up for not much. He doesn’t let go. It’s something all the same to think that he spent all this time alone with himself and with the elements. »

A welcoming committee made up of friends and admirers awaited the navigator for his return to dry land.
A welcoming committee made up of friends and admirers awaited the navigator for his return to dry land. ©Yann ANDRE

Leave as soon as possible

The most extravagant in all this is that Yann Quenet only asks for one thing: to leave as soon as possible! “We become a bit addicted. Building boats is my thing, so I’m going to get back to work. The Covid prevented me from landing in Anglo-Saxon countries, such as Australia, and that completely changed my trip. So it will be for the next round the world. »

All smiles, the sailor asks for nothing better than to build a new boat and
All smiles, the sailor asks nothing better than to build a new boat and “go back as soon as possible”. ©Yann ANDRE

In the meantime, probably a little tired of sardines and Chinese noodles, Yann will probably start by filling up a bit by tasting good little dishes of which Brittany has the secret. The publication of a bookretracing his incredible epic, is scheduled for the end of the year.

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