Charente-Maritime forms its first elite team

This is the meaning of the work that sports institutions are currently doing…

This is the meaning of the work currently being carried out by sports organizations and communities, starting with the division, which has just created the first Charente-Maritime Elite team. Yannick Pestafin and Charlene Bacon appear there, along with Sarah Stewart, the double world champion who is now collaborating with Charlene Bacon on 49er FX; The high hopes of windsurfing Fabian and Manon Pianaza, brother and sister of the young world champions; Clément Péquin, the French 49er champion targeting the Olympics in 2014. In addition, in the marine races, Alexis Thomas, captain of Figaro “La Charente-Maritime”, and Violette Durange, preparing for the Vendée Globe 2024.

Violet Durange prepares for the Vendée Globe 2024.

Bernard Le Bars


“The principle of this team is to bring together the talents of the territory, in large part of which she trained from a young age in the department,” explains Laurent Hay, director of Paul France Voiles La Rochelle, president of La Rochelle Nautique. Founder of the Voile Center of Excellence, an association created last February, funded by 65% ​​by private partners and 35% by the administration and the city of La Rochelle.

They are also the ambassadors of the region.

The operational mission will be twofold: to strengthen the maritime sector, support the athletes in the communication strategy and to seek partners. They are also the ambassadors of the territory,” emphasizes Stephane Vilan, deputy head of the department in charge of sports.

The Voile Center of Excellence will host the Charente-Maritime Elite team, in the port of Les Minimes, whose operating budget will amount to 300,000 euros per year to finance the coaches, Etienne Saez (Figaro) and Julien Bolvi (6.50 Mini), such as in addition to the various experts invited: weather, physical and mental preparedness Routing software training, etc. €200,000 will also be redistributed to the athletes to network and search for partners. “We are trying to go further, by putting together a group of 40s and maybe some Imoca [60 pieds]Announces Lauren Hay. Yannick’s victory [Bestaven] The trigger was, lit the powder! »

Yannick Pestavin’s victory, during the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe, was the “trigger” for the dynamism.

Archives Laurent Tillet / “The Southwest”


“It is always good to be in a team, the last winner of the Vendée Globe rejoices, and it creates bonds. It also shows the desire of the Charente-Maritime to continue what has been done, that is, to be at the start of the main race, Olympic or abroad. Above all, there is a need To the infrastructure, quickly, because the sports program is progressing quickly, like the upcoming Vendée Globe [2024]. I’m lucky to have a shed on the pier, but not everyone does. »

A dynamism has been launched in this field as well. The Marine Race Center, led by Atlantic Cluster, a federation bringing together players in the marine and offshore sector of New Aquitaine, will soon see the light of day, with a new pontoon dedicated to Imocas.

“The Charente-Maritime Elite can be expanded, as Stéphane Villain trusts, possibly with Antoine Albeau. [multichampion du monde de windsurf]And maybe even other sports. This is the beginning, and we will build over time. »

Floating for Imoca

A new pontoon is being installed at the fishing port of Chef-de-Baie, at the SNSM site, moved a little further afield. It will accommodate two Imocas, including the futuristic Yannick Bestaven sailboat. “It is a temporary pontoon, notes Christophe Bertaud, elected La Rochelle and president of the mixed union group of the fishing port. We had the first meeting with the department and the conglomerate last Thursday [16 juin]. We will meet again in September. Now that the pontoon is installed, we’ll be considering pricing and rules of use with the Center Excellence Voile because we expect to receive more orders than the two will be at the berth. He’s better able to manage that, and set priorities. We will also meet again in the fall to talk about the development of the Southern Dam, to see if the Round Head needs to be lengthened. No decision has been made at the moment, it should be quantified, after which the two managers will give the green light, or not. At the same time, at the request of Yannick, we must develop reception capabilities on the ground. »

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