Michel Desjoyeaux

Solitary Sailing Publication date : May 25, 2009

Growing up in the magical world of an isolated shipyard near a tidal reservoir in the salt marshes, Michel Desjoyeaux developed a keen sense of resourcefulness and of navigation. A summer on the Pen Duick VI and a season on Philippe Jeantot's catamaran played a crucial role in his career, and at the age of 20 he sailed in a race around the world with Eric Tabarly.

Since then, Desjoyeaux has not stopped sailing — and winning races. Not only is he an expert sailor, he is also an inventor.

Desjoyeaux has contributed, more than any other sailor in the past twenty years, to the development of boat engineering. The shipbuilding company Bénéteau sought his assistance in conceiving new designs for the Figaro race.

He is at the head of a highly innovative enterprise. In the spring of 1999 he founded a sailing team, known as Mer Agitée, which he has turned into a laboratory for cutting-edge research and development.

His rivals have dubbed him “the professor” because he constructs his victories step-by-step and prepares himself intellectually, technically and psychologically, but also because he is an excellent teacher.

Michel Desjoyeaux will be participating in the Sixth Vendée Globe Race in November 2008. This solitary, three-month-long, round-the-world, non-stop, unassisted race is the most famous and the most difficult of all. It is held every four years; Desjoyeaux was the winner in 2001, and is one of the favourites in this year's race.

In this book, Desjoyeaux, a likeable, generous man, recounts his past for the first time. His father, a member of the French Resistance, was the founder of the famous Glenans sailing school. In addition Desjoyeaux gives the reader a fascinating insight into how a great sailor prepares for a round-the-world solitary race.

Michel Desjoyeaux is a French sailor who was born in Brittany on 16 July 1965. He has won all the major solo races: the Figaro race (three times: 1992, 1998 and 2007), the Vendée Globe (2001), the Route du Rhum (2002), the Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race (2004), and the Jacques Vabre Trans-Atlantic Race (2007). He was elected Sailor of the Year in 2007.