The practical thing with the Vendée Globe is that the years since its arrival water sports authorities don’t have to rack their brains to choose the best sailor of the last 12 months. Yannick Bestaven, winner of this legendary race in January, was logically elected sailor of the year 2021, the French Sailing Federation announced on Monday at a ceremony in Paris.
The skipper receives this distinction for the first time, which has rewarded great names in sailing such as Michel Desjoyeaux, double winner of the Vendée Globe, or Franck Cammas. Bestaven received a large majority of votes, 12 out of 17 votes in the first round. In front of him, the double Olympic medalist in windsurfing, Charline Picon, had 4 votes and Nicolas Goyard, world and European champion of IQFoil, one vote.
The 48-year-old sailor from La Rochelle succeeds the tandem Camille Lecointre and Aloïse Retornaz (Olympic sailing), consecrated in 2019. In 2020, no sailor of the year but a sailor of the decade in the person of Franck Cammas for his exceptional career in a multitude of events over the last ten years.
Around the world in 80 days
Yannick Bestaven won the Vendée Globe 2020/2021 after 80 days of a non-stop solo round-the-world race full of twists and turns. It was notably marked by the sinking of Kevin Escoffier and his epic rescue by Jean Le Cam. Escoffier and Le Cam had also received the 2020 solidarity prize awarded by the French Sailing Federation.
Shortly before receiving the sailor of the year award, Bestaven was also decorated with the medal of knight of the Legion of Honor by Emmanuel Macron, just like Le Cam. The title of sailor of the year is a distinction awarded since 2001 by a jury made up of institutions, sportsmen and the media. The public is also called upon to vote online (ie 2 votes).