Day of the Jackal?

Photos; Vincent Curuchet/BPCE
Vendee Globe race favourite Armel le Cleac'h tells us of his campaign
He came second in the Vendee Globe four years ago in a boat that wasn’t particularly rated and having won the Solitaire du Figaro in the meantime, he is now back with a boat originally built and conceived by two time winner of the singlehanded non-stop round the world race, Michel Desjoyeaux. If there is a favourite among the frontrunners for claiming line honours in this year’s Vendee Globe, it is probably Armel le Cléac’h, aka The Jackal, skipper of Banque Populaire. His Finot-Conq designed BritAir (now Bertrand de Broc’s Votre Nom autour du Monde avec EDM Projets) was one of only five of the 18 new IMOCA 60s on the Vendee Globe start line in 2008 to make it around the course. Now le Cléac’h returns with a boat that is a very much more state of the art design. Both boat and skipper have all the pedigree of race winners.   Armel le Cléac’h is very much a product of the Figaro class. Heralding from Landivisiau, 10 miles south of Roscoff, he grew up sailing from pretty much the moment he was born with his family on their cruising yacht on the Bay of Morlaix. Personally he started out racing before graduating when he was 14 up to the 420 before moving into Quarter Tonners and then in 1999, aged 22, into the Figaro class after he won the Challenge Espoir Credit Agricole gaining him the use of a boat to campaign on the circuit for two seasons (à la Artemis Offshore Academy). His mentors of the time from the Morlaix sailing scene were Nicolas Troussel and Jeremie Beyou, both slightly older than him and both also subsequent winners of La Solitaire du Figaro. Clearly one of the most talented sailors of his generation, le Cléac’h finished second in the all-important Solitaire