" We loved each other so much ""Florence, the first woman to win a major ocean racing event (the "Route du Rhum", in 1990), embodies a symbol of freedom and tenacity. It has inspired vocations. Shown to the women of his generation and the following ones a whole universe of possibilities, free from the borders that our society continues to impose on people of their sex. It was this authentic spirit of freedom that immediately seduced me. Florence and I first met in 1977, on a wharf in Auckland, during a stopover on the Whitbread in New Zealand. I recognized myself in this somewhat rebellious character. A faithful friendship was born that day.
[...] Our victories in 1990 - the Vendée Globe Challenge for me and the "Route du Rhum" for Florence - brought us even closer together. At that time, we had all the legitimacy and media weight to make dreams of oceanic adventure come true, which we considered limited by new regulations. Most racing rules then limited participation to boats under 60 feet (18 meters).
We wanted to steer large ships as we did in the past. The Jules Verne Trophy is the result of this chimera.
Like me, Florence has never embarked on this round the world trip. I like to think that every new attempt, in pursuit of the Jules Verne Trophy, is dedicated to him."
Co-founder of the Jules Verne Trophy with Florence Arthaud.
Excerpt from "Trophée Jules Verne, le record extraordinaire" published by Éditions Gallimard.