Published on 08/08/2022
Damien Seguin will be the patron of the 53rd edition of La Solitaire du Figaro. The French three-time Paralympic Games medalist, winner of two gold and once silver who is a five-time world champion became the first disabled sports skipper to complete the Vendée Globe when he finished the 2020-2021 edition in seventh place. Seguin, who is preparing for his second tilt at the Vendée Globe with an IMOCA which is new to him, the race winning former Maitre Coq IV, says he is incredibly proud to be chosen to be patron of the 2022 La Solitaire du Figaro.
Born without a left hand in 1979, Damien Seguin was brought up in Briancon in the Alps but spent a large part of his youth in Guadeloupe. It was at the finish of the 1990 Route du Rhum that gave him the desire to go sailing and especially to cross the oceans alone.
“I started with the National School of Sailing and with the French Paralympic team in 2.4mR. On this small adapted dinghy, I won some nice titles. But in a part of my mind there was always the idea of the ocean. At the time, I wondered where to start. Looking at the Mini 6.50 and Figaro Beneteau my choice was to join the Figaro circuit in 2005. I thus took part in the Transat Ag2r double-handed and in the Solitaire in 2006. It was an event which was difficult for me (He finished in 36th position out of 44 registered). Then I switched to Class40 and IMOCA. All the time I was still part of the French Paralympic team. »
Speaking of La Solitaire du Figaro, the annual French multi-stage solo offshore race which this year starts from Nantes, Seguin said, “This institution remains a major event in competitive sailing and ocean racing. Being the patron of this edition, with all the talents there will be at the start, is a joy offered to me by the organizers. My licence is with Nantes at the Sport Nautique de l’Ouest where I have been since the beginning of the 2000s, so this is important to me. Whether in Paralympism or ocean racing, I have remained faithful to this club which welcomed me when I returned to France. Adrien Hardy and Armel Tripon, former Figaro sailors, have also remained with the SNO Nantes,”
Damien Seguin says he always carefully follows the evolution of the world of solo offshore racing:
“La Solitaire’s reputation its difficulty, the great sailors who have participated and who have won it or have never won it, make this event an emblematic race and a must for sailors who aspire to a career as a good pro skipper. The circuit sees new faces arriving each time, others who confirm and those who are slow to do so. I find it exciting every time. I have always come across the Figarists. First in Port-la-Forêt where my boats were based and now in Lorient for two years. They are people who practice a lot. With what is more an interesting mix. Women have always been present in ocean racing and there are more and more of them today. That’s a great sign. Some show very good results and finish in top places.”
Preparing for his fourth Route du Rhum his second in the IMOCA after a first two in Class40, the founder of the association Des pieds et des Mains, between his training sessions in August and September with his Groupe Apicil will visit the stopovers and the finish in Saint Nazaire. He says
“In 2006 I said that I would return to this race one day, and the promise still holds! »
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