JEREMIE BEYOU (44), CHARAL (2018)
Arguably the benchmark boat of the fleet, Beyou’s Charal was launched almost a year before Hugo Boss, and has had the most thorough race testing of the new IMOCAS. After retiring with steering issues in the 2018 Route du Rhum, Beyou’s black VPLP design has shown few signs of weakness, winning last year’s Fastnet, the Vendée Arctic race and Défi Azimut. Charal is now on its third set of foils, which Beyou has reported make the boat more controllable after the V1 design produced some dramatic flights, followed by equally dramatic downward pitches.
Beyou’s solo career includes podium places in all the major offshores, winning the Figaro in 2005 and 2014, the TJV in 2011, and the Transat New York-vendée in 2016. This will be his fourth Vendée. Like Thomson, he has retired from two races, while in the last edition he finished
3rd, behind Thomson and winner Armel Le Cléac’h.
With his apparently smooth campaign, and the speed
Charal has demonstrated in racing and training, Beyou is widely considered the French favourite to beat.