Rolex Fastnet Race. Final Tacks for the ‘Courriers’

Courrier Recommandé rounding the iconic Fastnet Rock.
pic by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Few sailors can pride themselves on having won the famous Rolex Fastnet Race five times, one of which was in the overall ranking. Such is the case for Géry Trentesaux, who only last week did it again in the IRC2 category, on his JPK 11.80 ‘Courrier Recommandé’, with most of the hard core of his historic crew. And it’s on this note that the sailor from northern France chose to announce that he wished to draw a line under the remarkable ‘Courrier’ story. A saga that began in 1999 and was punctuated by success of course, it was essentially built around a solid team, founded on respect, competence and friendship.

Starting off in 1999, the story of the ‘Courrier’ fleet has racked up a string of successes, including wins in the most prestigious races, including the Sydney – Hobart, the Commodore’s Cup, the Middle Sea Race, the Scottish Series and also the famous Fastnet Race.

“In fact, it all began when François Lamiot and I decided to compete in some RORC races again”, explained Géry Trentesaux, who kicked off the adventure with ‘Courrier Sud’, accompanied back then by his associate and also Pierre Ghewy (who came all the way from Tahiti to participate in this Fastnet Race 2019), Antoine Carpentier and Arnaud Aubry. Naturally, it was with this same crew that he wished to participate in the race this year so as to come full circle in style, crowning things off with a victory.

“What better way to draw a line under 21 seasons on the ‘Courrier’? We know that we can always be better, but on taking stock of the situation, I realised that in our six participations in the Fastnet Race on the ‘Courrier’, there have been five victories, one of which was in the overall ranking in 2015, which is obviously a very good score”, explained Géry, who is particularly fond of the English event because of its course, its multiple difficulties and its unique atmosphere.

“In total, I’ve competed in it fifteen times. The first time, I was 18 years of age.

The crew of Courrier Recommandé celebrate yet another fine victory.
pic by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Today, I realise that I’ve aged and that it’s time to call it quits”, said Trentesaux, who is impressed by how the youngest contenders have managed to raise their game, particularly highlighting the talent of Julien Villion, the young sailor from the Morbihan in south-west Brittany, who did a sterling job calling tactics and doing the nav aboard ‘Courrier Recommandé’ this year.

“I know it’s the right time to draw a line under it. It’s true that four years ago, I’d already announced that I wanted to turn the page, but Jean-Pierre Kelbert managed to convince me to the contrary, with the release of his JKP 11.80. Today, a page is really being turned here. It’s a 20-year-old page, and in the chaos there has been ‘Courrier Sud’, ‘Courrier Nord’, ‘Courrier Vintage’, ‘Courrier Pop’, ‘Courrier du Léon’, ‘Courrier Cœur’, ‘Lady Courrier’, ‘Courrier Zen’ and ‘Courrier de Nuit’, the boat with which I competed in the Route du Rhum in 2006. So many wonderful things have happened, and this was once again true in the Rolex Fastnet Race that’s just rounded off. This 48th edition of the event was just great and we had the satisfaction of finishing three hours ahead of second place, a sistership to our boat. We really sailed well and found it hugely enjoyable”, said the businessman, who will nevertheless be staying on for a bit longer. “We plan to participate in the last RORC race in September in a bid to win the championship, followed by the Middle Sea Race and maybe the Sydney – Hobart, though that seems rather unlikely. After that, the boat will be sold. In this way, the ‘Courrier’ saga will draw to a close. A saga whose success hasn’t just been about winning races. When we set ourselves goals, we gave ourselves the means to achieve them and nearly always pulled them out of the bag. I’m really very proud to have put together a team founded on respect, competence as well as friendship”, concluded Géry Trentesaux.