À Fond Le Girafon, one of the first Figaro Beneteau 3 sailboats to arrive in North America, crossed the line of honor in Hawaii on Friday, July 20 at 1 p.m. HST, opening the finish line for the Pacific Cup 2018 and crossing first in real time. We couldn't be more proud of her fearless crew from NAOS Yachts who sailed to raise awareness and donations for ALS, a worthy cause near and dear to many hearts.
Following the race, we sat down to talk with Charles Devanneaux who captained À Fond Le Girafon.
While Charly never needs an excuse to sail competitively, he told us about the underlying reason for participating in the 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 Pacific Cup races: Charly’s best friend and former mate, Gilles Galerne, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Sadly, he lost his battle with the disease in 2013. Ever since Charly has dedicated himself to raising money to support the ALS Association Golden West Chapter and estimates his 'Sailing for ALS' efforts have raised more than $50,000 over the years.
"I love the Pacific Cup race for many reasons. From start to finish, the race takes between 7 to 12 days, which is comfortable. It's downwind, easy sailing for the most part, and I love the feeling of arriving in Hawaii with everyone welcoming the arriving boats," said Devanneaux. But the race is not always easy sailing. This year, the crew did face a difficult obstacle. “There was a big, high-pressure system with no wind in the middle of the course, so we had to take a radical route and go very far to the west to basically go around it. This was more challenging in terms of tactics this year," Charly said.
Charly is the owner of NAOS Yachts who received the new Figaro Beneteau 3 just a short time before the race. This would be her first offshore test. "We enjoyed sailing her a lot. She is just an awesome boat. She is easy to sail. She really proved to be an offshore machine," he explained. "The hull shape, hydrofoils, her long keel with the ballast - which is all the way down at 8 feet - plus the two rudders make the boat super stable. It was easy to handle too with the asymmetrical spinnaker. The boat is very powerful, and we had a lot of water over the deck." Chuckling, he offered this advice, "If you want to push the boat to the limit, you will need a good jacket!"
Since the Figaro Beneteau 3 is the first of a new generation of boats, À Fond Le Girafon was given an experimental handicap; they were in the ranking but not officially competing for the trophy. "For me, what was important was to be the first in real time to cross the finish line. I'm really thankful for the efforts of everyone who made sailing the Figaro Beneteau 3 possible in this race. I can't wait to sail her in the 50th Transpac next year when she'll be able to compete for the trophy," he said.