Fitness & Training

Focussing on the high level sport of sailing

The sport of sailing is a discipline in its own right, which is conducted at the highest levels. Discover the big names in this demanding water sport and sample some of their passion by following the most popular sailors’ Instagram accounts.

Sailing, more than a sport, is a passion

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Sailing is a complete sport which requires extensive theoretical knowledge of the currents, the weather, the tides and winds… This discipline requires both physical effort and great mental fortitude, something which makes it a sport for enthusiasts, who do it at a very high level!

As a competitive sport, nautical sailing also has a strategic aspect. Sailors must make the right decisions from the start of the race in order to complete their route within the fastest time.

The art of sailing at a high level: from leisure to sporting challenge

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Wind-powered sailing boats have been around for several centuries to transport people or goods. Indeed, sailing regattas were put on as early as the 17th century in England. Pleasure yachts developed on both sides of the Atlantic in the 19th century and yachting took off to become first as a way of life and then a sporting discipline.

The first international race took place in 1851: a schooner named America crossed the Atlantic Ocean to arrive in England, winning a race which would later take the name of the America’s Cup. Present among the Olympic disciplines since 1900, sport sailing involves ever lighter and more efficient boats, true technological feats in their own right.

Sailors have become more professional since those times, too, learning to make the most of the elements. This sport requires a long physical and mental preparation, as well as a good tactical awareness and strong nerves. The discipline has seen cult sportsmen come to the fore, whose names are still remembered, while the performances of current sailors are followed on their Instagram and social networks now more than ever before:

  • Éric Tabarly marked the apex of French sailing history since 1964, when he won the English single-handed Transat in 1997, during the Transat Jacques-Vabre, before his disappearance at sea in 1998.
  • Damien Seguin was the first disabled skipper to participate in the Vendée Globe. With 2 Olympic medals and 5 world sailing championship titles to his name, he is a model and actively supports the good causes with fundraising activities.
  • In 2005, at only 28 years of age, Ellen MacArthur became the first woman to complete a round-the-world solo trimaran in less than 100 days.
  • More recently, Alex Thomson was named the favourite of the racing world, and the most followed sailor on social networks, for his 4th involvement in the Vendée Globe. Even being present on Tik Tok, according to a study carried out just before the start of the race, the British sailor gathered more than a third of the Vendée Globe’s subscribers in 2020-2021.

A sporting discipline for everyone and that fascinates all generations, sport sailing is very popular on social networks. Some of the Instagram sailors to follow in Europe include Boris Hermann, a German, and Clarisse Crémer from France. Their subscribers can live with them during their adventures on the web day after day for months on end. This unique proximity to some of its athletes explains the special place this sport occupies in the hearts of fans.

Sport sailing: legendary races of all types

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There are several categories of nautical sailing races:

  • Inshore races: with courses that lie close to the coast, these nautical competitions include, for example, regattas of the classic fleet style, where 5 up to several dozen boats have a circuit to complete in a limited time (generally less than a week). There are also match races which are organised in a 1 against 1 format.
  • Offshore races: during these offshore races, which are carried out either with a crew or solo, it is a matter of reaching a defined point, with or without any validated milestones along the way. Transatlantic races are the most famous of this kind: the Route du Rhum, the Vendée Globe, the English Transat, the Quebec-Saint-Malo Transat…
  • Stage races or regattas: this type of competition takes place in several stages, with different starting and finishing points. The Tour de France à la Voile ( or TFV as it is known) as well as other races around the world, such as The Ocean Race, are organised in stages.
  • Sailing as a discipline of the Olympic Games: regattas or 1 against 1 races are contested individually or in crews. On board so-called Olympic series boats, such as catamarans, single or double dinghies they may also have mixed crews… So-called Olympic sailing boats evolve with the times and are distinguished by technological progress.

Whether they are by the coast or offshore, sailed for leisure or in competition, sporting sailing boats and their legendary sailors have not finished making us dream! While waiting for the sport sailing events of the Tokyo Olympics, follow the progress of the most famous sailors on Instagram by subscribing to their profile.

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