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Clipper Race Skipper Olivier Cardin given special honour at French Sailing Awards

by Amy Martindale 6 Dec 2016 17:39 GMT 6 December 2016
Skipper Olivier Cardin and his team LMAX Exchange celebrate at Race Finish London © Clipper Ventures

Clipper 2015-16 Race winning skipper Olivier Cardin was recognised with a special award at last night's French Sailing Federation's flagship award ceremony, the Soiree des Champions.

The awards, held in Paris, celebrate the best French sailing performances of the year. Olivier received the accolade after becoming the first French skipper to be victorious in the race.

Receiving the award on stage, flanked by eleven of his LMAX Exchange crew, Olivier, 46, from Saint Aubin sur Mer in Normandy, said: "I am incredibly proud to receive this special award from the French Sailing Federation following the victory in the Clipper 2015-16 Race.

"This award is not only for me, but also for all the LMAX Exchange team, many who were able to join me on stage, who built the success and highly deserve to share this reward."

Adding he said: "It is excellent to have this recognition from the French Sailing community about the Clipper Race. Being French, we are always happy to win an English organised race! However I am watching carefully to see if Alex Thomson (winner of the Clipper 2000 Race) will now be able to take the English revenge in the Vendée Globe!"

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only event of its kind on the planet which trains amateur sailors to become ocean racers. The only professional on each of the twelve one-design Clipper 70 yachts is the Skipper.

40,000 nautical miles in length, the circumnavigation includes a series of fourteen races across six continents and takes almost a year to complete. Approximately 700 crew will take part in the next edition of the challenge. It is the world's biggest ocean challenge.

Inspired by Eric Tabarly, the father figure of sailing in France, Olivier, a former IT Project Manager, has a rich racing history, including two seasons match racing with French Olympic sailor and two-time Finn Gold Cup champion, Philippe Presti before joining the Clipper Race.

Attending the ceremony and congratulating Olivier on his award, Clipper Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: "Olivier was totally focused on winning the race and lead his crew competitively from the start to achieve this fantastic result. It is the first time the race has had a French skipper and I hope that Olivier's achievement inspires others to join our international group of skippers."

Olivier guided his team with purpose from the start and displayed a blend of competitive spirit and passion, winning the opening race from London to Rio de Janeiro with confidence. The team claimed podium finishes in four of the first six races, including third place in the prestigious Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which doubled as Race 5 of the series.

Overall they achieved an incredible ten podium finishes out of the fourteen races, six of which were victories. The team also scored fifteen Scoring Gate points and two Ocean Sprint points, and claimed a total tally of 152 points, which saw them take the title by four points over second place Derry~Londonderry~Doire.

To find out more about the award and Paris Boat Show, visit the French Sailing Federation website.

Would you like to take the helm in the world's largest ocean race? If you have what it takes to lead the races intrepid crew around the world on board its fleet of 70-foot ocean racers, skipper applications are accepted all year round and the race is currently recruiting for the 2017-18 and 2019-20 race editions.

To find out more and apply, click here.