Stéphane Le Diraison’s career as an ocean racer took off when he moved to Paris. Something of a paradox for this pure Breton, originally from Hennebont (Morbihan), who began to sail before he could walk. Just a few months old, he used to go aboard the family’s boat every weekend and the sea was a natural part of his environment. It’s not surprising that he began solo sailing at a very young age at around 15. Before he moved into the sixth form, he had renovated an old 6m boat that had been abandoned on the mud flats and started delivery trips aboard her. Spain, Portugal, the Canaries, the Balearics: Stéphane clocked up the miles and experience on various types of boat, sailing solo.
At the same time, he raced with a crew, in particular in Class 8. In Lorient, his neighbours on the pontoon were Alain Gautier, the winner of the 92-93 Vendée Globe and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede. He began to look forward to taking part one day in the Vendée Globe. Stéphane Le Diraison would do anything to get there always applying rigour and method, as you would expect from an engineer. Gradually he moved up taking it one step at a time. He started with the Mini Transat in a series boat in 2007, finishing in second place. Two years later, he was back in the race again, but this time on a prototype (4th place).
Stéphane knew where he wanted to go and nothing would stop him. After moving to Paris, he got the support of Bureau Veritas, which is also his employer, and of his new home town, Boulogne-Billancourt. Competing in the Class 40 circuit after 2010, he soon got good results, including a win in the Les Sables-Horta-Les Sables in 2011. His 2014 Route du Rhum showed his total commitment. After ripping his solent early in the race, he climbed back up through the fleet to finish in 4th place in Guadeloupe.
Now the lucky owner of a 60-foot IMOCA – his tenth boat! – Stéphane Le Diraison will be at the start of the race of his dreams on 6th November 2016. Already an achievement. An experienced solo sailor, he also has a thorough technical knowledge, so has got what it takes to achieve his second major ambition: to complete the Vendée Globe in less than 90 days.