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BPGO, from the Figaro circuit to the Vendée Globe

While Banque Populaire is committed to the skipper Armel Le Cleac'h, who won the Vendée Globe in 2016 with the Bank and still holds the record for the fastest race time, Banque Populaire Grand Ouest completes the national commitment by bringing its sponsorship policy to the Grand Ouest, as close as possible to those involved in sailing, by supporting events in the region, from amateur races to the most demanding of all ocean races, the Vendée Globe.

Élodie Bonnafous et Alexis Loison sur le Trophée BPGO en 2022
Élodie Bonnafous et Alexis Loison sur le Trophée BPGO en 2022
© Alexis Courcoux

On 18 May, the start of the Trophée Banque Populaire Grand Ouest - a double-handed Figaro race - will be given from Concarneau. This circuit is renowned as a springboard for sailors on their way to the greatest careers. All the winners of the Vendée Globe, with the exception of Titouan Lamazou, have taken part! Among the new generation of skippers powered by the Figaro is Élodie Bonafous, who is currently building her ‘generation 2028’ IMOCA at MerConcept. The sailor is making her mark on the Figaro circuit - the only one-design ocean racing circuit - and is competing in her 5th season: ‘In this circuit, you want to challenge yourself and go beyond your limits. You learn rigour, you get to know yourself and your limits... It's gold for the future, for building an IMOCA project and even in life! His sponsor, Queguiner, first signed up alongside him in the Figaro in 2022 before launching a Vendée Globe 2028 project.

The 28-year-old skipper has just returned from injury, but started the season by winning the Trophée Laura Vergne double-handed with Corentin Horeau. The sailor will be competing in the BPGO Trophy with this same team-mate, who won the Solitaire du Figaro 2023, the circuit's flagship race, flying the colours of... Banque Populaire! This season, he will be sailing - among other sails - on the Ultim Banque Populaire as Armel Le Cleac'h's crew member. A co-skipper of choice for Élodie: "I chose Corentin because he's the best. We're a strong pair! In the BPGO Trophy, we're going for victory," says the Queguiner's sailor.

Aiming for the 2028 Vendée Globe

The days are busy for Élodie, who intends to perform well on the Figaro circuit this season, without getting too caught up in the construction of her IMOCA. The boat is due to be launched at the start of 2025, which should guarantee her optimum preparation time before the 2028 Vendée Globe: "I've always followed the Vendée Globe. When I was a little girl, it fascinated me and made me dream. When I started sailing at a high level, I followed it a little differently, I started to take an interest in the differences between the boats, the strategies...". There's no doubt that this Vendée Globe 2024 will be a little different: "I'm going to follow it very closely, I'm going to look at the performance of each boat, the options, do some routing to learn a little more about the weather on a global scale," confides Élodie.

While Élodie's route to the Vendée Globe 2028 seems to be fully mapped out, Corentin has been sailing on a number of different boats this season, but is also dreaming of the Vendée Globe. He took his first step into the IMOCA Class by competing in the last Transat Jacques Vabre with Benjamin Dutreux, a candidate for the 2024 Vendée Globe: "I really enjoyed this IMOCA transatlantic race. I think that for me, 2028 would be the ideal time to take part in the Vendée Globe," says Corentin. Élodie laughs: "Of course, we talk about it amongst ourselves, we'd love to be competing on the IMOCA circuit in 2025!"

The new generation, having cut their teeth in various races supported by loyal players such as the BPGO, are likely to make a real splash in the 2028 Vendée Globe!


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