Just completing the Monaco Globe Series with co-skipper Pierre Quiroga of the CEM – the Centre d’Entraînement Méditerranée – aboard her 4MyPlanet2 which is the IMOCA formerly of Roman Attanasio. She bought the boat a couple of months ago with the express aim of being at the start of the 2020 Vendée Globe on November 8th. Making it to the line would swell the ranks of women to at least two and possibly three alongside Sam Davies and possibly Isabelle Joschke who has just finished second in the Monaco Globe race in the Mediterranean.
She has her ways and her means and her way of life. She is an eternal optimist, a sense of wanderlust and of contact, and an infectious enthusiasm. She travels 50 days of the year and sails 180 days. She sails on Maxi yachts, in 6 Metres, on old classics, and match races. She is a Figaro racer with some successes under her belt, she was third in the Transat AG2R in 2014. She goes where she wants on boats – big and small - where she is made welcome and where she is invited. For the last 20 years she has been moving heaven and earth to fulfil her sailing projects, while at home in Antibes she has many friends and fans who she has met along the way.
“They told me I could take care of making the sandwiches”
She has always been crazy about ocean racing. It all began when she was three on the family’s cruiser. At the age of twelve, she was struck by a TV documentary about round the world sailing. With this growing passion, there was also a question of honour: “I was seventeen and watching a Wally race. I asked if I could go aboard and I was told that the best I could get would be a job making sandwiches. That encouraged me to prove that I could do something and that led to the Mini Transat.”
Twenty years later, the member of the Monaco Yacht Club has sailed around the oceans, but still keeps true to that basic, grass roots side that she had when racing 6.50s. She manages to move from one thing to another showing great agility. She never hesitates to get her hands dirty, while at the same time wears nail varnish; she can walk around in her bare feet in the harbour, but then put on high heels for an evening gala. She is able to discuss business with a group of business leaders but also jumping right in when a project interests her.
“I give it my all so I don’t have any regrets”
Above all she never tires. “I organise a lot of meetings to talk about my projects and make lots of appointments. It’s part of the skipper’s job to be available for that type of thing. You need to keep at it to keep building your network and establishing contacts, in order to get a result. I give it my all so that the projects work out and I don’t have any regrets. If I keep running around everywhere, it’s to see my dream come true.”
She has set up her shore base in Concarneau, at Kairos, Roland Jourdain’s unit. But for the time being, her budget is the bare minimum for the start of the adventure. With the Monaco Globe Series, her first race on her home turf, “the idea is to get as many supporters joining us as possible,” she explained.
She is using the model of a business club and crowdfunding – creating a huge network of business leaders with a very reasonable contribution from each. “Today, thirty companies from France, Monaco and Britain have joined the project each contributing 3000 euros. New are trying to find 300 to complete the annual budget for the project until the start… unless I manage to find a headline partner.”
At the same time, Barrier is committed to several causes: the environment, women, health and even migrants, as her boat is due to display the colours of SOS Mediterranean for her Route du Rhum qualifier this summer. “I’m not trying to give myself a label,” she declared, when asked about the many different messages she conveys. “I try to be useful to a range of causes. Sometimes that can be a one-off. I want to defend a global project around which we can develop the educational, scientific, and teaching aspects. We want to establish a citizen’s project, which encourages people to see their dream come true. I’d say it’s not because you are not the most beautiful or the strongest that you can’t succeed.”
Recently, she acquired Bluetooth earplugs to be able to do odd jobs, sporting activities and speak on the phone at the same time. Not merely looking ahead to 2020, she is already talking about the 2024 race. ”One day, I’ll be calmer, but for the moment, I want to do so many things that now is not the time to ease off.”