Eric Tabarly

An inspiration to distance sailors

Paul Mello

A one-time French naval officer from Breton, France, Tabarly (1933-1998) sailed a succession of boats named Pen Duick into the history books over three decades of ocean racing and record setting. His list of distance-racing victories is staggering, and includes: The Channel Race, Turn of Gotland, Sydney Hobart (1967); San Francisco-Tokyo (1969); Falmouth-Gibraltar, Middle Sea Race (1971); Transpac (1972); First to beat Charlie Barr's Transatlantic record (1980, on Paul Ricard); Fastnet Race (1997 on Aquitaine Innovations). He also sailed in the first edition of the Whitbread in 1973, and again in 1994.

One can safely say that his influence on generations of French sailors is at least partially responsible for their present world domination of the sport of single-handed and multihull sailing.