At only 23 and 24 years old, Pierre-Louis Attwell and Calliste Antoine are getting ready for their first Transatlantic crossing together. They’ll be at the starting line of the Jacques Vabre in their Class 40 on 27 October. The famous offshore race has been following the ‘coffee route’ since 1993 between Le Havre and Salvator de Bahia in Brazil.
Suffering from Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease which affects the digestive system) from the age of 16, Pierre-Louis ATTWELL set himself the challenge of raising public awareness of this little-known disease and as a way of raising hope for those with the disease.
In 2017, he started the “Vogue avec un Crohn” (“navigate with Crohn’s”) project, with the aim of achieving sporting challenges through yachting. The Figaro solo race, the Normandy Channel Race and now the Jacques Vabre, nothing can stop this young man from Honfleur.
“I’m very happy and proud to have reached this point, lots of work, seeking out partners, training, preparatory races. The Transat is the culmination of all this work. I’m really happy to be taking part.” Pierre-Louis.
A “super experience” that he’s sharing with his co-skipper, Calliste (originally from Granville). The two young Normans met during their first attempt at the Figaro solitary race, two years ago.
“We grew up together in offshore racing, discovering at the same time the difficulties of this sport and today we form a very complimentary team.” Pierre-Louis.
Calliste has already undertaken a transatlantic crossing during the 2016 Transat Québec Saint-Malo. He joined the ‘Vogue avec un Crohn’ project a year and a half ago. He’s “very excited” at the idea of leaving to conquer this ocean again.
“Very early on we spoke about his disease, and I understood that it wouldn’t be a problem for the Transat… Our aim first of all is to finish the race, to be honourable on the board with our boat and to aim to be higher up the classification than other boats of the same generation.” Calliste.
The two young Normans are very proud to carry the Norman leopards of the Normandy Regional Council on their sails (class 40 135), they’ve decided to keep to represent their Normandy, even on the other side of the world.
“We’re always in the middle of the wonder of the region, with the Mont-Saint-Michel, Chausey… we pass our lives between the ports of Granville, Cherbourg, Ouistreham and Le Havre. So, yes, we’re firmly attached to Normandy, and it gives us a sense of pride to demonstrate that on our sails.” Calliste