Harbour Masters have dreams too

Julien Lebas, Harbour Master of Le Havre with his boat “Aspergers Family”

A harbour master with a passion for boating generally means that when you arrive in a marina, the person in charge has a fairly good idea of what you need. In Le Havre, TransEurope Marinas visitors seeking a berth, can make a quick and direct reservation online and receive an immediate confirmation with a map, a place to tie up, and a full list of helpful instructions.

Back in the 90’s, Julien Lebas, Harbour Master of the Port du Plaisance du Havre (Normandy, France), had a dream to take part in the Mini Transat; a world-renowned single-handed transatlantic race, where sailors set off in 6.50m-long vessels with the barest of communications and navigational equipment on board. To test his skills, he successfully crossed the Atlantic and reached his destination using a sextant, but his Mini campaign was later thwarted at the last minute due to technical difficulties with his boat.

Undaunted, Julien then set his sights on the Transquadra, a transatlantic race that takes place every three years and is open to amateur sailors of over 40 years. Participants can sail either single or double-handed and in Julien’s case, he will be alone onboard.

He had to wait patiently until he was 40 to be able to take part, find a suitable boat – his is an Archambault A31 – and prepare it for the race. Finally ready with everything in place, the 2020 race was then postponed due to the pandemic…

The name of the boat is “Asperger Family”, reflecting the local association that Julien has chosen to support. He has direct experience of caring for a family member with Asperger Syndrome and when he was approached by the association, he was pleased to be able to help raise awareness about an issue with little public visibility, and in so doing found that promoting a cause helped give his project more meaning. Working with the association, he has taken part in workshops and events and is delighted that the members will be following the race.

The Tranquadra leaves Lorient (with a separate start from Marseille) on the 18th of August with a stopover in Madeira, home to member Quinta do Lorde Marina. The boats are then stored until January, when the fleet sets off together for the transatlantic passage across to Martinique.

With the boat safely on the hard, Julien will then have to rush back for the rest of a busy summer season in port and the build-up to the very popular Transat Jacques Vabre, departing from Le Havre in November.

We will him fair winds and a safe and successful first leg! Follow him via the race tracking or his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JulienLebasTransquadra