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back to the roots


back to the roots

I just read your article about the Route Du Rhum from the other day, and I agree with most of your points about why sailing is so popular here in France, but you forget one extremely important factor:  Les Glénans!

Let me explain. Les Glénan islands are a bunch of sand banks and rocks off southern Brittany coast.  After World War 2, a couple of journalist/resistance members from the Alps – Hélène & Philippe Viannay – decided to do something that might help young people who’d been ruined by the war. As they had connections with some of the many résistants from Brittany, they decided to create a sea & sailing camp on Glénan.

As is common these days but was rare back then, the Viannays wanted to involve kids in sailing as a lifestyle: From building and maintaining the boats to active crewing and teaching, to skippering on your own. “Les Glénans” became a way of sailing life, and it is still the largest European sailing school from Ireland to Corsica. 

But that is not all that Philippe and Hélène accomplished.  As journalists and writers, they decided to put together a sailing guide not based on the typical ‘yachtsmanship,’ but on their experience as the founders of Les Glénans.  The first ‘Cours Des Glénans’ was printed in 1952, and the 7th edition was released this year.  where active refounders of the french press (France Soir formerly the largest french popular NP or the liberal weekly Nouvel Observateur) & the creator of the first french journalism school, the CFJ.

As journalists and writers they decided to edit a sailing guide not based on the usual yachtsmanship but on their experience with the sailing school, the first "Cours des Glenans" was edited in 1952 and the 7th édition has just been released this year.  I don’t know if a single French skipper has ever cruised without “Les Cours” in easy reach!

Henry Desjoyeaux – the father – was the school’s technical manager long before he launched CDK boatyard with his elder sons.

Tabarly used to say that the most important thing in sailing development was not his victories; it was Les Glénans. 

Bravo for your Anarchy, hope to correct this small oversight from a cold France!

-Loic