The Mulhousien Nicolas Boidevézi, renowned skier and navigator, has taken on the challenge of participating in the next Vendee Globe, the solo round-the-world sailing race. All his days turned towards this objective, searching for the necessary means—her ultimate dream: to be on board an Alsatian boat.
He is a sailor, skier, communicator, manager, accountant, adventurer, all at the same time. However, the Mulhousien Nicolas Boidevézi would see himself as a full-time skipper, aboard a tall ship, in the IMOCA class if possible, crossing the oceans in the most exclusive famous races. After having made all his classes on boats of 6.50 m, he would like to see bigger, start this fall on the Route du Rhum, take part next year in the Transat Jacques Vabre and reach, in two years, the Grail by taking the start of the Vendée Globe.
Today, it is still a dream domain, that childhood dream born one day near Reiningue where a teacher had organized a sailing class. Or on the Île de Ré side, where his grandparents took him on vacation.
Crossing the Atlantic, in a nutshell, was a kid’s dream.
The dream, the young Mulhousien of 32 years, often sought to make it a reality, with individual happiness. A snow sports enthusiast, coming out of his teenage years, he wanted to ski and sail, his two passions, his job. He was no sooner said than done. After high school, head to the Creps de Poitou-Charentes in La Rochelle, where he obtains a state certificate in sailing. He then attended the Staps de Lyon to get the same diploma in alpine skiing. For six years, he was then seasonal, spending the winter on the slopes and the summer on the sea while continuing his training. Gifted, he even participates in freeride skiing competitions, with particular success, since in 2008 he was among the top 40 in the world. These six years, during which I played on both counts, taught me a lot of things, in terms of communication, marketing, search for sponsors, business in professional sport, he underlines.
Even if he’s having a blast in the mountains, he wants to see the bigger picture, to find himself one day alone in the middle of the ocean, facing the elements and himself. “Crossing the Atlantic, in a nutshell, was a bit of a kid’s dream.” Always the dream, we said.
In 2008, he found a partner, GDE Recyclage, a recycling company, with whom he signed a three-year contract for two transatlantic races on the mini-class circuit. It was an ultra-efficient boat, in carbon, at the cutting edge of technology, a small Formula 1. Little by little, it made a name for itself in the community, finished 7th in the Transat La Rochelle – Salvador de Bahia in 2009, 11th in 2011, which gives him a huge desire to persevere in the field. In 2012, he won the return leg from Sables-d’Olonne – Acores – Sables-d’Olonne, before finishing 3rd in the Mini-transat (Douarnenez – Pointe-a-Pitre) aboard Natur’Addict, first significant partnership with an Alsatian company, Solinest, based in Brunstatt, as well as with Corderie Meyer-Sansboeuf, which has trusted it since 2011.
I want to take the Alsatians to the ocean.
Because the boy, in love with nature, the Vosges, Alsace, has another dream: to take Alsace to the ocean, to create bridges between the Rhine plain and the distant seas. “My roots and my heart are in Alsace, he smiles. I am very attached to the values I grew up by. Without wanting to be chauvinistic, they are different from other regions. I want to take the Alsatians to the ocean, to get them out of their comfort zone, to convey Alsatian skills beyond the usual catchment. I want to participate in the influence of the Alsatian territory. He is already an ambassador for the Alsace brand and would one day appreciate seeing Sébastien Loeb or Thierry Omeyer become the godfather of his future boat.
Because after the adventure in the mini-class, Nicolas Boidevezi wants to take a new step, with the desire to come and thrill the big names in sailing on their favorite playground. I need a challenge, a new challenge. Never stingy with ambitions, he is now aiming for nothing less than the 2016 Vendée Globe, the ultimate in ocean racing. “The 2012 edition had an incredible impact on the general public in terms of notoriety, he recalls. The message is, therefore, easy to get across. To be at the start, you need a budget of between 1 and 1.5 million euros. It might sound like a lot, but in ocean racing, this event has, without doubt, the best value for money. In terms of economic benefits, the price/investment ratio is beautiful. Being at the start with an Alsatian project, with an Alsatian boat, would be fantastic, even more motivating.
It’s pure and hard, daring entrepreneurship
So, for months, after having created a Sarl based in Mulhouse, the young Alsatian has launched headlong into this somewhat crazy project. His daily life is limited to the phone, to emails, to the car, to increasing the number of meetings to try to seduce potential partners or to intervene in a certain number of events as an ambassador. It has become a bit of my profession, he says, although he would probably prefer to sail and train for future competitions. He is also thinking of having a base camp near Lorient, which has become the central pole of ocean racing. I have acquired a certain notoriety in the industry; I am now recognized among the Bretons; I have proven myself. This Vendée Globe project is also very rich in a personal capacity because I was a company manager, marketing director, communications director before being a skipper. It’s difficult because I find myself facing myself; there are not many people to accompany you. It’s pure and hard, daring entrepreneurship!
Nothing says he will tame an 18-meter boat, that he will be at the start of the next Vendée Globe. His stuffed stork, which accompanies him on all races, is ready to take to the sea. Nicolas Boidevezi, for his part, wants to follow his dream to the end. Alsatian faith.