THIBAUT LEFEVERE – REGISTRED GLOBE40
THIBAUT LEFEVERE – REGISTRED GLOBE40
Thibaut Lefevere registered for Globe40 2025, talks about his sailing carrer, his professional life on Reunion Island and his 100% reunionnaise project for the 2nd edition of the race around the world.
Before looking ahead to the Globe40 2025, could you tell us about your sailing career and your past experiences?
I’ve been sailing since I was a kid, starting with the 420 and the Hobie 16 when I was a child in Quiberon Bay. I also did a training at Les Glénans with a view to going on a 1-year cruise around the Atlantic in 2012. We spent quite a bit of time in the West Indies before finishing in the Mediterranean via Gibraltar. It was a year-long trip that was pretty incredible, where I really learnt how to sail and travel. I never really got out of there. Ten years later, once I’d settled in Reunion Island with my wife and children, I really wanted to set off again and take on a new challenge, and that’s when I said to myself, why not take part in the Transat Jacques Vabre 2021? Through this project, I was able to take part in some great races like the CIC Normandy Channel Race and finish with this transatlantic race. It was a really new experience, because ocean racing has nothing to do with cruising. I learnt on a daily basis from great skippers like Sébastien Marsset, Louis Duc and François Angoulvant, who was also my preparator. It was a great exchange, there was a lot of sharing and that enabled me to make a lot of progress and manage to see my project through to the end.
You’ve been based on Reunion Island for a many year. What is your professional activity as manager of the Boiscom company?
I trained as a carpenter. When I arrived in Reunion Island, I set up on my own, so I started with a fairly traditional route. I put a few tools in my car and set off to do small jobs here and there. One thing led to another and the company evolved. Today, my company has been in existence for 8 years and we have 9 employees. We mainly do traditional carpentry and timber-frame houses. We do a lot of exterior fittings and also work such as staircases, parquet flooring and interior furniture.
You took part in two editions of the CIC Normandy Channel Race and the Transat Jacques Vabre 2021. What do you remember about these two seasons in Class40 and what made you want to pursue your career in ocean racing?
The first thing I remember is that ocean racing is an easy ride! Offshore racing is a very committed activity, and setting up a project requires rigour, knowledge and know-how about sailing and the weather. It also requires a lot of physical training. These two years on the Class40 circuit have taught me to surpass myself and it’s this challenge that I want to find again on the next ocean races that I’m going to do. I want to rediscover that feeling of surpassing myself.
I’ll probably be setting off again one day with my family on a round-the-world voyage and there’s nothing better than ocean racing for learning and being serene as a family on the water in the four corners of the world.
Let’s talk about the Globe40, where you’re entered in the 2nd edition. How did you get the idea of taking part in this round-the-world race?
It’s a story that goes back to 2020 when I met Manfred Ramspacher (the organiser of the Globe40) on the pontoons of the CIC Normandy Channel Race. We had the opportunity to talk about this race, which I already found very interesting. I whispered in his ear that the race absolutely had to make a stopover on Reunion Island! That’s when the project started to take shape. In my mind, if Reunion Island was to become a stopover in the Globe40, I absolutely had to put together a project that was 100% Réunionese.
There were initial discussions between the organiser and local partners and then, after an initial scouting of the area, things accelerated, both in terms of Reunion Island becoming a stopover and in terms of my sporting project.
Reunion Island officially became a stopover in the Globe40 in the Indian Ocean yesterday – you can imagine how proud you are to see your adopted island associated with such an event?
I’m very proud to have contributed to Reunion Island becoming a stopover on the Globe40. To be able to put Reunion Island on a map around the world and ensure that this destination becomes a major venue for ocean racing makes me very happy. I hope that this will help to develop sailing on the island. The Indian Ocean is an incredible playground and the conditions are incredible for sailing. I hope that this event will showcase the know-how of the people of Reunion Island.
Reunion Island is better known as a volcanic island, a trekking paradise. Is it important for you to contribute to the development of marine industry?
Yes, of course. I hope that our participation in the Globe40 via the Class40 Freedom and the Réunionese team will encourage the Réunionese to sail more, to take part in ocean races like the Tour of the Vanilla Islands and that this will further develop sailing in Reunion Island.
How far have you got in preparing your project? Can we assume that you’ll be putting together a 100% Réunion crew?
The idea is clearly to have a 100% Reunionese crew. Today, from a sporting point of view, we’ve decided on 6 skippers, as this race offers the possibility of changing skipper at each leg. I also want this project to be 100% Reunionese in terms of financing. We’re essentially looking for local partners to promote the Reunion Island on all the seas of the world.
The project is going very well at the moment, as we’re half way through our budget with two years to go before the start. There’s a real enthusiasm from the sponsors for this race, for this Réunionese project, and I’m very proud of that. There are 9 of us working on the project at the moment (2 communication people / 2 management people / 5 skippers). I’m quite happy with the way the project is organised, we’re active and in a good dynamic.
We won’t give up until the start of the Globe40.
I imagine that you followed the 1st edition of the race very closely. What do you remember about it and what was the highlight for you?
Rounding the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn obviously left their mark on me. For several days, the competitors had to contend with some very tough conditions. What I’ll take away from this 1st edition is the adventure, the sharing, the opportunity to discover new cultures… Racing around the world makes me dream. The Globe40 is the first major Class40 race around the world that is still accessible. You really shouldn’t hesitate to join the race and try to set up a project. It’s incredible to have the opportunity to race on all the seas of the world.