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Our portraits: Eric Péron

Member of the French Touch Oceans Club, Royal Mer has supported and followed the offshore racing projects of an exceptional sailor for 3 years already. For the 3rd portrait of...

Member of the French Touch Oceans Club, Royal Mer has supported and followed the offshore racing projects of an exceptional sailor for 3 years already. For the 3rd portrait of our Royal Mer ambassadors, we are proud to let you (re)discover our skipper, Eric Péron, ranked 4th in the Route du Rhum 2022 in the Ocean Fifty class. Talented and determined skipper, in love with his native Brittany, the ocean and everything that floats there... Meet him!

Hello Eric! For those who don't know you yet, could you briefly introduce yourself?

Hello everyone ! My name is Éric Péron, 41 years old and I have been a professional skipper for almost 20 years now. When I'm not in the water, I live in Ploneour-Lanvern in Finistère (29) where I live with my wife, my daughter and my 9 Ouessant sheep!

Royal Mer draws its inspiration from Brittany, and we imagine that you do too. Can you tell us what this region represents for you?

For me, Brittany is a separate territory: you don't pass through it, you come there!
This is even more true for Pointe Finistère, it is the end of the end, the end of the earth, it is a rather “protected” space. Being able to live there is a great privilege for me. The living environment is extraordinary: we enjoy a climate without major variations (neither too hot nor too cold). Of course it's a little humid in winter but personally I like this marked seasonality. I love Breton nature, both "Armor" and "Argoat". We have everything in Brittany in fact. I obviously love the sea, the very varied coastline, the fact that at each little point we discover a new landscape... But I also love the countryside, the forest, the paths full of slush in winter.. The quality of life there is incredible, far from the big cities, quite peaceful, simpler perhaps but for me, more serene.

Eric and his Roland sweater

What is the Breton character for you?

I come from the Bigouden country, a country within a country (smile). It must be admitted that people here are a little gruff; very warm, very welcoming but not always at first glance. Here, you have to be worthy of friendship, earn trust, but once it is established, it is unwavering and you are welcomed with open arms like family. I traveled a lot in France or abroad through my Olympic or ocean racing journey and I always had the feeling that, when I returned to Brittany, I felt good again.

Life at sea and offshore racing are subjects that fascinate us. How does it feel to manage a multihull in the middle of the ocean alone, a little stressful?

Indeed, the multihull is by nature quite stressful because it can turn over. Throughout our career we learn this slowly by gradually moving the cursor of our stress threshold until we succeed in inhibiting it or at least taming it. Often, experience, the fact of having already experienced the situation, of being in the known, allows us to better understand the events. The method, for me, is to look for these situations in training to unlock the fear and therefore the stress that could be associated with them. Afterwards, there is the stress of competition that we also give ourselves in relation to a result, an objective. I think this is not really my case; in any case, it is being prepared and awareness is surely the first phase of defusing stress.

We were wondering, how do you manage your sleep on board?

We need a physiological minimum of 4 to 5 hours of sleep per day spread over 24 hours in increments of approximately 20 minutes. Solo, sleep is always a little tricky to manage, but then again, I have followed a lot of training. In certain conditions, you cannot go to sleep as this would affect performance. This is the case if you are waiting for a shift, a rotation, the passage of a front or if there is calm! It is often in light winds that gaps occur. There, we have immense brain activity and all the senses are alert.

On the other hand, a sustained or regular wind is conducive to sleep. We make sure that the boat can go quickly on its own and we take off for 15/20 minutes. This is just enough time to rest without reducing muscle tone. If possible, we take naps one after another: I go to bed for 17 minutes, woken up either by the timer or by an alarm, I check the settings and other parameters, and if everything is ok, with stable conditions, I return to nap .

Have you ever had hallucinations and do you have a funny one to tell?

Ah ah yes, several times! Often, for me, it starts with auditory hallucinations: all it takes is a noise for my ear to associate it with music... Afterwards, it's gone, the radio is on, finally... right in my head !

The next stage is visual. In the same way, a wave, an algae or a cloud can transform into something known. Once, a gasoline can sitting on a rail looked like the silhouette of a cat. I got it into my head that there was a cat on board, so I looked everywhere for it! I learned gradually to manage this, to have some sort of alerts.

The body is like a battery that only drains throughout the race. You must therefore charge it well before departure and save it afterwards. You shouldn't be overzealous either because, if you pull too much, lucidity is lost and stupid things happen, inattention, lack of strategy, or even worse.... In a trimaran, lucidity, and therefore rest, are still more important. Having a routing cell on land takes away some of the mental load to concentrate on piloting.

Going solo offshore racing today also means being a good businessman. How was your “Entrepreneur – Manager” side built over time and through your different experiences?

I think I had this entrepreneurial/manager streak very early and almost naturally. From my Olympic years, with my brother, in 470, it was me who managed the budgets, the logistics, who went looking for sponsors. The process logically continued when I moved to Figaro, then throughout my career. Living from your passion is of course very exhilarating but not always easy: you have to give yourself the means to succeed, above all, by financing your projects. This requires developing your entrepreneurial skills: looking for solutions, convincing, sharing your experiences, your vision, your passion...

How is the team (French Touch Oceans Club) that works with you organized?

We have a central cocoon, made up of 4 people: Christophe BOUTET (project manager), Fanny EVENAT (partnerships manager) and Aurélie AUBRON (media woman) and myself. Everyone has their own company, but works together for our project. This cocoon is reinforced by independents who work either freelance or on a longer-term basis. We could cite the members of my precious technical team with the boat captain, Damien LE TEXIER, assisted by Elliot LE DEM or the Com team. I will not forget here the members of the French Touch Oceans Club of which Royal Mer is a part.

Even if everyone is independent, it still remains a team, made up of many people and as many individuals. The most important thing for me is that everyone moves forward with a common goal: the success of the project for which I am at the helm! What I appreciate is everyone's involvement. I like people to take charge in my adventure. For my part, I have a perception of what needs to be done, the objectives to be achieved and everyone will combine this vision with their own qualities and skills.

We were able to see you in the company of other slightly crazy Breton surfers ( Lost in the Swell ) teasing beautiful waves in Patagonia. What would be your best session for you?

It's not the biggest wave I've surfed but it's legendary: it's Belharra !
We're not going to get carried away, it was a little Belharra. There were about ten of us in the water. I tried to paddle 2 or 3 waves without really succeeding in getting going. And at the end of the session, I managed to catch a wave. Once you are on it, and you have the avalanche about 10 meters to your right which makes a monstrous noise, you say to yourself: “there, really, I must not fall”! It lasts 20 to 25 seconds, it's a huge adrenaline rush and you immediately want to take another one but, after that, there were never any other waves, it was the last of the day .

I've had the chance to travel the world and surf quite a few waves around the planet. Basically, wherever sailing takes me, I go surfing: California, Costa Rica, Hawaii... I also went to Patagonia on the Maewan boat with the boys from "Lost in the Swell": we surfed a wave , far from everything, lost in the middle of nowhere, 300 km from any home. I think there are maybe 5 of us in the world who have surfed it: obviously, it has a magical side!

Without going to the ends of the earth, my last big wave session was on a spot called Basse Bouline under the Eckhmül lighthouse. It was great: there was a good 4 meters, there were 8 of us in the water, only local stars (Thomas Joncour, Ian Fontaine, Ronan Chatain) and me! I caught a few waves, maybe not the best but at my level, it was already great.

What are your sailing plans for the future?

I would like to launch a major new project: line up at the start of the ARKEA Ultim Challenge in Brest on January 7, 2024, the very first solo around the world race, in an Ultim 32/23 . This is the most extreme challenge ever undertaken in racing: a solo circumnavigation of the world, in a 32/23 ultimate. I have already reserved the boat, now I need the partner(s) who will accompany me in this project and who will allow me to carry it out… Attention companies with a pioneering spirit, therefore!

Last question, if you had a sweater to choose from us to accompany you around the world, which one would it be?

The Adrian of course! The ultimate sailor sweater. I've been wearing one for three years now, and it doesn't move, a real ally for keeping warm at sea.

Plain Abyss Blue sailor sweater with buttons on left shoulder and badge on left sleeve
Adrian Abysse sweater


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