Soirée des Champions, la voile à l’honneur

Wednesday, 8 december 2021

The French Sailing Federation, in partnership with Banque Populaire, staged the traditional Soirée des Champions (‘Champions Night’) in Paris’ Olympia concert hall on December 6, providing an opportunity to pay tribute to the sailors who have accomplished outstanding achievements on all the seas and oceans of the world over the past year.

Despite the ongoing health crisis, 2021 has been a good year for sailing with the staging of a whole series of outstanding sporting events. The public has been able to share the emotions of the Vendée Globe, enjoy the thrills of the Olympic Games, join in the excitement of major transatlantic races, embrace the thrills and spills of the French teams as they compete in international events, and be proud of their fellow countrymen and countrywomen as they mount the podiums in competitions around the world.

From Olympic medalists to fearless contestants in ocean races (including specialists in regattas, light sailing, and new flying boats), from the so-important sailing coaches to the talented young hopefuls of the future, the year has brought us a wealth of triumphs that, together, illustrate the tremendous dynamism of French sailing. By celebrating these 29 award-winners yesterday, the ‘Champions Night’ paid tribute to all the different dimensions of sailing, a sport that Banque Populaire is proud to have been supporting for more than 30 years.

Among the sailors awarded ‘Champions Trophies,’ we naturally find a great many athletes supported by the Banques Populaires in their day-to-day lives:

  • Charline Picon (Banque Populaire Aquitaine-Centre-Atlantique): silver medalist at the Olympic Games, European champion, and 3rd in the world RS:X championships,
  • Thomas Goyard (Banque Populaire Méditerranée): Olympic silver medalist in the RS:X event,
  • Camille Lecointre (Banque Populaire / French Team) and Aloise Retornaz (Banque Populaire / French Team): Olympic bronze medallists and European champions in the 470 category,
  • Kevin Peponnet (Banque Populaire Méditerranée) and Jérémie Mion (Banque Populaire Méditerranée): European champions in the 470 category,
  • Hélène Noesmen (Banque Populaire Grand Ouest): World and European champion in the iQFoiL class,
  • Nicolas Goyard (Banque Populaire Méditerranée): World and European champion in the iQFoiL class,
  • Axel Mazella (Banque Populaire Méditerranée): European champion and 2nd in the world kite sailing championships.

And to round off the evening, Yannick Bestaven, winner of the Vendée Globe, was awarded the special prize for the ‘Sailor of the Year 2021,’ presented by Bertrand Magnin, Director of Development at Banque Populaire.

2022 already promises to be a fine sailing year with many events already scheduled, including the legendary Route du Rhum race in which Armel Le Cléac’h and the Maxi Banque Populaire XI will be setting sail from Saint-Malo on November 6!

To learn more about the Champions Night awards, click HERE


Photo credit: FFVoile