Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pascal Vaudé Wins The 2012 Bouvet-Guyane Rowing Race

While we have heard a lot about the Atlantic oar-powered crossing between the Canary Islands and Barbados, HTBS’s Hélène Rémond reports about a fairly new rowing race between Senegal and French Guiana, or Guyane, which actually has a rowing boat in its coat of arms. Hélène writes,

On January 29, the third edition of the 27,000 km-long Bouvet-Guyane rowing race set off from Dakar in Senegal. The “teaser trailer” below gives you an idea how physically and mentally demanding the adventure was for the 23 rowers, who rowed in identical 8-metre long boats:

After a week at sea, the rowers met with bad conditions with a raging sea with hard winds. Many boats capsized as another video shows and some rowers retired, like Olivia La Hondé, the only woman in the race. She suffered a setback after her boat had a problem with the rudder.

Pascal Vaudé, a 42-year-old Guyanese (seen above) who owns a business, was the first one to cross the finish line on Tuesday. He actually set a new record at 37 days, 10 minutes and 26 seconds. In 2006, for the first row, Romain Vergé arrived after 40 days, 3 hours and 45 minutes. Today, 11 rowers are still competing in the race that has its British equivalent, The Woodvale Challenge.

Julien Besson, 35 year-old, and Henri-Georges Hidair, 48 year-old, arrived respectively second and third on Thursday. The funny thing is that the winner, Pascal Vaudé, is the grandson of a former convict, Raymond Vaudé, who retrieved his freedom from the Saint-Laurent-of-Maroni penal colony by escaping to sea in a rowing sailboat at the end of the 1930s, after being condemned for burglary. He was pardoned in 1945 by General Charles de Gaulle.

If you feel like taking part in the 2014 Bouvet-Guyane solo rowing race, you can contact Michel Horeau at or Jean-Pierre Habold at

For more information, see the Bouvet-Guyanne website in French or English.

Start saving some money, too. This year, each competitor paid €80,000 (£67,090 or $106,150) to compete...

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