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L'Esprit d'Équipe (Esprit de Liberté)

Lionel Regnier

An adventure around the world. A historic competition. A legendary boat. Unwavering determination.

This is the team spirit of ‘L’Esprit d’Équipe’ for 2023. Our team, bringing together experienced skippers, seasoned sailors and young sailors, supported by a shore team, is committed to the Ocean Globe Race 2023, a crewed round-the-world race in 4 stages (Europe – South Africa – New Zealand – South America – Europe).

This reissue of the Whitbreads from the 1970s and 1980s intends to take sailing enthusiasts on a journey through time, for a formidable competition. It is therefore quite natural that we are taking part in the Ocean Globe Race 2023 with L’Esprit d’Équipe, the first French boat to win the Whitbread (1985 edition). If you are as determined as we are to live this adventure and you share our values, this is your chance to become a partner in our project and bring L’Esprit d’Équipe to the top.



A professional skipper and race boat builder, Lionel Regnier has been sailing all his life.

His career as a competitor is dense: winner of the OSTAR, 2 mini-transat in 6.50, 2 skipper from Iceland, 2 route du Rhum and 2 transat Jacques Vabre in Class 40, etc.

Our ‘leader’ is this time ready to play for the first place in a competition around the world on boats that made him dream when he was younger.

First Mate

SVT teacher in a high school, Pierre-Yves is also a seasoned sailor.

After a classic course in a dinghy, our ‘team manager’ moved on to competition in a habitable boat with, to his credit, a Transat Jacques Vabre in Class 40, 3 transatlantic races, and a tour of Iceland.

He has also been the project manager for most of Lionel’s races since 2003, and intends to return to the pontoons to pass the 3 capes.

No.Name, NationalitySex, AgeLeg 1Leg 2Leg 3Leg 4
1Lionel Regnier, FrenchMale, 62
2Pierre-Yves, FrenchMale, 55
3Maria van Lierde, BelgianFemale, 62
4Quentin Cavan, FrenchMale, 27
5Victor Regnier, FrenchMale, 19
6Blaise Chapat, FrenchMale, 45
7Titouan Cavan, FrenchMale, 24
8Léo Cavan, FrenchMale, 28
9Sandrine Andre, FrenchFemale, 46
10Ghislain Bee, FrenchMale, 36
11Philippe Derobert, FrenchMale, 64
12Guillaume Penot, FrenchMale, 58
13Pierre Saramea, FrenchMale, 67

Esprit d’Equipe

LOA57.61 ft / 17.56 m
LWL45.93 ft / 14.00 m
Beam15.75 ft / 4.80 m
Draft9.02 ft / 2.75 m
Displacement14.7 to
DesignerPhilippe Briand

The Esprit d’Equipe was built in 1981, designed by the architect Philippe Briand especially for the Whitbread Round the World of the same year. But this boat wasn’t always called that…

The 1981-1982 edition of the Whitbread Round the World

Philippe Schaff and Thomas Philippe (two experienced skippers already present on the Whitbread Round the World from 1977-1978) embarked on the 1981-1982 edition of the race around the world with a boat straight out of the yards baptized 33 Export ( from the name of the famous brand of beer, iconic sponsor on the Whitbread). Unfortunately, after a first leg finished in 12th place on corrected time, 33 Export was forced to retire after dismasting in the Indian Ocean.

The 1985-1986 edition of the Whitbread Round the World

The 33 Export designed by Philippe Briand was chosen in 1984 by Lionel Péan to compete in the Whitbread Round the World 1985-1986. With the aim of winning this edition, Philippe Briand comes to rework his boat to optimize it: the rear arch is shortened, the cap is removed to save weight, a new keel is installed to move back and lower the boat’s center of gravity. , and a 27-meter mast is installed. It becomes the only French boat and the smallest in the edition. Advertiser Patrick Dubourg (already at the heart of the 33 Export project in 1981) brings a new concept to Lionel Péan’s project: the idea is to propose a concept and not a brand. Thus, with Bull (computer manufacturer) as a partner, the boat was renamed L’Esprit d’Equipe. L’Esprit d’Equipe will be the leader from the first stage (between Portsmouth and Cape Town), won in 32 days and 7 hours (compensated time). During the second leg (Cape Town-Auckland), the boat continued to play the leading roles by finishing 2nd after 28 days and 17 hours of racing (compensated time). After a 3rd leg (Auckland-Punta del Este) again won by L’Esprit d’Equipe in 22 days and 7 hours (compensated time), Lionel Péan’s crew is 4 hours and 53 minutes ahead of its first suing, Philips Innovator. Finally, the 4th stage (Punta del Este-Portsmouth) was again won by L’Esprit d’Equipe in 28 days and 14 hours (compensated time). In 1986, the Esprit d’Equipe became the first French boat to win the Whitbread Round the World in 111 days and 3 hours in corrected time (132 days in real time).

The 1989-1990 edition of the Whitbread Round the World

The Team Spirit doesn’t stop there, and sets off again for a new race around the world with Patrick Tabarly as skipper. For the 1989-1990 edition, the boat was renamed Esprit de Liberté. This new edition of the Whitbread Round the World changes a lot from the previous ones: it now has 6 legs (more than 5000 miles more), and the boats are divided into 4 categories (Esprit de Liberté being part of division D). The boat is still as efficient as ever, winning the competition in its division in 164 days. Today, and after having put its career as a competitor on hold to cruise between Patagonia and Antarctica, L’Esprit d’Equipe is returning to offshore racing.