They have wintered on the polar pack ice, crossed the Northwest Passage, toured the Americas… They are Guirec and Monique, his red hen. Gone for five years on the seas of the world with his sailboat, the native of Plougrescant had set as horizon to fulfil a few dreams. Today, the 27-year-old has set his feet on dry land, enjoying a well-deserved rest with his loved one who has never had cold feet!
“School was not my strength. At 18, I decided to stop everything because I wanted to discover the world,” says the young man. Barely major, he went to Australia with 200€ in his pocket, with a goal in mind, to raise the money needed to buy a boat, with a deep desire to go sailing. Two years later and several odd jobs, he returned to France, and bought a ten-meter steel sailboat, which he called Yvinec, after the name of the little island where he lives. After a few months of repair, he leaves the moorings, a certain day in November 2013. He is 21 years old.
Spain, Portugal, Madeira, Canary Islands, West Indies …
The stops happen one after another: Spain, Portugal, Madeira, Canary Islands. This is where the adventurer crosses the road of the now famous red hen. “I fell in love with it when I was offered it! I wanted an animal before boarding, I thought a chicken was nice. But I was told that a stressed hen did not lay eggs, and she would not survive.” It was not to mention that Monique is anything but a “poule mouillée” (literally “wet chicken” in French, aka a “sissy”). “I took her fishing, surfing, paddling…”.
This is how the most adventurous hen embarks on the boat. Together, they cross the Atlantic alone, without means of communication, in total autonomy, towards the West Indies. “After almost 28 days of sea and 25 eggs, torn sails, several GPS breakdowns”, they landed in St. Barthelemy, in May 2014. Guirec multiplied the odd jobs in the West Indies, just to fix his boat .
140,000 fans on Facebook
Meanwhile, he tells his adventures on Facebook with Monique, which raises a clear sympathy from the videos, and that Guirec likes to “stage”. He quickly create the buzz, federating on their page 140 000 fans. In parallel, Guirec will keep his logbook up-to-date during the whole trip, with the possible prospect to publish his stories. A year later, they were heading to Greenland, passing through Bermuda, Canada, St. Pierre and Miquelon. With this project completely crazy to get caught up in the polar pack ice, and with only 36 kilos of rice, no means of communication and Monique’s eggs to survive.
“When we arrived, I scream my joy out loud, it was the best day of my life…” A happiness quickly tarnished by the announcement of the death of his father, told by an Inuit fisherman. “A nightmare. But I did not have the choice, I had to turn this deadly news into strength. My father was proud of me, he would have dreamed of being there with me.” In the ice, they will stay there for 130 days.
-60°, 106 eggs laid
Outside, it is always dark, the feel-like is regularly -60 degrees. We must also mention the various heating failures, which drop the thermometer to -4 ° in the passenger compartment. The boat finally holds the shock, resists the ice that shatter against the hull. “Many times, I thought I lost everything,” admits the sailor from Bretagne. But they made it. It must be said that the feathered girlfriend played her team role perfectly, from the top of her 106 eggs laid, willingly playing the role of confidante. In April 2016, the melting of the polar pack ice delivers them. “This experience was the hardest, but also the most magical. I have crossed animals that fascinate me, seals, reindeer, polar foxes, and admired some crazy northern”.
“When we have dreams, we can do everything”
The following summer, Guirec and Monique becomes the youngest sailor to cross the famous passage of the North West alone. 32 days later, it will be Alaska, Canada, California, then crossing the Pacific to Antarctica in 80 days of sea, through the legendary Cape Horn. On the checklist, storms, vertiginous waves… “But it is always such a magic moment when we see the coast … And then we were greeted by albatrosses and penguins dancing on icebergs,” recalls the adventurer. Next, it will be the ascent of the Atlantic to the Caribbean, in June 2018, before returning to Bretagne in December, where the crew received a welcome worthy of the greatest heroes at the port of Paimpol, welcomed by a crowd of admirers, most of whom had followed the adventures on social networks. For now, the sailor enjoys life on dry land, completes his book and film projects, plans “to offer Monique a few girlfriends hens”… and is already working on many new travel plans. “When we have dreams, we can do everything. We must never give up because there is always a solution. We have to go !”.
You can also visit Guirec and Monique website and get more information about their adventure! If you are into heaven destinations, have a look at our ranking of the 12 most beautiful islands in the world!