Sébastien Josse

Edmond de Rothschild

Though the sea and sailing have had a special place in Sébastien Josse’s life since his innocent childhood days, competition came to him late in the day.

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40 years old - Lorient - FRANCE


Though the sea and sailing have had a special place in Sébastien Josse’s life since his innocent childhood days, competition came to him late in the day. However, in the space of around fifteen years, the sailor from nice has certainly made up for lost time. A young talent detected on the Figaro circuit, Sébastien Josse strung together a series of beneficial encounters and sizeable projects at an incredible rate. A man who likes a challenge and a hard worker, he never thinks twice about shaking up his habits and snapping up any opportunities that come his way. Preferring the richness of experiences to a set career path, today he is a sailor with an eclectic past and is one of the most talented sailors of his generation.

Sébastien grew up in Nice and the Mediterranean was his playground where he enjoyed family cruises.

In 1993, Sébastien completed his first Atlantic crossing at the age of 18 during the Transat des Alizés. This was a race for enthusiasts between France and the West Indies, which Sébastien was to share with his father aboard a Sun Race 34. Here the young man discovered not only offshore sailing but also, above all, the conviction that his future would be written at sea.

The Figaro as a starting point

Back in France, he decided to start competing for real. In 1997, he headed for Port-la-Forêt, South Brittany where he performed in the selection trials for the young talent Academy « Challenge Espoir Crédit Agricole ». That’s how Sébastien was able to compete in his first Solitaire du Figaro, where he finished 2nd rookie. In the highly selective Figaro Bénéteau class, the sailor from Nice made a successful debut. In 2001, less than four years after joining the professional sailing world, he ranked 2nd in the prestigious Solitaire du Figaro.
From then on his name was bandied about the upcoming generation of sailors. He didn’t elude Bruno Peyron, who gave him a ride on his maxi- catamaran Orange in a bid to secure the outright Round the world record under sail: the Jules Verne Trophy. The attempt proved successful and Sébastien became one of the co-holders of this incredible record sprint around the planet.

In the Vendee Globe adventure

This initial circumnavigation shaped his desire for offshore racing and convinced him that he was now ready for such an adventure. As such, when the Vendée-based company VMI offered him the helm of a 60’ monohull, with a participation in the Vendée Globe 2004 – 2005 as the grand finale, Sébastien didn’t think twice. His steed wasn’t from the latest generation but no matter, the sailor weighed up his chances and left les Sables d’Olonne with the desire to “do well”. At 29 years of age, the youngest sailor in the race, Sébastien certainly kept his promise by securing 5th place. During his ninety-three days at sea, he had to deal with a number of technical issues. However, his selflessness and his joie de vivre were to leave a strong impression on both those observing the race and his peers.

A change of dimension with the Volvo Ocean Race

Sébastien was the youngest skipper in the race’s history. In 2005 he lead a crew made up of amateur sailors under thirty years of age and of several nationalities. However, the “kids” as they were nicknamed, were to take everyone by surprise. Carrying off second place in three legs and securing records for the greatest distance covered in twenty- four hours and the highest speed reached by a monohull, Sébastien Josse and his men took fourth position in the ranking, despite a human drama in the penultimate leg.

This race proved to be the turning point in Sébastien Josse’s career. Not only did it open the way to the Anglo-Saxon world but it also shook up his philosophy as a sailor. The discipline and maturity he acquired here in terms of project management, became an integral part of his daily life.
Following on from this experience, he joined Offshore Challenges managed by Ellen MacArthur and Mark Turner. There, Sébastien Josse was entrusted with the helm of a latest generation monohull and thus made his great comeback as skipper on the IMOCA circuit. However, whilst everything seemed to be going his way, the skipper was confronted with repeated technical issues, which were to leave him with a sense of incompletion. In 2008, whilst leading the famous Ostar (The Transat), he was forced to retire after breaking the masthead on his monohull. A few months later, he was at the start of the Vendée Globe 2008 – 2009 and ranked among the favourites in this edition. Here again, the sailor from Nice was forced to throw in the towel after 48 days at sea whilst lying in 4th position, following serious damage to the boat.

He’s back in the Ocean Masters circuit, with a new boat, to compete in the forthcoming edition of the Vendée Globe in November 2016.

Lire la suite

In pictures

Gitana Team


  • Solitaire du Figaro – 2nd Rookie
  • Solitaire du Figaro – 14th
  • Solitaire du Figaro – 2nd
  • French Championship in solo – 2nd
  • Co-holder of the Jules Verne Trophy (Maxi)
  • Rolex Fastnet Race – Winner
  • Transat Jacques Vabre – 5th (I. Autissier)
  • Vendée Globe – 5th
  • The Transat – 8th
  • Route de l’Equateur – Winner (VOR70)
  • Volvo Ocean Race – 4th (VOR70)
  • Rolex Fastnet Race – Winner (V. Riou)
  • Calais Round Britain Race – Winner (V. Riou)
  • The Artemis Transat – Retired
  • Rolex Fastnet Race – Winner
  • Spi Ouest France – Winner (Open 7.5)
  • Vendée Globe – Retired
  • Rolex Fastnet Race – 2nd (MOD70)
  • Krys Ocean Race – 2nd (MOD70)
  • Transat Jacques Vabre – Winner with C. Caudrelier (MOD70)
  • Route des Princes – Winner (MOD70)
  • Route du Rhum – 3rd (MOD 70)
  • Défi Azimut – Winner
  • Transat Saint-Barth/ Port La Forêt – Winner
  • Transat Jacques Vabre – Retired (C. Caudrelier)
  • Tour de Belle-Ile – Winner (MOD70)
Sébastien Josse

Monocoque IMOCA

IMOCA60 Edmond De Rotschild

The third new generation IMOCA monohull to be revealed has a lot of points in common with her elder sisters – Safran and Banque Populaire –, in particular with the shape of her hull. Designed by the pairing of VPLP-Verdier, in close collaboration with the research team at Gitana Team, Sébastien Josse’s 60-foot IMOCA nevertheless has a few differences: the cockpit is very open and lower down, the foils have a different shape, the layout and the internal fittings. Very light, this new prototype is designed to perform well, but after his retirement in the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe, Sébastien Josse has made reliability a priority. During the training sessions, she was one of the two fastest foilers in the fleet, up there in terms of high performance with Armel Le Cléac’h’s Banque Populaire.

Technical Sheet


Technical Sheet

Designer : Verdier-VPLP
Boat Builder : Multiplast (Vannes)
Launch Date : 07 august 2015
Length : 18,28 m
Beam : 5,70 m
Draught : 4,50 m
Displacement (weight) : 7,6 tonnes
Mast heigh : 29 m
Upwind sail area : 290 m2
Downwind sail area : 490 m2



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